"They get runners on and they execute. They moved runners and we didn't do that today.
"Little things like that add up to 4-0. That's like when we played them up there earlier this season (a 1-0 Ripley win), we had a throwing error in the first inning and that was all she wrote. They made us pay."
Hager earned the complete-game win by scattering six singles, while striking out five.
The junior hurler also received help from solid defensive play that saved at least one run.
Hager ran into trouble in the first inning, but escaped unscathed despite three Riverside hits in the frame.
The inning ended when Cunningham threw out Warriors leadoff hitter Chelsea Diegert at the plate. Diegert was trying to score from second after a two-out Kaylee Wolfe single.
Ripley catcher Ashley Mellinger also contributed by throwing out a pair of would-be base stealers and smacking the game's only extra base hit, a sixth-inning double to deep left.
"Today we played really solid defense," Hager said. "This was a big win for us confidence wise. I know we'll come back tomorrow even stronger."
Ripley first baseman Myranda Murphy knocked in the game's other two runs with a RBI groundout in the fifth inning and a two-out, RBI single in the seventh.
Riverside was led by center fielder Destinae Schmidt's two hits.
"Hager is a tough pitcher," Taylor said. "She's a battler and she's not going to give you anything free, so we're going to have to work for it because we're in a hole."