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When the Riverside Christian softball team bursted out of the gate Monday with three hits and a pair of runs in the top of the first inning against Cedar Key, it appeared the Lady Wranglers just might have the Lady Sharks’ number.
After all, it was Riverside (Trenton) that handed CKS its only loss on the season.
But that early production turned out to be the lion’s share of what Bria Hinkle and her Sharks defense were going to surrender on the evening, as Cedar Key limited the RCS offense for the remainder while stringing together rallies in the fourth and fifth innings to issue a 6-3 win in Rosewood.
The win improved the Lady Sharks to 5-1 on the season, while Riverside fell to 11-4 overall.
CKS got runners to second base in the second and third frames to no avail before finally breaking through for four runs in the fourth.
Shortstop Ashlyn Allen, a St. Petersburg College commit, ignited the rally with a double to left, eventually cutting the lead in half as the senior standout scored on a wild pitch. Abby Osteen (walk), Natalie Stewart (walk) and Makalynn Bowling (hit by pitch) then loaded the bases for Cedar Key, setting the table for an RBI grounder by Cadence Girdler followed by a two-run single by senior lefty Savannah Howard to put the Sharks ahead 4-2.
The Lady Sharks tacked on two more runs in the fifth, spearheaded, again, by a double from Allen, who went on to – again – score on a wild pitch. Bowling, the Sharks’ seventh-grade catcher, reached on a walk and also scored on a wild pitch for her second run of the game.
“We did hit the ball well,” CKS assistant coach Richie Hanley said. “The seniors really came on strong I thought.”
Hinkle, a sixth-grader, helped her cause with a 2-for-4 night at the plate. In the circle, she fanned nine and walked two and allowed just two more hits after Riverside’s three-hit opening frame.At one point, Hinkle and the Shark defense retired 14 of 15 batters through a five-inning span.
“(Hinkle) did get stronger as the game went along,” CKS coach Lisa Smith said. “She’s usually strong the whole game.”
The Wranglers cut into their deficit in the sixth on a run by Ryleigh Weeks, who scored on a single by Savannah Todd. The rally was tempered by the glove of Allen, who recorded three assists at shortstop in the inning.
In the first, Tymber Anderson delivered an RBI single to score Faith Sebio (single), before Sebio, who was 2 for 4 with a double, crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Weeks started in the circle and went three innings, allowing one hit, three walks and a hit-batter against three strikeouts. Sebio tossed three innings in relief, surrendering four hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts.
The Cedar Key baseball and softball teams each celebrate senior night at home Thursday April 13 at 5 p.m. for their final home games.