The scoreboard threw Richfield Springs a curve Tuesday, but shortstop Rebecca Smith bailed out the Indians with a head’s-up play that secured a 7-3 Tri-Valley League softball victory over visiting Gilbertsville-Mount Upton.
Winning pitcher Kaity Richvalsky struck out five, walked two and hit a batter in six innings as Richfield Springs took a 7-0 lead into the seventh. G-MU then rallied for three runs and loaded the bases against reliever Madisyn Butler, prompting RS coach Jay Lehmann to throw Richvalsky back into the circle with two out.
“I wish it the way it ended was easy, but it wasn’t,” Lehmann said. “The count was 1-1, but Kaity thought it was 1-2 because the scoreboard was wrong. She threw a strike, so she thought the game was over.”
Lehmann said catcher Emma Miner threw the ball back to Richvalsky, who dropped it and began to trot off the field.
“G-MU sent the runner on third home when she did that,” Lehmann said. “Luckily for us, Rebecca heard us screaming, so she picked up the ball and threw the runner out at the plate.”
Richvalsky also went 2-for-2 with a run for the Indians, who received two hits apiece from Miner (run), Rebecca Smith (two runs, two RBIs) and Butler (two runs, RBI).
The victory kept RS (10-4, 10-2) in the hunt for the Tri-Valley League East Division title. The Indians host East Division front-runner Milford (13-1, 11-1) at 4:30 p.m. today in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Milford can clinch the division title outright with a victory. Should RS win, the teams will share the division title and meet again Thursday at a time and site to be determined for a tiebreaker that will decide which team will represent the East in the T-V championship game.