SHADYSIDE - Timely hitting, solid pitching and a rock-solid defense lifted visiting River to a 4-1 triumph over homestanding Shadyside Monday afternoon in softball action at the Mead Township Complex.
The Pilots (9-4) received a 12-strikeout performance from junior Gabby Goudy, who hurled the first 6 innings. She gave way to Monica Curtis with the tying run at the plate, but Curtis retired the only two batters she faced to earn the save.
"Gabby had to come out because her glove hand was numb," River head coach Dave Wright explained. "We (the coaches) knew by the look on her face that something wasn't right."
RIVER THIRD baseman Rachel Hutchison, left, gloves a throw to force out Shadyside’s Sarah Dierkes in the seventh inning Monday
afternoon. The Pilots won, 4-1.
Goudy did her best Houdini acts in the first and third innings. She allowed a leadoff walk to Alicia Gulley to start the bottom of the first, but then retired the next three hitters on strikes.
In the third, she loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Sarah Dierkes. She hit Saminda Francis with a pitch before Gulley bunted for a single. However, she toughened up and got out of the jam with an infield popup and two Ks.
"There were two premier pitchers here tonight," Wright noted of Goudy and Shadyside's Megan Heagney. "Shadyside's got a really nice team and pitcher, but we needed this win in the worst of ways for the kids' morale."
Wright said not allowing a run in those two innings (first and third) was huge.
"Gabby really got tough when she had to," Wright added. "She did a real good job."
River had a scoring chance wiped out in the top of the third when Curtis singled with two outs, but was nailed on a fine relay through from Dierkes to Gulley to catcher Lindsey Dunn on Mackenzie Marshall's single to right-center.
The Pilots finally dented the scoreboard with two runs in the fourth. Rosie Romick reached on a 1-out error and, with two outs, Mikayla Cieszeski looped a seeing-eye double to down the rightfield line that sent Romick to third. Madi Taylor's infield single scored Romick and Cieszeski raced home on an error.
Shadyside got half of those runs back in the bottom of the inning when Hayley Holenka lifted a high fly ball down the left field line that curled around the foul pole for a 2-out, solo roundtripper.
Clinging to that precarious, 2-1, margin in the top of the seventh, River received some breathing room when Haylee Bowers slugged a 2-run, 2-out single to bump the count to 4-1.
"That hit was huge," Wright said. "She's been doing that for two years now."
The Tigers (5-3) didn't put their tails between their legs and skedaddle home as Dierkies, the No. 8 hitter, laced a 1-out single down the third base line. Francis followed with a single to right that ended Goudy's day inside the circle.
Curtis entered and recorded a force at third on a comebacker before ending the game with a popup to, ironically, Goudy.
Marshall ripped three singles while Cieszeski singled and doubled.
Heagney fanned 10 and walked two in taking the loss.
"Megan pitched well again tonight, but we just can't get that clutch hit," Shadyside head coach Jillian Ongley lamented after her team stranded seven runners on base, with four of them being in scoring position.
Shadyside hosts Bridgeport today while River travels to Magnolia.
River 000 200 2 - 4 9 0
Shadyside 000 100 0 - 1 5 2
Batteries: Goudy, Curtis (7) and Marshall. Heagney and Dunn
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org