LAND O’ LAKES — Vital importance comes into play with a district matchup this early in the season, and that much was evident as the River Ridge High baseball team stayed perfect with a 7-3 win against rival Land O’Lakes on Tuesday night.
“Land O’ Lakes is always the top team in the district and conference and area and we always seem to be the team with the potential, but never able to get past them,” longtime Royal Knights coach Jack Homko said. “It was a very important win for us and a game to pull out.”
River Ridge (2-0 overall, 2-0 Class 5A-District 8) scored four in the top of the seventh behind a two-run double by Devon Woodward and an RBI single by Richard Conn.
River Ridge scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Tyler Hawks had an RBI single, and Woodward and Michael Pineda were both hit by pitches with the bases loaded.
The Gators (2-1, 1-1) had a 1-0 lead in the second after Logan Henderson put down a textbook sacrifice bunt to score Cameron Hilgenberg. Land O’ Lakes tied it at 3 with a two-run rally in the sixth that was aided by poor River Ridge defense.
“Our defense let us down there because, theoretically, if we make those plays, they never came back,” Homko said. “Rocco (Iervasi) came in and pitched well, but we have to make those plays for him.”
Iervasi relieved starter Jason Heinrich, who pitched five innings, while Hawks closed it out for the save.