RUSSIA — Jalynn Stanley didn’t hide her anger when she was intentionally walked to start the eighth inning of a nonconference game at Russia on Tuesday — and didn’t hide her jubilation after finishing off the Raiders.
Stanley scored the go-ahead run and finished off the Russia in the bottom half of the inning in the circle to secure the 14-10 victory. She struck out two batters in the inning, which was her only in the circle in the game.
“I can’t stand getting intentionally walked at all,” Stanley said. “I knew I was going to score when they did that.”
The game was a matchup between two of the area’s better teams. Riverside improved to 13-5 overall with the win while Russia dropped to 9-5.
The showdown didn’t lack hitting — including in late innings.
Russia scored four runs on three hits in the seventh to tie it 10-10. After Courtnie Smith grounded out to start the eighth inning, Russia elected to intentionally walk Stanley, who had hit home runs in her previous two at-bats.
Kalin Kreglow reached first base after a hard grounder skidded by Russia shortstop Jenna Cordonnier’s glove, between her legs and into left field. Stanley booked it from first to third base on the play, then scored when Leah Kelsey beat out a grounder to first base for an RBI single.
“She was motivated there,” Riverside coach Andy Phelps said of Stanley. “I do think that’s the fastest she’s run (all season).”
Sierra Snow hit an RBI double to center field to score another run and boost the lead to 12-10, then Jenna Woods hit a grounder that resulted in another run on a fielder’s choice. The Raiders threw to home plate for what was initially ruled a force out, but the umpires reversed the decision and said catcher Riley Hammonds illegally blocked the plate.
The Pirates added another run on an RBI single by Malaina Jenkins before the end of the inning.
Stanley then took care of things in the circle in the bottom half of the eighth. Kendall Monnin hit into a groundout and Ashley Scott struck out. Russia pitcher Sophie Francis hit a single to center field to keep the inning alive but Stanley then struck out Russia leadoff hitter Olivia Moorman to end it.
Stanley is normally the team’s pitcher, but the Pirates started Jenna Woods on Monday and used Shelby Giles in relief. For the first seven innings, Stanley played at catcher, a position she said she’s playing this season for the first time since she was about five years old.
“It’s been an adjustment, but it’s been calming, because I can see the whole field and help my team out in any way I can,” Stanley said.
She was part of a big play at the plate in seventh to help the Pirates have a chance to win it.
Scott and Ava Daniel each hit singles to lead off the seventh for Russia, but the next two batters hit into routine outs. Hammonds then drew a walk, and Shea Borchers hit a single on a hard grounder to center field that scored two runs and tied it.
Francis then drew a walk, and Kennedie Goubeaux hit a slow roller toward third base that Kelsey ran up to, scoped up and threw to Stanley for the force out at home plate.
“That was a huge play,” Stanley said. “Leah got there really fast and she got that play. It was more her than me.”
Stanley is one of the area’s top softball prospects. She was a first team all-NWCC selection as a freshman and is putting up stellar numbers this season. Entering Tuesday’s game, she had a .596 batting average with 36 RBIs and has a 1.44 ERA in 73 innings with 62 strikeouts.
“I’ve just worked on softball my whole life,” Stanley said. “It’s the only thing I do.”
Stanley was 4 for 4 with two home runs and one double. She scored a team-high four runs. Snow was 4 for 5 with 2 RBIs and Giles was 3 for 6. Kelsey and Jenkins each finished with two hits.
Phelps said it was a good bounce-back win for Riverside, which lost 4-2 to Marion Elgin in a key conference game on Monday. It was the first conference loss for the Pirates; Elgin is undefeated in conference play.
“Elgin has a very good pitcher, and we struggled a little bit with her,” Phelps said. “It was good to see the girls bounce back, not only bouncing back from last night but bouncing back tonight after (Russia) got the early lead.”
Cordonnier and Borchers each had three hits for Russia while Scott and Daniel each had two.
Both teams scored one run on one hit in the first inning, then Russia took a 4-1 lead in the second after scoring three runs on one hit.
Riverside battled back in the third with four runs on four hits, including a two-run home run by Kalin Kreglow to right field and a solo home run by Giles to center field.
Russia took a 7-5 lead after Scott hit a three-run home to right field that landed several yards behind the fence.
Stanley led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to right field that landed about 10 yards behind the fence. Riverside added three more runs in the inning on five hits and took a 9-7 lead into the sixth. Stanley led off the inning with a home run to nearly the same spot as her previous one to increase the lead to three runs.
Cordonnier hit a solo home run to center field in the sixth to cut the deficit to 10-8, then the Raiders tied it to force extra innings.
Riverside will travel to Urbana on Thursday and Fairlawn on Friday in nonconference play. They’ll then wrap up NWCC play next Monday against Upper Scioto Valley and have several more nonconference games next week before tournament play starts.
“I love my team,” Stanley said. “We mesh really well together. We’re a small town and know each other perfectly. We’re always hanging out. It’s more like being sisters than a team.”
Phelps is optimistic about the team’s tournament prospects after the development he’s seen this season. The Pirates have four freshmen and two sophomores among 11 varsity players.
“We’re developing very well and at the right time, with the draw coming soon and tournament coming within a couple of weeks,” Phelps said.
Russia coach Michelle Muhlenkamp had to leave immediately following the game for an appointment and was unable to be interviewed.
The Raiders will look to stay atop the SCAL standings when they travel to Anna (7-7, 6-2 SCAL) on Thursday for a key league game. Russia is 7-1 in league play while Houston is 6-1.