KENNESAW — River Ridge banged out a total of 28 hits to complete a two-game sweep of Kennesaw Mountain in a first-round best-of-three series in the Class AAAAAA state softball tournament Monday.
The Lady Knights, the third seed from Region 7AAAAAA, got 15 hits to win the first game 10-2 and came back with 13 more hits to claim the nightcap 6-1 and advance to a second-round matchup at Buford. The first two games are scheduled for Thursday, with game three to be played Friday, if needed.
River Ridge (24-6-1) was also boosted by a strong pitching performance from Sydney Osada, who won both games.
“We have a lot of returners from last year, and they’ve been in this situation before,” River Ridge coach Andy Marinelli said. “Our senior pitcher, Sydney Osada, pitched lights out both games. Our hitters took what was given to them, and they stayed with a simple approach. They spread singles until they were able to create a big inning out of it.”
River Ridge scored two runs in the top of the first inning of Game 1, with Lily Bell hitting a single to score Grace Hamrick and Gracie Hughes’ single bringing in Bell.
The Lady Knights produced a run each in the second and third innings. Hamrick drove in Elyse Navarro on a single in the second and Brelyn O’Hearn scored on a sacrifice fly by Kaitlyn Stacey in the third.
River Ridge came up with two more runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by O’Hearn that scored Payton Halford and Hamrick and added another run in the fifth on Alexis Haehn’s single that scored Stacey.
The Lady Knights scored three runs in the seventh to give themselves their final margin of victory. Haehn singled to score Stacey, Navarro hit a single to bring in Haehn and Halford’s single scored Navarro.
Kennesaw Mountain managed to get a run each in the third and fourth innings. Makayla Stephens hit a double to score Hannah Glass in the third, and Dehlia Placie doubled to bring in Taylor Brown in the fourth.
The Lady Mustangs took the early lead in Game 2 when Ali McGinnis scored on Emma Ramos‘ bunt single to give for a 1-0 advantage.
River Ridge came back to tie the game at 1-all on Halford’s RBI double that scored Navarro in the bottom of the second.
The Lady Knights continued their surge with two runs each in the third and fourth innings. Hughes singled to score Hamrick and Stacey hit a single to bring in Lily Bell in the third, while O’Hearn’s two-run double scored Navarro and Hamrick in the fourth.
River Ridge put the finishing touches to is win with a run in the fifth as Cat McCulley tripled to score Stacey.
“(River Ridge) really hit the ball well,” Kennesaw Mountain Lisa Chapman said. “They outhit us in both games. We made some mistakes in the first game that hurt us and then had a couple of balls that dropped in the outfield that hurt us. So the difference was they didn’t make mistakes and they hit the ball well.”
Creekview 10-15, Allatoona 1-3: Anslie Pettit pitched both games for the Lady Grizzlies and kept the former region rival’s offense in check.
Creekview (21-5) will host either Winder-Barrow or Carrollton this weekend.