CLEARWATER — There was a lot going through the head of each River Ridge player going into Friday night's matchup with Bloomingdale.
The Knights, who own the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A, were upset Tuesday night by Sunlake in a 2-0 loss. River Ridge bounced back behind an all-around solid performance from pitcher Lakyn Shull and defeated the Bulls 4-1 in the annual Palm Harbor University Lady 'Canes Spring Tournament.
"We hit the ball much better tonight than last Tuesday," River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said. "You do the things you need to do to score runs, which we didn't do Tuesday night vs. Sunlake."
The Royal Knights (12-2) took the early lead off an error by Bulls shortstop McKenzie Carter that scored Nicole Bylski and Amber Jones. River Ridge added runs in the second and third innings to push the lead to four. The Knights didn't have to score too many more for Shull (three strikeouts), who held the Bulls to five hits.
Bloomingdale (8-8) scored its lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Kaelyn Castellanos singled home Darby Bernaldo from third.
In the earlier game, Countryside routed Gulf 13-3 behind 13 hits and a solid pitching effort from freshman Eryn Rowe, who held the Buccaneers to six hits.
"Because of an injury I had to make changes," Gulf coach Rick Hohenthaner said. "I had to shuffle some players around after the injury to Chelsea Gorr. Before the fourth inning it was a good, tight defensive battle."
Countryside (13-4) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. The Buccaneers (8-7) battled back to tie the game at 3, but an injury to Gorr's knee hurt Gulf and opened the floodgates. In the top of the fifth the Cougars scored five runs, all earned, and cruised from that point.