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."