Prep softball: Riverside not average anymore
One might look at the Riverside softball team's record and mistake the Warriors as average.
After all, Riverside is just 13-12 after the Warriors completed a doubleheader sweep of visiting Charleston Catholic on Thursday by scores of 10-2 and 10-0.
Looking closely at Riverside's schedule shows the Warriors will be a tough out come postseason time.
Just this week alone, Riverside played with Class AAA No. 2 Hurricane and No. 4 Cabell Midland.
Against the Knights on Monday, the Warriors were tied at three entering the seventh before Midland scored five runs to win 8-3.
One day later, Riverside trailed the Redskins just 1-0 in the sixth only to see Hurricane pull away late for a 4-1 win.
"We don't believe in moral victories," Riverside Coach Mike Taylor said. "I'd like to think we are beyond that, but it does make us feel like when we play like we are capable of, we can play with just about anybody. I tell the girls they have to believe your going to win every game."
Despite losing close games to Midland and Hurricane, the Warriors hope they gained respect.
"They are ranked really high and they expected us to just roll over and beat us 10-0, but we didn't," Riverside senior pitcher Kaylee Wolfe said. "We got a lot of confidence and that definitely made us stronger as a team."
Taylor has built the Riverside program since taking over four years ago. The Warriors have won consecutive sectional titles.
"I feel good about where we are," Taylor said. " I think we are taking baby steps but we are getting better every year. When I first got here, the field was rough. There was coal on the infield. We have put $8,000 into the field. We are proud of where we are."
The Warriors are in a section with longtime foe Capital and Ripley has been added to the mix as well this year. Riverside is hoping possibly even reach the State Tournament.
"It would be great for us," Taylor said. "That's what we really need. We want to get to that next level. It sets the precedent. The kids say, 'I want to do what they did.' That's what the Buffalos and St. Albans do."
"Its feels really good to know we have made such an impact on the program's success," senior pitcher Sara Winter said. "To reach the State Tournament would be awesome. It's definitely a goal that we have. It's something that we are ready to go out and try and get this year."
The Warriors feature effective pitching in Winter (2.20 ERA) and Wolfe (1.80). Taylor has worked with the two for several years, even prior to coaching them at Riverside.
"I have had them for about six years now," Taylor said. "I had them in middle school when I started at DuPont and when I moved up to Riverside, they came with me. Last night was Senior Night, and it was an emotional night seeing them grow from young girls into young ladies."
Taylor doesn't want to think about life after this season after his two hurlers graduate, along with fellow senior Destini Diegert.
"I'm very proud of them and have got kind of complacent almost with them," Taylor said. "I'm so comfortable seeing them around. They know exactly what I want. Next year, I still might call their names a few times and look for them."