RIDGEFIELD — Before every game, Ridgefield softball coach Kelsey Anchors likes to gauge how her starting pitcher is feeling mentally.
When sophomore Elizabeth Peery looked at her coach Friday and said assuredly she was ready to go against Columbia River, Anchors sensed the Spudders were in good hands.
Between two undefeated teams tied atop the 2A Greater St. Helens League standings, it was the type of confidence Ridgefield needed to close out a 2-1 win and keep Spudders’ perfect 11-0 record intact.
Peery pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts, including three in the final inning, and three hits allowed. The Rapids (7-1) were dealt their first loss of the season.
“That one run coming across the plate, then inning after inning shutting them down, yeah she’d get a runner on or walk someone, but she’s got the defense behind her and she was confident on the mound today,” Anchors said. “I like that version of her.”
Ridgefield faced a quick one-run deficit following Aurora Wiley’s RBI single in the top of the first inning to score Mia Yanez, who doubled two batters earlier.
Those were two of three hits Peery gave up over seven innings.
River starting pitcher Taylor McRae, a University of British Columbia commit, also limited Ridgefield to three hits. The difference was two fielding errors, which Ridgefield took full advantage of.
As Ridgefield leadoff hitter Mallory Vancleave slid into second base on an attempted steal, the throw got behind the Rapids and into the outfield, allowing Vancleave to score the tying run in the first.
Peery led off the second with a line-drive double into left field. Two outs and two batters later, River fielded an Alissa Wallway ground ball, but the throw missed first base and gave Peery enough time to score.
“We obviously don’t like being down, but as long as we keep our energy up and just keep on fighting, never let our heads get too down, even if someone strikes out, the next person got their back,” Peery said. “Just knowing your team has your back keeps us up.”
On the heels of Wednesday’s 19-5 comeback win against Mark Morris, in which Ridgefield clawed back from a 4-1 deficit with an 18-run inning, the Spudders haven’t dropped a league game since April 16, 2021, against River.
“Our first game in league last year we lost … we came back in the next game (and) run-ruled them,” Peery said. “It’s all mental, I feel like. We are pretty equal, but we want it more. We just want that league title, districts and state.”
Friday marked the halfway point of the GSHL schedule and the latest test the Spudders have passed. The two teams will play again May 13 in the regular-season finale.
“One thing I told them today was, ‘We’re not going to beat every team by 15, and this was a good test (for) us of what we’re going to face down the line,’” Anchors said.
RIDGEFIELD 2, COLUMBIA RIVER 1
Col. River 100 000 0—1 3 2
Ridgefield 110 000 x—2 3 0
Pitching — Taylor McRae 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Highlights — Mia Yanez 1-2, R, 2B; Sophia Reyes 1-2, 2B; Aurora Wiley 1-2, RBI.
Pitching — Elizabeth Peery 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 K, 4 BB; Highlights — Mallory Vancleave R; Madison Walker 1-3; Peery 1-3, R, 2B; Madeline Smith 1-2, 2B.