CLEARWATER — If there's such a thing as playing a perfect tournament, it would probably look a lot like what River Ridge did this weekend in Clearwater.
The Royal Knights (13-1) wrapped up their two-day demolition of the annual Palm Harbor University Lady Canes Spring Tournament by mercy-ruling Countryside on Saturday night, 12-1.
In four games, River Ridge blew out its opposition by an absurd combined score of 44-1.
“They give up one run in four games and score 44; it's pretty hard to beat a team that hits, fields and pitches,” River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said. “And that's what we did out there this weekend.”
The Knights and pitcher Makenzie Goluba were two outs away from shutting out the field before Countryside kept its slim hopes alive in the bottom of the fifth Saturday night. Down 10-0, Sommer Pollard's run-scoring sacrifice bunt plated Andrea Fredericks to temporarily stave off defeat.
Prior to that moment, though, it was all River Ridge and its locked-in offense.
Shortstop Kenzie Maguire, second baseman Morgan Tolle and centerfielder Madisyn Palmer went a combined 10-for-13 in the championship game, driving in eight of the Knights' runs.
The full River Ridge assault rapped out 49 total hits to score its 44 runs over four games.
Maguire made it just about impossible not to eventually name her the tournament's Most Valuable Player. The junior leadoff hitter turned in a ridiculous performance at the plate, going 10-for-12 with two home runs, two triples, a double, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored.
“I was just trying to hit it hard somewhere so I could get on base for the other people behind me to take control,” Maguire said.
She took control of the situation herself in the top of the second Saturday night. With one down, Maguire bombed her second home run of the day well over the left-field fence.
The Knights scored three tone-setting runs in the first and two more in the second. After failing to put away the Cougars in five, Melissa Moore and Anessa Holes scored two unearned runs in the sixth to go up 12-1.
Countryside (12-4) wasn't without its opportunities Saturday, but went 0-for-6 against Goluba with runners in scoring position.
River Ridge's junior pitcher won all four of this weekend's games, striking out 21 batters and walking just three over 23 combined innings of work.
“We came out not expecting to do all this, but definitely hoping to,” Goluba said of the all-around performance. “We were really aggressive and our bats were just on fire this week.”
The Knights already came into this weekend wanting to atone for last year's 1-0, eight-inning loss in the championship game to Plant High. Adding a little more drive was last week's 1-0 home loss to Fivay High, River Ridge's first defeat of the season.
“We wanted to come out and put runs on the board since we didn't have any in our loss this past week,” Goluba said. “It really put a fire under us. We wanted this tournament to not prove ourselves, but redeem ourselves from that loss.”
Northeast blanked Dunedin 6-0 to take home third-place honors and host PHU earned fifth by beating rival East Lake 8-2.
Two 6 p.m. games saw Plant beat Tarpon Springs 8-4 and Tampa Catholic take out fellow Hillsborough County foe East Bay, 6-4.
After losing its Friday opener to PHU, Pinellas Park capped a three-win Saturday by edging Seminole 6-5.
RR - 320 232 x --- 12-16-3
WP – Makenzie Goluba (12-1)
Kenzi Maguire – 4-for-4, 3 RBI, 4 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 HBP
Makenzie Goluba – W, 6.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 1 BB – 1-for-5
Madisyn Palmer – 4-for-5, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB
Sommer Pollard – 0-for-2, 1 RBI, Sac Bunt
Andrea Fredericks – 1-for-2, 1 R