DECATUR — River Valley’s softball team came up just shy of pulling off a comeback win in Saturday’s Division 4 softball regional semifinal at Decatur.
The Mustangs fell 7-5 to Centreville in eight innings after a River Valley four-run comeback in the sixth forced the game into extra innings.
Centreville scored two in the top of the eighth and held the Mustangs scoreless in the bottom half of the frame to advance to the championship.
Kalamazoo Christian (27-9) won the second semifinal, 11-1, over Marcellus (18-15) before the championship game was called off due to weather. It will be played Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Decatur.
In the first semifinal, River Valley (25-10-1) trailed the Bulldogs (32-7) by a 5-1 margin entering the bottom of the sixth before an hour-long rain delay took effect.
River Valley coach Dan Schaser said the rain delay proved useful to the Mustangs, who came out of the break swinging.
“I think the weather delay was helpful for us,” he said. “It was beneficial. It was able to help us get our jell back and have some fun.”
Before the break, back-to-back singles by Emma Whitlow and Madison Vollman and a Centreville error loaded the bases.
After Centreville pitcher Hannah Duchene struck out a Mustang for the second out off the rain delay, Emma Springer and Hannah Korbel hit back-to-back two-RBI singles to tie the score at 5-5.
“They’re ready to fight with anybody on any day,” said Schaser on his team’s effort. “There’s a massive amount of fight in them. They never give up. That’s one thing that they’ve earned.”
River Valley held Centreville scoreless in the top of the seventh despite a two out double by MaKenzi Troyer, and would have a chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to bring a run across.
Centreville’s Kaylee Trattles knocked in the decisive sixth and seventh runs in the top of the eighth with a no-out double that plated Olivia Deeds and Kenleigh West-Wing.
River Valley opened the game with three singles to load the bases with no outs, and looked as though it would be able to open up with a strong lead early on.
Centreville brought in Duchene, who retired three straight batters and ended the Mustangs’ scoring threat after letting just one run cross on a fielder’s choice. Duchene also homered in the second.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs would bring in three big runs on a single from Joanna Larsen and a River Valley error. The Mustangs finished with five errors in the field, three of which resulted in Centreville runs.
For the Mustangs, the loss puts a disappointing end to what was a strong season.
Schaser noted the play of his seniors, who have helped lead the team to district titles in all four seasons they’ve played.
“It just feels unfinished,” said Schaser. “The seniors are the most successful class to go through River Valley. It was another phenomenal year for them. They’ve just done nothing but what we’ve asked.”
Centreville 7, River Valley 5 (8 inn.)
C 010 301 02 — 2 7 3
RV 100 004 00 — 5 16 5
WP — Hannah Duchene. LP — Emma Whitlow.
Top hitters — River Valley: Emma Springer 1b, 2b, 2 RBI; Hannah Korbel 3 1b, 2 RBI; Tiffany Hyatt 1b, 2b; Nicole Gibson 3 1b, RBI; Emma Whitlow 2 1b; Madison Vollman 1b, 2b. Centreville: Mckenzie Sheteron 2b; Hannah Duchene HR, RBI; Kaylee Trattles 2b, 2 RBI; Makenzi Troyer 2b.
Records — River Valley 26-10, Centreville 32-6.
Contact: bspencer@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSpencer