Lady Redhawks end season

Redhawk seniors, from left, Alaijah Savage, Deltrice Holmes, Ashley Counts, Brooke Jenkins and Ihyanna Cruz received ceremonial plaques before their final game. | Leroy Howard

BLYTHEWOOD – With a slot in the 4A state playoffs on the line, the Westwood softball team looked to get a win Friday night against a team they’d beaten a month ago.

The Redhawks could have even lost and gotten into the postseason, as long as it was by a narrow margin.

Ridge View dashed those hopes at the Westwood softball field.

The Blazers capitalized on 11 Redhawks errors and closed out a 13-2 victory in five.

“I really thought the girls could come to this today without their top pitcher and pull it off,” Westwood head coach Steve Cruz said.

The Redhawks were without the services of starting pitcher Marlena Perez, who was on the mound in Westwood’s 14-6 victory over the Blazers March 27. Without Perez on the mound, and with new players taking the place of injured starters, the look of the team was different from just a month ago.

Redhawks junior Cayla Petty digs in for her wind up. | Leroy Howard

The result was not good for the Redhawks, who finish 5-9 overall and 3-7 in Region III-4A.

“Defensively they really hurt themselves,” Cruz said. “And they know that.”

Starting third baseman Cayla Petty got the ball to start, but doing so moved her from her third-base starting position, and Cruz had to adjust his starters accordingly. Also, three players who started the March 27th game against the Blazers were replaced by players called up from JV recently.

While there was hope for a strong regular-season finish by the Redhawks, the Blazers also had the desire to play on.

Ridge View took a 3-1 lead going into the third inning. The Blazers picked up two runs on no hits but two errors and two walks in the first inning, and followed up with a run on a hit and an error in the second.

Westwood seemed poised at keeping up with their rivals. Renee Kinney led off the bottom of the second with a single to right and moved to second when Aniaya Price walked Brionna King. Coco Scott’s long single to right drove in Kinney, but King rounded second and was tagged out at third for the first out.

That baserunning mistake began the Westwood shutdown. Instead of getting another run across, Deltrice Holmes and Denethat Dixon both grounded out to retire the side.

The Redhawks defense fell apart in the third inning. Ridge View sent 11 batters to the plate and collected six runs on just two hits. Thanks to five Westwood errors, Blazer baserunners eased their way around the bases and landed on the scoreboard.

Ridge View’s 9-1 lead after the third was insurmountable, but the Blazers added three more runs in the fourth to take a 12-1 lead.

Westwood hoped to close the gap at least by a few runs, but found just one run in the fourth. Price hit Kinney, who led off the inning, but struck out both King and Scott. She then walked Holmes, and when Dixon reached on an error, Kinney came home to make it 12-2 Ridge View.

Olivia Burroughs grounded out to end the inning.

Ridge View got its last run in the fifth, and Price struck out Kinney in the bottom of the frame to close out a win and get the Blazers into the playoffs.

Immediately after the game, the Blazers, who will travel as the fourth seed in the District IV Tournament Tuesday gathered around for a post-game pep talk.

Then they left the field—while the Redhawks were still gathered solemnly around Coach Cruz for one last post-game meet-up.

“I’m still proud of them with their work during the season,” Cruz said. “It was a tough loss, they beat themselves, but they know they did, a tough lesson.”

 RVHS – 2-1-6-3-1 – 13, 6, 3

WHS – 0-1-0-1-0 – 2, 3, 11

WP: Aniaya Price LP: Cayla Petty

Hitters: Ridge View – Alexis Guess 2-3.