Riverview softballers playing like good old postseason days

RIVERVIEW — There was a time not so long ago when Riverview sat atop the local softball scene. State championships in 2000 and 2002 — plus a finals appearance in 2003 — speak to the Sharks' dominance during that stretch.

"We had some really good softball players and some really good kids as well," Riverview coach Angela Slater said. "When they left, I think some of the players coming up after them that saw them play thought it would be as easy for them as it was for the teams that won state."

Turns out, it wasn't.

Not only have the Sharks failed to win a state championship since 2002, they have not even reached the postseason. But things are changing.

This spring, the Sharks reached the postseason for the first time in six years.

"The key to our success has been getting everyone, and I mean everyone, on the team to contribute," Slater said.

Riverview entered the district tournament as the No. 3 seed but defeated East Bay in the finals last week then beat Mitchell 5-3 Tuesday in 6A region quarterfinals. That win means Riverview will host Countryside today at 4 p.m. meeting in the region semifinals.

"We're very fortunate to still be playing right now, and the girls know that," Slater said. "I've asked them to enjoy this opportunity because it may never present itself again for them. You can never assume."

And that may mean showing up to Riverview's prom — also tonight — a little late. Believe it or not, Slater has had players during the state championship years leave the dugout when it conflicted with prom.

"I don't think that will happen this year," Slater joked.

The Sharks have several top-notch players in the lineup. Kayleen Boatwright and Briana Bell are both hitting near .500, and Boatwright has hammered six home runs. Taylor McCoy, the Sharks' ace, has a sub 1.50 ERA. Then there are players like Katie Gwynn, Riverview's No. 8 hitter in the order, who drove in a run against Mitchell on Tuesday.

"We've been able to get key contributions throughout the season from so many different people," Slater said. "It hasn't always been pretty, it hasn't always been perfect, but we've done just enough to keep playing."

if you go

Tonight's region semifinals

6A

Countryside (21-6) at Riverview (17-10)

The skinny: East Bay's Kayla Cox shut down Countryside in the region quarterfinals Tuesday but the Cougars squeaked out a 1-0 win. The Cougars feature Alyssa Bache, who committed to the University Florida. She tossed a three-hitter and struck out 10 against the Indians on Tuesday.

5A

Bloomingdale (21-8) at River Ridge (21-7)

The skinny: The Bulls slipped past district champions Land O'Lakes 1-0 in 12 innings Tuesday while the Royal Knights beat Newsome 2-1. Kaylyn Camacho, who struck out 20 Gators on Tuesday, is the Bulls' ace while Hannah Hensley leads all regulars with a .453 average.

1A

Seffner Christian (12-8) at Cambridge (17-7)

The skinny: The Crusaders hammered Bayshore Christian 18-4 Tuesday while Cambridge held off a late Sonrise Christian rally to win 5-4. Nicci Hopps is hitting a robust .647 with five homers and 55 RBIs for the Crusaders while teammate Jamie Cathcart (.508) went 4-for-4 Tuesday.

Riverview softballers playing like good old postseason days 04/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2009 4:31am]

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