Riverview softball team wants to continue playoff streak

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 2:41 PM

(Editor’s note: The PIAA has postponed the start of the spring sports season because of concerns over the covid-19 pandemic.)

Riverview has qualified for the WPIAL softball playoffs for five consecutive seasons and 11 times in the past 12 years.

The Raiders are looking to maintain that streak this spring.

“Our goal every year is to win the section, secondly to make the playoffs,” coach Jim Ashbaugh said. “If we work hard enough and play as a team, we can accomplish that.”

The Raiders and all other softball teams in Pennsylvania had their seasons put on hold by the PIAA, which postponed the start of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last season, Riverview won four of its final five regular-season games to finish fourth in Section 2-2A with a 7-5 record, trailing Vincentian Academy (12-0), Serra Catholic (9-3) and Apollo-Ridge (8-4).

The Raiders received the No. 14 seed for the playoffs and lost to third-seeded Laurel in the first round to end up 8-6 overall. Laurel repeated as WPIAL champion.

“Last year, we had some injuries early in the season to a couple of key players that put us in a tough spot,” Ashbaugh said, “by having to move players around to different positions and being careful how we used our only pitcher. But the girls worked hard and adjusted well.

“We might not have won as many games as the previous year, but the girls came together as a team and still made the playoffs.”

Riverview has six returning starters — all seniors — in Alyssa Cappa, Annie Betler, Molly Collins, Alivia Schultheis, Kelsey Phillips and Mikaela Collins.

Cappa, the Raiders’ primary catcher in 2018, took over at pitcher last season and tied the school record by registering 17 strikeouts in a win over Valley.

Cappa also racked up a team-high .500 batting average during the regular season.

Betler tied for the team lead in RBIs.

“My expectations are high for this team,” Betler said. “The other five seniors and I have all been playing softball and other various sports together for a very long time. We all know each other very well on and off the field, which definitely helps with our chemistry.

“I want to learn about our underclassmen’s strengths, then adapt to win games. We want to win and have fun this season because who doesn’t have fun when they win.”

Betler is a fourth-year varsity starter who has played various positions. She was a catcher as a freshman and played mainly shortstop in 2019.

“I play wherever I am needed,” said Betler who plans to attend West Virginia and major in engineering.

Riverview is a member of Section 2-2A with Apollo-Ridge, Northgate, Serra Catholic, Shady Side Academy, Sto-Rox and Vincentian Academy.

“Based on last year, I think Serra Catholic, Apollo-Ridge and Vincentian are the teams to beat,” Asbaugh said. “Shady Side Academy might be a sleeper. But it all depends on the health of players and the talent of additional players.”

Riverview clinched its playoff berth a year ago with a 9-8 victory against Apollo-Ridge late in the season. Collins scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Cappa had two hits and drew three walks. Phillips drove in two runs.


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