By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (May 6, 2016) — A week of wash outs came to an end for the Riverside High School and John Champe High School softball teams on Cinco de Mayo in Leesburg, when the first-year Rams strung together 15 hits – including home runs from freshman Kerrigan Walsh and sophomore Jillian Donahue – to defeat the Knights, 11-4.
“A lot of it just comes down to it that it just feels good to win,” Riverside head coach Samantha Ingersoll said. “When these kids win – especially a big team win like that – that’s momentum in everything we do.”
Riverside freshman Kerrigan Walsh – who was hitting in the 7-hole for Riverside – added to an early lead in the second inning when she hit a two-run moon shot to left center field which found its way over the fence extending the Rams’ lead to 3-0.
“We don’t have a dead spot in the order. All of our kids can put the bat on the ball and make things happen,” Ingersoll said. “It’s really hard to defend a team where everyone can hit. We don’t have one kid who’s ever going to carry us. It’s a team effort. They play like a team. They win like a team.”
The Rams’ 3-0 lead didn’t last for long, however, as John Champe sophomore Rachel Stec started a third-inning rally which plated three runs for the Knights to even the score. The rally included hits from speedy freshman centerfielder Hannah Brown and power-hitting sophomore infielder Hannah Lee.
“Recently, they’ve been the ones to be able to make the adjustments which is awesome especially from two young players,” John Champe head coach Kaitlin Murray said. “The difference maker for them and the other young players is just being able to recognize what’s going on, make adjustments and be a leader.”
Brown’s third-inning single was her second on the evening as she went 3-for-4 – her sole out, the hardest hit ball of the game, a line drive off the foot of Riverside sophomore reliever Grace DeBergh.
DeBergh looked solid in relief allowing just one run over her four innings of work picking up the win in relief of freshman starter Shayna Lubitz.
Lubitz and DeBergh got the deciding run support they needed in the bottom half of the third inning when the Rams put four straight baserunners on to start the inning which led to four runs.
“We’ve got a lot of fire,” Riverside sophomore Jillian Donahue said. “We knew it was going to be a tough first year with a new program. But we have come out with a lot of intensity.”
The intensity was evident late into the game when Donahue said adios to a solo shot to right field increasing the Riverside lead to 8-4.
“I was just trying to sit back and wait on it, hoping I could get a hold of something,” Donahue said. “Obviously, it worked.”
Donahue and the Rams hope their approach at the plate continues to work as Riverside (8-8) is off to a tremendous first season with just four regular season games left in their inaugural campaign.
“We have to stay patient, make sure we prepare for what’s ahead of us and keep our heads in games,” Donahue said.
The Knights will also be tested over the next two weeks as John Champe (3-2, 9-6) hopes to hold on to the No. 2 seed in Conference 22.
“We’ve got four games next week and two of them are big conference games,” Murray said. “Our focus next week is to make sure we hit and keep our defense as hot as it has been.”
Monahan 3-5, 2B, R, RBI, SB
Lubitz 1-2, BB, R
DeBergh, G. 0-2
Donahue 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
DeBergh, A. 1-3, BB, ROE, 2 R
Benson 1-4, R, RBI
Foglesong 2-4, 2 R, 2 K
Walsh 2-3, HR, R, 4 RBI, K
Jones, H. R, SB
Jones, A. 1-4, 2 RBI, K
Kerr 1-2, 2 BB, RBI
Brown 3-4, 2 R, SB
Shamblin 1-4, RBI, R
Lawson 1-4, 2B, K
Lee 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Marck, M. 0-3, K
Lauffenberger 0-1, K
Stec 2-3, ROE, R
Marck, J. 0-2, sac bunt, K
Lubitz 3 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 1 K
DeBergh, G. W 4 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Farabaugh L 3 IP, 7 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 3 K
Lee 3 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K