River Hill is officially no longer flying under the radar. Kristy Selby was masterful on the pitching rubber and the Hawks manufactured just enough offense to outlast Mt. Hebron, 2-0, on the road Monday In a matchup of undefeated teams.
For River Hill (3-0, 4-0), which finished under .500 last spring, it was a victory that solidifies the team as a true contender this season.
“This is huge for the confidence in the sense that it lets them know that we can compete with the top tier teams in the county,” River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum said. “To be honest, I thought that same thing before last season when we didn’t do as well as I thought. But this year, even as young as we still are, I knew we were capable of this.
“We just needed a game like this to prove it.”
Selby, making her second start of the season at pitcher, got going early and seemed to carry that momentum the rest of the way. The sophomore allowed just one hit through the first three innings and only five for the game.
She struck out eight batters, including the final out of the game with the tying run at the plate.
“I’ve faced a couple of them before, so I had something to go off of,” Selby said. “I tried to keep the ball low out of the zone to try and get them to swing at bad pitches.”
As good as Selby was, Mt. Hebron (2-1, 5-1) starter Evvie Buehlman was just as strong most of the afternoon. The Vikings’ freshman struck out 11 batters and allowed just five hits, matching Selby with scoreless frames through the first five innings.
In the sixth inning, though, River Hill finally broke through. Meg Sterling (2-3) started the inning with a bunt single and Kat Varga followed with a single to left. The two advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, but a fielder’s choice forced Sterling out at home.
After a strikeout created two outs, Varga decided to force the issue a little. On another ball that got past Mt. Hebron’s catcher Bridget Vogan, she sprinted home and slid just under the tag for the game’s first run.
“The way the game was going, we were thinking it was better to take a gamble than to be safe and not have a shot at that run we needed,” Varga said. “We were definitely a little more aggressive and (coach) was like if anything gets by the catcher, just go.”
A couple pitches later, River Hill’s Kinsey Johnson scored the team’s second run the exact same way by sliding home on another passed ball.
“Evvie pitched great. Unfortunately, though, those two wild pitches killed her,” Mt. Hebron coach Chuck Struhar said. “But that’s not what lost us the game. We just didn’t get those hits that we’ve been getting all season. We ran into a day where we couldn’t get those line drives.”
The Vikings did have their chances to get on the board in the latter innings. In the fifth, they got back-to-back singles from Sammi Cadigan and Aaliyah Mantague-Bass before an illegal substitution cost the team an out and Selby did the rest to escape without damage. Then in the sixth, River Hill managed to survive Mt Hebron putting runners on second and third with one out thanks to a couple groundouts.
“This was a big game because we kind of eased into our season having not played any of the top teams yet, so to beat Hebron — who is a really good team — is definitely huge,” Varga said.
River Hill 2, Mt. Hebron 0
123 456 7 R-H-E
RH 000 002 0 2-5-2
MH 000 000 0 0-5-0