SULPHUR — For five innings, things looked bleak for the Riverside Academy Rebels.
However, in softball it takes only one inning and that’s all the Rebels needed.
The second-seeded Rebels scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning to defeat No. 10 Many 2-1 in the state softball quarterfinals Friday afternoon.
Riverside (22-5) advances to take on No. 11 Winnfield, which defeated No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas. The two teams will face off in the state semifinals 11 am. Saturday.
“That is why we play seven innings,” Rebels coach Tamra Regalo said. “We had the top of our lineup up in the bottom of the sixth inning and that is who we wanted up. We go with what the top of the order goes. We did what we needed to toward the end of the game.”
Trailing 1-0 after the first five innings, Caitlin Roussel led off the inning reaching on an error. After she was sacrificed to second base thanks to Janie Miloto’s bunt, Rousel scored on Hailey Tassin’s RBI single to tie the game.
Sophomore Taylor Aubert was inserted as the courtesy runner for Tassin.
While attempting to steal second base, the throw from the Many catcher was high and into the outfield allowing Aubert to advance to third. While trying to throw her out at third, a second throwing error allowed Aubert to score to give the Rebels the lead.
“Actually base running was something (Aubert) struggled with in the playoffs last year,” Regalo said. “For her to improve herself enough and be smart on the base paths like she was today was huge. She is now our go-to base runner. She did a phenomenal job.”
Happy to help her team advance, Aubert said she was just doing exactly what the coaching staff was telling her to do.
“Once I hear go, go, go from the coaching staff it is my job to get up and haul butt,” she said. “I’m progressing as a softball player and am learning each game I play. Last year I was nervous because I was a freshman. Now that I’m a year older I feel like I am continuing to improve.
“It is such an amazing feeling to be able to advance. We are after a ring and we want to continue this run.”
While the Rebels were able to take the lead in their final at-bat, Tassin was equally as impressive in the circle. Coming in relief of starter Cheyenne Triche, Tassin picked up the win in relief with four innings of no-it softball. She walked only one and struck out one.
“Hailey is one of those pitchers that does not blow the ball by you,” Regalo said.
“But she is very good at mixing it up. She can throw up, in and out. When she gets into the circle she is very calm, cool and collected. She doesn’t rush herself. She calms the defense down.”