Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Softball: River Ridge gives Ernie Beck one last district title

Coach Ernie Beck of River Ridge will retire after this season.

Coach Ernie Beck of River Ridge will retire after this season.

NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge softball coach Ernie Beck is retiring after this season, so this week's district tournament was his last.

And the way the Royal Knights played, one of his best, too.

Despite entering as the No. 3 seed, River Ridge rolled over all three opponents, including Dunedin 8-0 in Friday's Class 5A-8 championship.

The Royal Knights (25-3) did it in their usual style, with a relentless, timely offense and the marksmanship of pitcher Makenzie Goluba, who allowed two hits and struck out 13.

They outscored Tarpon Springs, Sunlake and Dunedin by a combined 20-0 to give Beck his eighth district championship in 19 seasons.

"It's your last tournament, and from here on out every game could be your last game," Beck said. "You just wanna hope you win your last game, because that means you won the state."

Beck, one of the deans of high school softball in Tampa Bay, was hired in 1994 and has led the Knights more than 350 victories, 16 playoff appearances, three final fours and two state runner-up finishes (in 2002 and '03).

Beck's time, though, is up, another longtime Pasco County coach that enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, which let him delay retirement and continue teaching.

"It is what it is," Beck said. "Do I wanna give it up? No. But you go into the DROP and you gotta take care of the things you need to."

Beck said he hasn't made a big deal of his final season, and it hasn't been a point of discussion.

Friday morning, Beck's daughter (and former player of the year), Christine, and his wife, Karen, watched from the news box. Christine tried to get her brother, Michael, who is stationed in Qatar, on FaceTime so he could watch an inning of his dad's last district title.

"This is so much a part of your life," Beck said. "My wife calls herself the softball widow during the season. We pour our heart and soul into it. I mean, the girls do and we do. Everybody works hard. And I'm gonna miss that. There's no doubt I'm going to miss it."

Hopes are high the Royal Knights send Beck out a state champion. Against Dunedin (17-6), they pounded out 13 hits, with seven of nine starters getting at least one.

In the fourth inning, Morgan Tolle, Goluba and Melissa Moore hit consecutive run-scoring doubles. Tolle's was ripped down the line to the fence, and Goluba and Moore's shots just missed going over the fence, bouncing off it.

River Ridge's win gives Beck at least one more home game. The Knights host Nature Coast on Thursday in the region quarterfinals.

. Up next

Region quarterfinals

7 p.m. unless noted


6A: Chamberlain at Mitchell

2A: Lakeside Christian at Academy at the Lakes, 4


5A: Nature Coast at River Ridge

5A: Dunedin at Hernando

Softball: River Ridge gives Ernie Beck one last district title 04/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2014 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  2. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  3. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  4. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  5. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.