STUART — Holding a 3-0 lead after four innings with ace Katie Kidwell dealing, South Fork's softball team looked primed to head towards a shot at playing in a Final Four later this week.
River Ridge put an end to the Bulldogs' dreams, scoring three runs in the fifth to tie the game and got a go-ahead RBI single from Jennifer Hauschen in the eighth inning and hung on for a 4-3 victory in a Region 2-5A semifinal.
The Bulldogs (12-6) flew out of the gates with a three-run first inning, with senior Taylor Buerrier driving in a run with a double into the left field corner and Kidwell rocketing a two-run triple to right center field.
Kidwell recorded five of her first six outs via strikeout while working around traffic on the bases. In the third, with two Royal Knight runners on base, she got pop outs from River Ridge's 3-4 hitters Sophie Johnson and Taryn Newton to keep the lead right where it was.
The next time through the order in the fifth, the Royal Knights made their charge with Johnson, Newton and Victoria Nearing factoring into River Ridge's three-run inning.
Nearing's RBI triple tied the game at 3-3 after Johnson and Newton delivered hits and moving around the bases via miscues in the field by South Fork's defense.
The Bulldogs had a great opportunity in the bottom of the seventh after a leadoff double from Abbey Moore, but she would only reach third base before River Ridge ace Jordan Sheets sent the game to extra innings.
Hauschen's hit that scored Jacqleen Golden handed Sheets a one-run lead to protect in the eighth and South Fork got a runner to third but couldn't extend the game and their season.
Kidwell struck out eight and allowed one earned run in her eight innings of work in the circle and led South Fork with a double and a triple in a 3-for-4 night at the plate.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: River Ridge upends South Fork softball in regional semifinal loss