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Prep softball: Riverhawks run out of rallies in semifinal setback

May 15—BOX SCORE

At Fort Borst Park (Quarterfinal)

RIVERHAWKS 1, WILDCATS 0 (9 inn.)

Ocosta 000 000 000 — 0

Toledo 000 000 001 — 1

TOL Pitching — Holter 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 8 K. Highlights — Davis 1-3; Miller 1-3; Z. Norberg 0-3, BB, R

At Fort Borst Park (Semifinal)

SPARTANS 16, RIVERHAWKS 9

Forks 240 502 3 — 16

Toledo 013 300 2 — 9

TOL Pitching — Holter 7 IP, 18 H, 16 R (13 ER), 2 BB, 5 SO. Highlights — Holter 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Hurley 1-3, 2 RBI, 3 R; Q. Norberg 2-4, 2 R; Carver 2-3, RBI, R

Every time the Toledo High School softball team cut into its deficit on Wednesday night, it would rise the next half-inning.

The gap began too monumental to shrink.

Regular season P2BL champion Forks broke out the bats with 18 hits and several big innings en route to a 16-9 victory over the Riverhawks in the Class 2B District 4 semifinals at Fort Borst Park.

"They put the bat on the ball hard, but early on in the game, we booted the ball around a little bit," Toledo head coach Jeff Davis said. "I don't think it was an issue of running on fumes. If we play cleaner, then it is a different ball game."

After a 1-0 extra-inning thriller over Ocosta in the quarters, the Riverhawks (19-5) couldn't take advantage of a winner-to-state game and a berth in the district title. They will face Pe Ell/Willapa Valley on Saturday morning in another state clinching contest.

Davis feels his group will be up for the task.

"It will be a tough ball game," he said.

Down 6-0 to the Spartans after 1.5 innings, Toledo chipped away with a run in the second and three more in the third on four hits. Brenna Carver and Kailea Lairson notched RBI singles.

Forks responded with a five-spot in the fourth, then the Riverhawks got three of those tallies back on a run-scoring base hit by Camryn Hurley, a wild pitch and an error.

That proved to be the last time Toledo was within striking distance of a win. The Spartans scored five runs in the last two innings.

"It does something to you," Davis said. "You gotta keep grinding and I was proud of the girls for not ever quitting. There were some good things, because of that, that can help us continue in this tournament."

Holter, Mialeigh Jurica and Quyn Norberg all registered two hits for the Riverhawks while Holter and Hurley each drove in two runs.

The matchup versus Ocosta didn't have a run until the bottom of the ninth.

With the international rules in place — the last out from the previous inning stands on second base — Norberg was on second base.

With two outs and the Wildcats trying to extend the game, their ace Jessie Gilbert threw a wild pitch and Norberg slid home safely to send Toledo into euphoria.

Just six days ago, its offense piled on Gilbert for 11 runs. The at-bats on Wednesday featured 19 strikeouts to just two hits.

"Qyun is one of our most aggressive and smartest base runners," Davis said.

The Riverhawks had minimal chances for much of the night, until the eighth. They loaded the bases with two outs, but Gilbert got out of the jam.

Holter went toe-to-toe with the Cal State Fullerton commit. The freshman right-hander went all nine innings, struck out eight and worked around five walks to snare the win.

"She's our number one and has improved so much," Davis said. "She knew it was probably going to be a tight game. Her and the defense got us to Saturday."

Toledo and PWV met in the regular season, a 8-7 victory by the latter. The two programs tangled in the quarterfinals of districts last spring, also won by the Titans.

The Riverhawks are in a similar situation as last year, facing a P2BL foe in a winner to state game in the consolation bracket.

"We'll battle," Davis said. "It is something the fans are going to like if they're neutral."