NEW PORT RICHEY — Since 2000, River Ridge coach Ernie Beck has faced off annually against former Royal Knights assistant and current Mitchell coach Scott Bisbe.
Thursday night, Beck picked up win No. 395 and his team’s sixth consecutive victory against Mitchell, as River Ridge powered through to win 7-5 in a non-district matchup.
“It started off in the beginning of the game when (Bisbe) and his team gave me a card,” Beck said of the rivalry. “He’s such a class guy, and we just go way back.”
A couple of Beck’s players took Madison Staniloui’s offerings way back over the left-field fence, with second baseman Morgan Tolle blasting a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning. The next inning, junior Kenzie Maguire launched a 1-0 pitch over the fence to give River Ridge (22-3) a commanding 4-0 lead.
Mitchell (22-3) fell behind 6-0 heading into the top of the fifth inning, and that’s when the Mustangs would begin their comeback.
After a run scored on a walk with the bases loaded, sophomore Kelsea Vanderveer hit a grand slam off Makenzie Goluba (nine strikeouts) to left field, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
That’s as close as Mitchell got, as River Ridge tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth and Goluba closed the final two innings with six straight outs, four of them strikeouts.