Despite the eight-run total, Riverfield's bats weren't as thunderous Monday as they had been in the previous victories. Instead, a strong defense gave the hitters time to solve New Albany's hurler.
"Our pitching and defense were outstanding," Kelley said. "I've been telling them defense wins games, and it really came through for us."
Kelley was happy not to be forced into managing the scoreboard as much as the game. Before Riverfield's game began, the team found out it had a bigger lead in runs allowed than it expected.
Wright and the defense quickly made it a moot point anyway.
The team is ecstatic to be able to determine its fate on the field today. Kelley said losing a chance to repeat as state champs on a tiebreaker would have been "terribly disappointing."
Instead of going home empty-handed, the team finds itself just two wins away from another trip to the Central Regional in Indianapolis.
And Kelley likes his chances.
"Being as deep as we are in the pitching slot and having the defense we have," he said, "I think we have a good chance of winning this thing."