GOBLES — River Valley struggled on defense and at the plate against Kalamazoo Christian in a Division 4 softball regional final Saturday at Gobles.
The No. 6 Mustangs committed four errors and couldn’t generate enough hits against ace pitcher Zoe Hazelhoff, leading to a 9-1 loss.
“They had some hits and we had some errors to give up free runs,” River Valley coach Dan Schaser said. “We didn’t play clean defense and that’s the outcome of the day.”
River Valley (31-10) trailed 2-0 early, allowing fourth-ranked Kalamazoo Christian (31-7) to score off a throwing error and later a wild pitch.
The Mustangs cut the deficit to 2-1 with an RBI double from Tiffany Hyatt. But the Comets bounced back, scoring three runs in the fourth.
Hazelhoff kept River Valley off balance. She struck out eight batters and walked none, giving up one run on four hits.
“It throws you off when you have a change in pitching speeds,” Schaser said. “Once we got adjusted we just weren’t hitting hard enough. Kalamazoo Christian is a heck of a team.”
Madison Vollman struck out four batters for the Mustangs.
The Comets sealed the game for good in the seventh. Sydney Duong hit a two-run single and Clare Dirksen belted a two-run double to make it 9-1.
River Valley advance to the regional finals with back-to-back shutouts over Bridgman and Colon.
The Mustangs defeated the Magi 6-0 in the semifinal game.
Hyatt and Vollman led with two RBIs each. Hyatt hit a single and a double, while Vollman had two long singles.
Kyleigh LePinske and Halie York also contributed several big hits.
Emma Springer had a big day in the circle, striking out 12 batters while walking only one.
“The girls have been grinding it out all year long,” Schaser said. “I don’t want to take away anything from today. No one gave us a chance and we made a run.
“It just wasn’t our day.”
Kalamazoo Christian 9, River Valley 1
Christian 200 300 4 — 9 8 0
River Valley 001 000 0 — 1 4 4
WP — Zoe Hazelhoff, LP — Madison Vollman
Top hitters — River Valley: Tiffany Hyatt 2b, RBI; Taylor Volstorf 1b; Halie York 1b; Emma Springer 1b. Kal. Christian: Sydney Duong 1b, RBI; Megan Snook 1b, RBI; Jayme Knoing 2b; Clare Dirksen 2 1b, 2b, 2 RBIs; Maegan Meldrum 2 1b, RBI.
Records — River Valley 31-10, Kalamazoo Christian 31-7.
River Valley 6, Colon 0
Colon 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
River Valley 130 002 x — 6 11 0
WP — Emma Springer, LP — Madelyn Fisher
Top hitters — River Valley: Tiffany Hyatt 1b, 2b, 2 RBIs; Springs 1b, RBI; Madison Vollman 2 1b, 2 RBIs; Kyleigh LePinske 1b, 2b; Halie York 2 1b.
Contact: acrider@TheHP.com, 932-0371, @HPAaronCrider