Riverview edges Apollo-Ridge to clinch WPIAL playoff berth

Thursday, May 2, 2019 | 8:12 PM

Round one goes to the Raiders.

The Riverview and Apollo-Ridge softball teams met Thursday at Riverside Park in Oakmont for the first of two Section 2-2A matchups between the teams in the span of four days.

With the rematch looming Monday, the Raiders scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a tie and score a 9-8 victory over the Vikings.

“Both teams battled hard today, and I expect the same thing Monday,” Riverview coach Jim Ashbaugh said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Apollo-Ridge is a solid team, and they’re well-coached.”

Mikaela Collins reached on an error to lead off Riverview’s home half of the seventh and advance to second on a single from Alyssa Cappa.

Annie Betler then hit a shallow pop-up that was mishandled in the infield. A throwing error then allowed Collins to scored the walk-off run.

“The game was a little tighter than anyone would’ve liked, but it ended up being pretty evenly matched. Thankfully, we were able to come out on top,” said Annie Betler, who also singled home Riverview’s first run of the game in the bottom of the first.

The teams now are tied for third place in the section at 6-4. Both are 7-4 overall.

Apollo-Ridge, aided by Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over second-place Serra Catholic, came into Thursday’s contest already having clinched a WPIAL playoff spot.

“We played and won two big games this week, and sometimes it’s tough to keep up that momentum when you hit the peak,” said Apollo-Ridge coach John Kinnamon, who saw his team rally from deficits of 2-0, 4-2 and 8-6.

“What I admire most about these girls is that while they didn’t have 100 percent, they battled to the very last batter of the game. Riverview did what they needed to do to win the game. We’re looking forward to the game on Monday and getting right back into it.”

Riverview, now winners of three in a row, earned a WPIAL playoff berth with Thursday’s triumph. Had the Raiders lost, they also would’ve clinched by virtue of Shady Side Academy’s 12-2 defeat at the hands of section leader Vincentian Academy.

Riverview seniors Allie Jendrasik and Kate Davis both were honored during a senior day ceremony before the game.

The day was extra special for Jendrasik as she returned to the lineup after missing six games with an injury.

She helped the cause with a pair of runs batted in.

Davis collected a team-best three hits. She doubled and scored to lead off the third and then homered to lead off the fifth.

“I had been struggling at the plate a little bit, so to hit well, especially on senior night, it felt good,” Davis said.

Kelsey Phillips added RBIs with groundouts in both the first and third innings.

Cappa, in addition to two hits and three drawn walks at the plate, picked up the pitching win. While she walked seven and surrendered seven hits, she also struck out seven.

Riverview was able to overcome six defensive errors, and only two of Cappa’s eight runs were earned.

“We’ll get to practice (Friday) and try to clean up some of those things,” Ashbaugh said.

Mollie Charlton reached base four times in five plate appearances for Apollo-Ridge and collected a pair of RBIs. Morgan Shupe tripled home a run in the top of the fourth, and Sydney Sheaffer and Kylee Wynn also knocked in runs for the Vikings.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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