SULPHUR — This time, the rally fell short.
One day after a come-from behind victory in the quarterfinals, Riverside Academy was unable to do it again Saturday.
Riverside trailed by six runs in the fourth and rallied before falling 9-8 to Winnfield in the Class 2A state softball semifinals at Frasch Park.
Riverside, the No. 2 seed, finished the season 22-6 and lost in the semifinals for a second straight season.
The Rebels trailed 9-3 after four innings but scored five runs in the fifth to make it close.
Trailing 9-8, they had a chance to win it in the seventh after an infield single by Madison Watson and a single Erica Delaneuville.
But with two outs, Lindsey Oubre hit a drive to center that was tracked down by Winnfield’s Danzy Turner to end it.
“She is a sophomore and to get up there and get that last hit, we couldn’t ask for anything more,” first-year Riverside coach Tamra Regalo said of Oubre.
“I feel like we have a great future ahead of us.”
The Rebels lose just three seniors (Delaneuville, Caitlin Rousselm and Hailey Tassin) off a team that was looking to bring a state championship back to Reserve for the first time since 2002.
But the six-run deficit, aided mostly by Winnfield’s big third inning, was too big of a hole to climb out of.
Two of the runs came on a Riverside throwing error and two came on a pair of illegal pitches by Hailey Tassin.
Tassin had just entered the game, replacing starter Cheyenne Triche.
The Tigers tacked on four more runs in the fourth to build what looked like a comfortable 9-3 lead. Kara and Kassidy Grantadams had RBI singles and Anna Beth Johnson drove in two runs with a double to highlight the inning.
But the Rebels roared back in the fifth on three hits (Janie Milioto, Tassin, and Delaneuville) and a sacrifice fly by Oubre. Riverside also took advantage of two Winnfield errors in the inning.
“We knew we were going to hit,” Regalo said. “We can’t give up errors and make mental mistakes. I felt like we just gave it to them.”
Tassin allowed just one hit over the last three innings to shut Winnfield down and give Riverside a chance.
The Rebels liked their chances, especially after scoring two runs in the sixth on Friday to beat Many 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
“The momentum was in our favor, but in the end we didn’t get that extra push that we need,” Regalo said. “We played defense better after that one inning. We made pitching mistakes, we made mental mistakes and that’s what cost us.”
Delaneuville led Riverside with three hits, including a solo homer in the second inning. Milioto had two singles.
Riverside made it to Sulphur and earned the No. 2 seed after a slow start to the season when they won five of their first 10 games.
“We were still figuring everybody out,” Regalo said. “We were first-time coaches, wanting to see who could play where.
“As the season progressed and the more we practiced and saw them in a game situation, we figured out where to put everybody.”