River Ridge found itself trailing 3-0 early in Game 1, but it rallied with 13 answered runs to end the game in five innings via the mercy rule.
The nightcap ended in similar fashion. Only this time, the outcome of the game was only briefly in doubt.
As the away team for the second game, the Knights scored once in the top of the first before adding five runs in both the second and third innings. River Ridge led 12-1 at the end of the fourth and upon completion of the fifth inning, the game ended once again by the mercy rule.
The Knights will now be the No. 3 seed out of Region 7AAAA and will travel to Columbus for their first-round playoff game beginning on May 2.
River Ridge coach Scott Bradley said his team is excited to be back in the state playoffs.
“We are excited to be going in as the No. 3 seed,” Bradley said. “Last year, we matched up with Marist, one of the best programs in the state. Now, we are going to be going to Columbus for another one of the best teams in the state. We are excited about that opportunity, no matter what happens. It’s a great learning opportunity to play those guys, with the success they have had, and us just being a fifth-year program.”
River Ridge hasn’t lost a three-game series at all this season, which could be favorable in the postseason. With a rotation of solid pitchers, and bats to back them up, the Knights haven’t lost more than one game to any single team.
Elijah Brague led the Knights with a 3-for-3 performance in Game 1. He doubled and drove in one run. Also key were Travis Hadaway and Noah Fitzgerald, who each went 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
Sloan Parker pitched five innings for River Ridge and allowed three earned runs. He improved to 5-0 against Region 7AAAA competition.
In Game 2, Fitzgerald completed his perfect day at the plate by going 2-for-2 once again. Taylor Connelly went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs and Dalton Martin was 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
Ryan Worley started Game 2 and lasted four innings. He gave up one earned run on three hits, while striking out eight. Codey Smith entered in relief and struck out one in an inning of work.
Bradley said the Game 1 victory certainly took away some of the pressure going into Game 2.
“When you get down early, you start pressing a little bit,” Bradley said. “When we scored four runs in the third inning (of Game 1), it settled us down and let us know we would be fine. We got two good wins (Wednesday).”