By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — The Riverfield All-Stars bounced back in a big way with an 8-0, six inning drubbing of Missouri (Webb City) to even its pool A record at 1-1.
Riverfield hopes to follow the same script that led to the Little League state championship a week ago when they reeled off five straight wins after an opening round loss.
“Unfortunatly losing the first game of this tournament is not what we had planned,” Riverfield coach Seth Kelley said. “We have been down this road before. I told them last night after the game, if this is what we have to do to win this tournament then that is what we are going to do.”
Kelley said that his team will hit the ball, but the team must play better on defense to continue and chase a repeat of last season's run to the Little League World Series.
Riverfield improved on defense as they committed just one error after committing three in game one.
After posting five runs in Saturday’s opening game, Indiana’s bats came to life in a big way by pounding out 10 hits. But, what may have been more important on Sunday than the bats, was the right arm of starting pitcher Rachel Duncan.
The 12 year old tossed five innings of two-hit, shutout softball with six strikeouts and did not allow a walk. Of the 14 balls put in play by Missouri, just two found their way to the outfield — the two singles she allowed early in the contest.
“We don’t worry to much when we walk somebody or give up a single,” Kelley said. “That is going to happen in softball."
That is what happened in the second inning for Duncan as she allowed the first two Missouri batters to reach, one on an error followed by their second single of the game. She bounced back to strike out the next three to quell the threat.
“I think here, it takes a little while to get warmed up and in a rhythm,” Kelley said. “If we would have let them score a couple runs without getting any outs then we may have went out and said, ‘Hey Rachel settle down a little bit.’”
That would be the last inning a Missouri batter would reach base.
Duncan also found success at the plate going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
“I struggled a little bit (pitching early), but kept my head up,” Duncan said. “(Offensively) I started pulling the ball better, I had been popping it up lately.”
Runs came early for Riverfield as it put up three in the first inning on three hits, two walks and an error. The big hit came on a Katlin Hubble one-out RBI triple scoring Myracle Settles who reached on a five-pitch walk.
“If you can get up on a team two or three to nothing in the first inning or two, you can kind of change the way you coach,” Kelley said. “You don’t have to be as aggressive on the bases. It is always a momentum builder when you can get up early.”
Two more runs came in the second after Duncan scored following her lead off double. Hubble drove her in with a single to center. She finished going 3-for-4 with three RBI’s. Indiana added one in each of the next three innings.
“This is a tough pool, but I think 3-1 can defenatly get you in (to the semifinals),” Kelley said. “If people start beating each other you can get in at 2-2 with the tie breaker.”
Riverfield (1-1) continues pool play on Tuesday against North Ottawa Youth Softball Association (Michigan) at Stokley Field at 1:30 p.m. Riverfield is in a first place tie, with the top two teams from each pool advance to the semifinals on Thursday at 11 a.m. The championship game is Thursday at 3 p.m.