NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge faced Dunedin for the third time this season in Friday’s Class 5A-District 8 championship game and closed out a dominant district run.
The Royal Knights overcame inclement weather and soundly defeated the Falcons 8-0 behind a 13-strikeout effort from junior pitcher Makenzie Goluba. River Ridge won three district tournament games without allowing a run.
“Honestly, I don’t think anything was different,” Goluba said of facing Dunedin a third time. “We came out here playing like it was any team. The best team in the state.
“That’s how we play all of our opponents. We came out aggressive and got the job done.”
Aside from a hit in the fourth inning, Goluba and crew held the Falcons to one hit and made sure no errors were committed. River Ridge (24-3) broke the scoreless tie in the third inning, when pinch runner Paige Theede and Kenzie Maguire scored on a Dunedin error.
The Royal Knights added a couple more runs in the third, and that’s all Goluba would need to work with.
The junior pitcher mostly held the Falcons’ batters to hitting ground balls or striking out, making it a fairly quiet day for the outfield.
River Ridge got 13 hits off Dunedin pitcher Aubrey Ehlers (eight strikeouts) in the win.
River Ridge will host Brooksville Nature Coast, which lost 6-5 to Brooksville Hernando in the Class 5A-District 7 title game, on Thursday. Dunedin (13-6) will travel to Brooksville to take on Hernando.