NEW PORT RICHEY — It’s been awhile since the River Ridge baseball team has won three games in one week. Friday night, the Royal Knights were able to complete a perfect slate of games heading into spring break. River Ridge piled up nine hits and won in dramatic fashion in extra innings to edge Class 5A-District 8 rival Land O’ Lakes 8-7.
“I can’t remember the last time we won three varsity baseball games in one week,” River Ridge coach Jack Homko said. “We’re neck-and-neck for the division lead. “It was a good week for us.”
After picking up wins against Tarpon Springs and Hudson earlier in the week, River Ridge (8-3, 7-2) carried that momentum in to the game against Land O’ Lakes, who they defeated earlier in the season, 7-3.
The Royal Knights took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Devon Woodward.
Both teams took out their respective starting pitchers heading into the fifth inning, and that led to a couple of lead changes, including Land O’ Lakes (6-5, 5-5) taking a 7-6 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh before River Ridge knotted the contest in the bottom half.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, the Royal Knights were able to finally break the tie when Rocco Iervasi drove in Woodward from second base to end the game.
Iervasi also pitched the last four innings for River Ridge and allowed one run, four hits and struck out four in the victory.
“I was trying to hit it the other way,” Iervasi said. “Once I thought it might drop, I was off.
“This win is huge for us. (Land O’ Lakes) is one of the better teams in our district, and we proved we’re getting better.”