NEW PORT RICHEY — Last season, it was River Ridge enjoying the success of winning the 5A, District 7 on its homefield, stomping Land O'Lakes 11-1.
This time around, the Gators returned the favor, as they notched seven hits Thursday in a 6-2 victory over the Royal Knights.
In the bottom of the fourth, Land O'Lakes (18-4) broke open the game by scoring three runs off of Knights pitcher Lakyn Shull and taking 5-2 advantage. River Ridge went down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, with four of nine batters going down on strikes.
"The girls had some great, timely hitting and especially with two outs," Gators coach Jamie Martin said.
The Royal Knights (20-7), who have lost three of their past five games after starting the season 18-4, could not muster much offense, getting four hits off Michelle Bradley (eight strikeouts), who pitched a complete game on 105 pitches.
"You can't play good teams and score one or two runs and expect to win," River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said.
River Ridge got on the board first on a passed ball that scored Madison Morris from third base, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second Land O'Lakes scored two runs on a double by Meghan Sfraga (2-for-3, two RBIs) that brought in Jessica Austin and Bradley to give the Gators a one-run lead.
"It is always goose bumps throughout, you just don't know what to expect," Martin said about the Land O'Lakes-River Ridge rivalry.