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Knights still perfect after 8-4 win

Land O'Lakes rallied from a six-run deficit Thursday to pull within 6-4 after six innings, but couldn't hand River Ridge its first loss as the Knights pulled away for an 8-4 victory.

Many of River Ridge's wins this season have come thanks to an avalanche of runs or overpowering pitching. But the reason the Knights have yet to lose is because they take advantage of any opportunity.

On Thursday, feeling pressure from a Gators rally, River Ridge got its first two baserunners aboard in the top of the seventh. Stefanie Simon lifted a popup foul behind the plate, but Land O'Lakes catcher Gina Schiffer couldn't make the play against the fence. Simon then hit the next pitch for a two-run double and some breathing room.

River Ridge starter Christine Beck (8-0) sealed the win and a season sweep of Land O'Lakes by shutting down the Gators in the bottom of the seventh.

River Ridge (16-0, 9-0 in Class 4A, District 8) got on the scoreboard with two outs in the first inning. The Knights scored three runs on two errors, two stolen bases and a walk.

The Knights added three more in the fourth with another two-out burst. Beck feasted on a bases-loaded situation with a hard single to left, scoring Kim Deeb and Mandi Petrella. Kelly Evers scored when Land O'Lakes leftfielder Michelle Hausman let the ball get past her.

Land O'Lakes (9-6, 5-4) finally broke through with a run in the fifth on April Slate's RBI single.

The Gators scored three more in the sixth on an Erica Skillman grounder and a two-run single by Samantha Harvey.

Land O'Lakes coach Jerry English said his young team might find a way to beat the Knights if there's a third meeting.

"This is the best team I've seen (River Ridge coach) Ernie (Beck) have in a long time," English said. "I told him that I hope to see him in the district finals."

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