BIDWELL, Ohio — The River Valley High School softball squad appeared eager to get another opportunity at archrival Gallia Academy.
That was evident on Tuesday, when the host Raiders rolled past Nelsonville-York in the Division III sectional semifinal.
The Raiders rolled up at least three runs apiece in each inning, including three innings of at least five runs, en route to routing the visiting Buckeyes by a count of 21-4.
River Valley, despite only six of its 21 runs being earned, scored six times in the opening at-bat —before frames of three, five and finally seven to enforce the mercy rule.
The Raiders racked up 16 hits and took advantage of a massive 14 Nelsonville-York errors —tallying three hits apiece in each of the first two innings and five hits apiece in both of the last two.
As for the Buckeyes’ miscues, they made an ugly five in the first — followed by three errors apiece in each of the final three.
The contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule, as the seventh-seeded Raiders raised their record to 7-13.
They also turned aside Nelsonville-York, a fellow member of the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division, for the third and final time.
“We played well. We’re on the right path and getting better and hanging in every game,” said RVHS coach Nick Roberts. “We’re young, but in the future, we’re going to be a pretty good ballteam.”
As for the immediate future, the Raiders get Gallia Academy — the second-seeded squad in the sectional which shut out River Valley 13-0 on April 14.
The Blue Angels will host the Lady Raiders for the Division III sectional championship on Friday at 5 p.m.
The loss ended Nelsonville-York’s season, as the Buckeyes were the 10th seed in the sectional, at 4-20.
River Valley freshman Arika Barr pitched a complete-game two-hit gem in the win — overcoming four walks and a hit batter by striking out eight.
Barr faced five Buckeyes apiece in the first, third and fourth frames —and only four batters each in the second and fifth.
She allowed a pair of runs apiece in the third and fourth, but only one of those was earned.
“Arika Barr pitched a good game. She’s a freshman pitcher, but a hard-working kid who we expect to do well in the years to come,” said Roberts.
Nelsonville-York’s only basehits came courtesy of pitching counterpart Kimberly Jones in the second and Emma Frazier in the third.
Jones doubled to right in the inning, as Frazier singled to center before scoring on a wild pitch for the only earned N-Y run.
But the Buckeyes never got closer than 9-2, thanks to the Raiders’ response of hitting the ball, putting it in play, and forcing fielders into poor throws or unable to make the out.
Jones also went the distance for Nelsonville-York, walking Cierra Roberts for her only bases on balls.
For the Raiders, they amassed 21 runs on 16 hits with 19 runs batted in.
Barr helped her cause with a single, two doubles and three RBI, while Baylee Hollanbaugh went 3-for-4 as well.
In fact, as it turned out, Barr’s two-run two-bagger in the opening inning gave River Valley its sixth run —which proved to be all it would need for the win.
Sydney Little, Kasey Birchfield, Chloe Gee and Tyler George garnered a single and a double apiece, as Isabella Mershon and Alex Wood both singled.
Little, Roberts, Mershon, Hollanbaugh and George scored three runs apiece, while Gee and Birchfield crossed twice and Barr and Wood made it once.
George actually amounted six runs batted in, followed by four from Gee, three by Barr, two apiece by Hollanbaugh and Mershon and one apiece from Roberts and Birchfield.
Now, the Blue Angels await the Raiders — as a “ready” River Valley club aims to avenge Gallia Academy for the sectional championship.
“Let’s hope we don’t have the same outcome as last time,” said Coach Roberts, with a laugh. “Let’s hope we change the result of that game. The girls are ready this time. I didn’t think we were ready last time, but they are this time. They are excited and that’s a good thing.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106