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6A-8 softball: Boatwright's bat lifts Riverview over East Bay

PLANT CITY — Riverview softball coach Angela Slater was looking to punch up the top of her lineup, so she started by putting Kayleen Boatwright atop it.

Truthfully, she could have stopped right there.

Boatwright keyed a dominant effort from the Sharks offense with four hits, including two home runs, as Riverview took down top-seeded East Bay with ease in a 9-1 victory to capture the Class 6A, District 8 title.

It is the first district title and will be the first region playoff appearance since the team played for the 2003 state championship. Tuesday, the Sharks will host the loser of tonight's 6A-8 final between Countryside and Mitchell; East Bay travels to the winner.

"We prepared for this," said Boatwright, whose team knocked off No. 2 Plant City in the semifinals. "We were ready."

She led off the game with a single and scored. In the third inning, she lined one to right-center that looked like a gapper until it just cleared the fence for a 2-1 lead. In the fourth inning, she made it 3-1 with another homer, this time leaving no doubt with a soaring drive to left.

"I knew I hit the hit the second one more solidly," said Boatwright, who also hit two homers in a game April 3 at a tournament in Kissimmee and leads the Sharks with six on the year.

Riverview pitcher Taylor McCoy made sure East Bay didn't get back in the game. After allowing two hits and walking in a run in the first, she didn't let a runner reach third base and retired the last seven batters.

Second baseman Desiree Roberts made an over-the-shoulder catch and rightfielder Emily Holman a lunging catch in foul territory to keep the Indians at bay.

East Bay starter Kayla Cox, who came in with 246 strikeouts — 15 came against Riverview in her first meeting, but she has allowed 19 runs in the two meetings since — was hit hard the rest of the way.

Even when she got outs, they usually came after hard-fought battles with an aggressive Riverview lineup that added two runs in the sixth (on RBIs by Roberts and Holman) and four in the seventh, as Holman and Boatwright had run-scoring hits in an error-marred inning.

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6A-8 softball: Boatwright's bat lifts Riverview over East Bay 04/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:08am]
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