BIDWELL, Ohio — Although they made it interesting, the Lady Raiders didn’t let this one slip away.
That’s because the River Valley High School softball squad, in completing its first full game on its new field on Wednesday, withstood an Athens rally —by breaking a 6-6 tie with four runs in its final at-bat.
As a result, the Lady Raiders recorded a 10-8 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division victory — and won their third game in as many days.
River Valley opened the week with wins at Nelsonville-York (6-1) and against non-league Federal Hocking (3-2 in rain-shortened five innings), but really needed Wednesday’s win as conference competition heats up.
The Lady Raiders registered two first-inning runs, before answering an Athens counter in the second with four more markers on four hits in the third for a 6-1 advantage.
But the Bulldogs battled back to forge five runs across in the fifth, tying the game at 6-6 — and forcing an RVHS pitching change from freshman Arika Barr to sophomore Baylee Hollanbaugh.
However, the Lady Raiders responded in the bottom of the sixth —pushing four more runs across for a 10-6 bulge.
Hollanbaugh, meanwhile, pitched her way out of a pair of predicaments —and induced three outs in the seventh despite giving up two more runs.
With the victory, River Valley raised its record to 3-5 — and to 2-1 in the TVC-Ohio.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to 1-8, and to 1-3 in the league.
Hollanbaugh gained the win in the circle, going the final three innings after Barr worked the opening four and into the fifth.
The Lady Bulldogs, with the tilt tied at 6-6, stranded runners at first and second when Hollanbaugh retired three consecutive batters —including back-to-back defensive assists by herself.
In the sixth, Athens advanced runners to second and third, sandwiched around a lineout to shortstop and two groundball outs in the infield.
In the seventh, the Green and Gold got to within 10-8, but three more consecutive outs in the infield ended the game.
The Lady Raiders, which cranked out a dozen hits off Athens pitcher Kat Kroutel, struck with two-out lightning in the sixth.
Destiny Williams entered and had a pinch-hit single, before Hollanbaugh hit into a fielder’s choice.
Cierra Roberts singled before Chloe Gee and Sydney Little lauded back-to-back doubles, as Hollanbaugh, Roberts, Gee and Little all scored.
Roberts and Gee had three hits apiece, as Gee tripled in the opening inning to plate Roberts —before she scored on a sacrifice bunt by Little.
Little laced a pair of doubles, as Hollanbaugh, Williams, Barr and Kaylee Tucker tallied singles.
Gee scored three runs, with Hollanbaugh, Little and Roberts racking up two apiece.
Kroutel pitched a complete game for Athens, allowing only a second-inning walk to Barr.
She struck out five, including two in the second stanza.
The Raiders returned to TVC-Ohio action on Thursday, when they traveled to Wellston for a makeup matchup.
River Valley returns home, and steps out of league play today (Friday, April 14), for a makeup bout against Gallia Academy.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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