Marni Rosenbaum

River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum talks to her team in the dugout during their game against Centennial on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Paul Dirmeyer / March 27, 2014)

River Hill’s offense strung together 14 hits on its way to several big innings Thursday against Centennial and that proved to be more than enough support for junior pitcher Kristy Selby.

Selby struck out seven batters and allowed just three runs, balancing out an all-around effort that guided the visiting Hawks to a 13-3 victory over the Eagles in six innings.

On the day, eight of River Hill’s nine batters finished with at least one hit.

“I just told all of them to be patient and wait for their pitch … put the ball in play and you just never know what’s going to happen,” River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum said. “I wanted base runners, I didn’t really care how they got on, and I thought we hit the ball hard through some gaps and off some Centennial gloves.

“Really solid effort for everyone.”

Among the standouts on the day for River Hill (2-0) were Courtney Doyle (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) and Caroline Hickey (3-5, 2 RBI, 2 runs). Selby and Kallan Dirmeyer added two hits apiece.

The offense got going with three hits in the top of the first inning on the way to a quick 2-0 lead. For Selby, the early run support took some pressure off.

“It definitely helps having something behind you right away, knowing your teammates are going to be there hitting and providing support all game,” Selby said. “It’s definitely easier to pitch knowing you already have a little bit of a cushion.”

Centennial (0-2) cut into that cushion with a run of its own in the first on an RBI single from Emily Allen.

But Selby got out of the frame with a couple strikeouts to preserve the lead and that set the stage for the Hawks offense to extend things in the third inning.

In that third, Kinsey Johnson led off with a double and Dirmeyer and Doyle each delivered RBI hits.

But Centennial’s offense, which had been held scoreless in its season opener against Reservoir, kept battling. The Eagles had at least one hit in each of the first four innings.

“We put together a nice practice yesterday and really focused on making sure we were keeping our hands above the ball,” Centennial coach Kathryn Grimm said. “I think we did a much better job of hitting movement pitches and were able to really string some things together today at times.”

It was in the fourth inning that everything really came together, as four of the first five batters — Sammy Kastner, Josefine Jensen, Celina Jensen and Camryn Allen — produced hits. That string of base knocks plated two runs and put runners on second and third with just one out.

But as Jordan Burk came up and drilled a deep fly ball to center, River Hill’s Courtney Colosimo came up with the defensive play of the day. She retreated and caught the ball, fired to Dirmeyer, who then relayed the ball home to Sara Mascone to tag out Celina Jensen for a double play.

The inning was over and River Hill was still ahead, 5-3.

“When we came in after that, I think they definitely were able to take a deep breathe that we got out of that inning in a situation that could have easily turned for the worse,” Rosenbaum said. “That just kind of got them excited for the next inning coming up and we came back out and put some more runs on the board.”

River Hill put three more runs up in the top of the fifth inning and then blew things wide open with five more runs in the sixth. Timely hitting, aggressive base running and a few Centennial errors all worked in the Hawks’ favor.

Selby set the Eagles down 1-2-3 in each of the final two innings to secure the win.

“We just have to keep our heads in it a little bit more,” Grimm said. “I thought we had four really solid, impressive innings in terms of hitting and defense. We just have to make sure now that we are playing seven (innings) and not four.”