CLEARWATER — Kenzi Maguire was some table setter.
Hitting leadoff for the first time this season, Maguire raked a trio of Countryside pitchers for a solo homer, a two-run triple, a pair of singles and four runs scored as River Ridge strolled to a six-inning, 12-1 victory in the final of the Lady ’Canes Invitational softball tournament.
“Yeah, it was pretty cool, I liked it,” Maguire said of coach Ernie Bell’s lineup shuffle. “But it’s the same mentality for me. Hit the ball.”
That attitude was pervasive throughout the Royal Knights’ lineup throughout the weekend, beating up on enemy pitching to the tune of a 44-1 run-scoring advantage.
“I like playing three or four games in a row,” said Bell, whose team climbed to 13-1 on the year. “We get a little tired, but we get a lot of at-bats in. There’s no slack in the pitching we face and we’re playing some good teams. You get 20 at-bats versus live stuff in a weekend, you can’t practice that.”
Joining Maguire in the River Ridge hit parade was Madisyn Palmer (four singles, two RBIs, three runs scored), cleanup hitter Morgan Tolle (two runs, three RBIs), Anessa Holes (double and single, two runs scored) and No. 9 hitter Madi Bell (two singles, RBI).
Benefitting from the 18-hit explosion was pitcher Mackenzie Goluba, who threw every inning of the tournament and yielded a lone fifth-inning run on Sommer Pollard’s sacrifice bunt.
“It happened last year so I was ready for it,” Goluba said. “I’m mostly a ground ball pitcher, and we have a good defense, so I’m not afraid to put the ball in play. It’s quite a relief having them there. I don’t hesitate with any of my pitches.”
Third baseman Melissa Moore was especially strong on defensie for the Royal Knights with several sparkling putouts.