(Griswold) -- Riverside's three-year rebuilding project looks to be paying off.
Confident pitching from their three-year starter, nifty and airtight glove-work from their defense and patient, intelligent at bats up and down the lineup.
All were on full display Wednesday in their 10-0 win over former Western Iowa Conference rival Griswold.
“I thought we were a little slow starting off,” Coach Chris Conover told KMA Sports. “We made some adjustments, changed our swings a little bit and put some pressure on them defensively.”
Kenna Ford struck out five and allowed just two hits in a five-inning complete game shutout in the circle. She also registered nine groundball outs, relying on her impressive infield (from left to right) of Meghan Reed, Ari McGlade, Gracie Bluml and Jadyn Achenbach.
“That’s our kind of game,” Conover said. “We like to have the ball in play and let the defense do the work. When the defense is involved, that’s when we’re playing our strongest.”
Ford faced very little trouble with 1-2-3 innings in the first, second and fifth frames and shaking off lone singles in the third and fourth.
“It felt really good,” Ford said. “I got out and went at it. My inside and outside, everything was working tonight.”
Meanwhile, Riverside slowly added runs with two in the first, one in the second and third and six in the fifth.
Gracie Bluml started the damage with a bunt single, two stolen bases and scored on a wild pitch. Ford walked and was replaced by courtesy runner Chiara Rains, who pulled the exact same trick as Bluml to make it 2-0.
In the second, Ashlynn Amdor hit a two-out double and later scored on a Griswold error. Reed reached on an error and scored on another Tigers mishap in the third. The biggest inning came in the fifth when the first five reached on two singles and three walks.
The Bulldogs would score on a wild pitch and another bases-loaded walk before Skye Bentley’s two-run infield single put Riverside in position to finish the game early. With a pair of groundouts and a pop out - all to second baseman Gracie Bluml - that’s exactly what happened.
“I like (how we are playing),” Ford said. “We’re sitting in a good spot right now. I hope we just keep going.”
Amdor had a double and scored twice while Gracie Bluml singled, walked and stole two bases. Bentley had a pair of hits and drove in two runs, Ford singled and walked, Achenbach walked twice and drove in a run and Izzy Bluml added an RBI walk.
Riverside moved to 11-5 on the season and will look to avenge one of their losses Thursday at home against IKM-Manning before a big test with 3A No. 5 Treynor on Friday.
“The last time we played IKM we had four or five starters out for district soccer,” Conover said. “I had half my team gone, and we’d like to take a shot at IKM in full force. We’ll worry about Treynor after that.”
Griswold fell to 4-4. The Tigers got hits from Lydia Greiman and Anna Kelley in the defeat. The Tigers travel to Sidney on Thursday before a home date with East Mills on Friday.
Check out complete video interviews with Coach Conover and Ford below.