Facing elimination on its first day of the Class AAA softball tournament, Riverdale shut down Seymour behind the pitching of sophomore Caroline Faulkner and a defense that played error free.
Riverdale defeated Seymour 2-0 Wednesday afternoon at Starplex to advance in the losers bracket portion of the Class AAA state tournament. The Lady Warriors were sent there after falling 3-1 to Dickson County earlier in the day.
“They like the pressure, and know they have to perform,” Riverdale coach Christy Bingham said. “They usually then swing the bats and get the job done.”
Riverdale (32-12-1) plays Clarksville (36-10) at noon Thursday at Starplex in another elimination game. Smyrna defeated Clarksville 2-1 on Wednesday to send the Lady Wildcats to the losers bracket.
Riverdale is playing in its fourth state tournament in five years. Riverdale won the 2009 state title and placed third in 2010 and 2011.
Faulkner collected the win in her first state tournament start. She relieved Kristin Uselton in Riverdale’s first game. Faulkner gave up just four hits to Seymour, which didn’t score a run in two state tournament games on Wednesday.
Faulkner walked one, hit one and struck out one in the win.
“We all have the mentality that we are going to win state,” Faulkner said. “We’re just trying to do it.
“We had a talk at lunch. We knew we weren’t going to give up on anything.”
Riverdale jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the first inning when the Lady Warriors scored off Seymour starter Carly Lewis.
Brooklyn Pendergrast and Uselton hit back-to-back singles to set up the score with two outs when Madison Woodruff hit a bases loaded single to score Pendergrast.
Riverdale added another run in the bottom of the fifth. Uselton singled in Josie Mesick, who had walked.
Dickson Co. 3, Riverdale 1: Dickson County scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take control of the game after Riverdale led 1-0 after an inning. Riverdale managed just one run after loading the bases with no outs in the first inning.
Brenna Wolfram walked and Pendergrast and Uselton hit back-to-back singles to load the bases for Sarah Higgins, who hit a ground ball to second to score Wolfram. But that was all Riverdale could plate.