Caylee Porter watched it off the bat as it headed toward the left-center fence.
“Keep going. Keep going. Keep going,” Porter said to herself as she headed to first base.
The ball did.
Porter’s fourth home run — a two-run, walk-off shot off freshman Lacie Rinus — gave Riverdale a 3-1 win in eight innings over cross-town rival Oakland in the District 7-AAA tournament.
Riverdale (29-8-1) advanced to the winners bracket final and will play Smyrna at 7 p.m. today at Riverdale.
“It’s always much easier if you are in the winners bracket,” Riverdale coach Christy Bingham said.
Oakland (36-10) will play La Vergne (15-22) at 5 p.m. today in a district tournament elimination game. The two teams split in the regular season.
Siegel plays Blackman at 3 p.m. in the first game of the day.
Riverdale’s Brooklyn Pendergrast led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. Two outs later, Porter lifted a Rinus pitch just over the wall for the game winner.
The home run spoiled a strong performance from Rinus, who was making her first start since the Hendersonville Commando Classic. Rinus, a left-handed pitcher, struck out seven.
“She did an excellent job,” Oakland coach Janice Morey said. “I wasn’t going to count the strikeouts for jinx purposes. I think she had several. I think she kept them off balanced.”
Oakland scored a run in the third to take a 1-0 lead. Hannah McCravy scored from second base on teammate Chelsey Kirby’s single in the third inning for the Lady Patriots’ lone run.
But Riverdale loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, trailing by a run. Porter opened the inning with a single. Then Paige Byram reached base on a dropped fly ball by McCravy. Carissa Ott reached base on Kayli Brandstetter’s dropped fly ball.
“You can’t give outs,” Morey said. “And we did that. All good teams capitalize when you give them outs and Riverdale did that.”
Brenna Wolfram singled in Porter to tie the game, but McCravy threw out Byram at home to send the game to extra innings.
“We were kind of dead at the beginning of the game,” Porter said. “We got more energy and more confidence as the game went on.”
Smyrna 1, Siegel 0: Ray Allen singled and scored on Veronica Westfall’s single that was misplayed by Siegel right fielder Christian Curran for the game’s lone run.
Makenzie Prince held Siegel to just three hits in the game. She struck out eight.
“It’s awesome (to reach the winners final),” Prince said. “We made it to the championship game last year, if we can make it again this year we have a big shot at winning. This is huge for us.”
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.