Solid day at the plate helps River Hill softball clinch 9-5 win over Reservoir
River Hill walked onto Reservoir's field Thursday with just nine players, including one JV call-up. That didn't derail the Hawks, however, as they put together a solid all-around game from everyone who suited up, both in the field and at the plate, to came away with a solid, 9-5, victory.
"It feels amazing because we're underestimated it seems sometimes," said River Hill sophomore Jenna Kenyon, who earned the win after pitching the final four innings, giving up just one run on four hits. "For us to come out, work as a team, hit well and make our amazing plays it shows teams that we shouldn't be underestimated."
The Hawks (3-4 county, 3-5 overall) were hot at the plate, totaling 17 hits and nearly matching a season-high in runs scored.
"You know, it's a gorgeous day to play softball and I just told them to go out and have fun," said River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum. "I said we've got nine people. We just have to have each other's backs. We've got to play smart in the field, smart at the plate and smart base running, and I think they did a decent job."
Reservoir (4-3, 5-3), coming in with just two losses on the season, took the early three run lead in the bottom of the second inning after Maddy Jones platted Emily Lloyd, Desi Hatzakos and Abby Wang with a two-out double.
River Hill responded at the top of the third, however, with Hannah Brown starting the rally with a lead off double.
Jenna Kenyon and Delanie Vintz hit back-to-back singles with Vintz driving in Brown with an RBI knock. Annabel McCullough plated Kenyon on an RBI single, and Crystal Lin officially gave the Hawks the lead with a 2 RBI single, bringing home Vintz and Sara Miller to push the score, 4-3.
"We crushed the ball today I felt like," Kenyon said. "We all did really well fielding and hitting and I think that is a really good thing."
The Gators tied the game at four in the bottom of the inning. Holly Daum was the catalyst, hitting a deep shot toward the left field fence to earn a triple on the play. Hunter Little stepped up to the plate and drove her in after a sacrifice ground out. Breann Smith (single) and Katy Wnuk-Fink (double) followed with back-to-back hits to get two runners on with one out, but Reservoir couldn't take advantage as Kindbom grounded out the following two batters to get out of the inning.
"We just need to show up and play with urgency from the first pitch to the last pitch, that's it. And also, we need to become smarter all around with situations I think," said Gators coach Julie Frisvold said. "We can expect the best softball game against anyone we play in this county. They always come out, they always show up and that's what we have to do and we need to figure out how to do it."
River Hill nearly added another score in the top of the fourth, but Abby Wang made an impressive grab in right field, scooping the ball before it hit the outfield grass, and robbing Kenyon of a possible RBI. Instead, Wang made the catch and doubled up Brown at second to get out of the inning with the score still tied at four.
Reservoir had an opportunity to take back the advantage in the bottom of the fourth, but again, poor base running squandered its chances.
Wang led off with a walk and was moved to third two batters later with Daum up at the plate. Daum hit a soft grounder toward third, which should have scored Wang with just one out, but Wang was caught in between third and home, and ultimately Vintz made the tag to get the second out.
"They need to know what they are doing on the bases as much as they do defensively," Frisvold said. "I mean River Hill showed up. They played a great game, and we just didn't do what we needed to to get it done today."
The Hawks countered at the plate in the top of the fifth and took the lead for good.
Miller got it started with a one-out walk, and McCullough followed with her second hit of the day. Lin loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch, and Chloe Lee knocked in Miller on the ensuing at-bat to give River Hill the one-run lead.
Liz Cohen, who was called up from JV for the game, stepped up and delivered a two-base knock scoring McCullough and Lin to provide some breathing room.
"Chloe, I think that was huge for her," Rosenbaum said. "I know she's been struggling at the plate a little bit and to get two hits, and then to have Liz to come up. That was a huge hit for us."
After a solid inning at the plate, River Hill continued getting it done in the field. Kenyon, who stepped in the circle in the bottom of the fourth for Kindbom, followed up with a 1-2-3 inning. After getting Smith on a ground out to lead off, she doubled up Wunk-Fink at second on a ball hit back to her.
"The field is as hard as a rock with the rain, so I told them to come up and play the ball and not let the ball play them, and we did a pretty decent job of getting that ball in," Rosenbaum said. "I told them it is going to be those little things. And to me, the biggest thing that hurt them was some base running. Having a runner at third and not having her score — then Delanie coming in and making the tag and getting her out, I think that was a huge play. Then a huge play from Jenna getting the double play."
Kenyon led off the sixth with a single and was later hit in by Lee to push the score to 8-4. The Hawks added one more in the top of the sixth with Vitnz platting Kindbom on an RBI double.
Little cut the deficit in the bottom of the sixth after scoring off a two-out RBI single by Hatzakos, but Kenyon limited the damage from there and got the final out on the following at-bat to clinch the win.
"I did feel confident coming back pitching in the fourth," said Kenyon. "Because my defense had my back and I knew that, so I didn't have as much pressure to be perfect because I knew they would make the outs."
Miller, McCullough and Lee all recorded two hits, while Kenyon and Vintz finished with three. Kenyon went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Vintz went 3-for-5 with a double, a run and an RBI.
Lloyd took the loss for the Gators, while Daum, Smith, Wnuk-Fink and Hatzakos led them at the plate, each recording two hits on the day.
With the victory Thursday, River Hill matched their win total from last season. The Hawks will look to surpass that total Saturday, as they face two tough teams in Broadneck and North County in a double-header at Broadneck High School.
Reservoir, meanwhile, is at Centennial High School on Saturday, and will try and stay perfect in out-of-league play in a double-header against Century and Patuxent.