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Lady Bruins See Positive Strides In Softball Season
A play at first base resulted in Carlye Avey getting a serious ankle sprain on Wednesday, and the talented sophomore pitcher was unable to compete in the final game of the season as Riverbank closed Trans-Valley League play on Thursday.

Avey's fourth inning injury on May 12 set the tone for an 8-0 loss to league leading Escalon. A day later, she was unable to compete in a season-ending loss to TVL runner-up, Hughson.

"It's been a crazy season," Riverbank coach Cassi Ross said. "We had to have some other girls step up and pitch, and they found out how hard a pitchers job really is."

With Avey out, Ross turned to Ashley Rodgers and Amy McDonald for pitching duties in the final league contest. Rodgers had not pitched since she was 10, and McDonald had to shake off rust since her last appearance, in eighth grade.

"It was nice to see the girls pull together as a team, and Ashley and Amy stepped up big to pitch for us," Ross said. "It was a good year for us."

The Lady Bruins are slated to return every player from the 2010 roster but senior Jessica Hutson. The Bruins started four freshmen at points this season.

McDonald saw some big highlights in her first prep season, and swung a hot bat in the final few weeks of league play. She belted a key hit in Riverbank's 4-0 win over Ripon on May 11 and watched Avey crush a home run in the same contest.

"Carlye was exceptional all year, and Amy just hit the daylights out of the ball in the last two weeks," Ross said. "We had a lot of unreal expectations for this young team and they rose to the challenge all year.

"The future looks bright for this team."

Riverbank closes overall play at 9-10. The team went 6-9 in TVL competition.