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Lady Bruins Shut Out On Softball Diamond
In what will likely be the case for the remainder of the season, the Riverbank High softball team got an inspired effort on the mound from sophomore pitcher Carlye Avey, yet a valiant effort doesn't always mean victory as the Lady Bruins dropped their Trans-Valley League opener with a 9-0 loss to the Modesto Christian Crusaders on the road March 12. The Crusaders chipped across two in the first, two in the third and then four in the fifth inning to pull away from Riverbank in both squads' first TVL match up. Avey did all she could do to keep Modesto Christian off balance, but four untimely errors played a large part in Riverbank's second loss on the young season.

"Carlye pitched her guts out," Riverbank head coach Cassi Ross said. "She held M.C.'s best hitter to ground balls and we didn't field any of them. Carlye really did all she could do."

Riverbank could not get anything going offensively, failing to score a run for the second straight contest. Modesto Christian's Brittani McGue did her job in the circle, holding the Lady Bruins to just four hits over seven innings of work.

Riverbank has shown a great deal of promise through the squad's non-league schedule, but seemingly aborted the formula that has the squad optimistic about their chances in the always-challenging TVL grind.

"Modesto Christian is a good team, don't get me wrong," Ross said of her squad's first league contest. "But we simply did not show up to play. We learned a very hard lesson this week.

"We truly played just like we practiced the day before."

The Lady Bruins will have to straighten things out in a hurry with a trip to Escalon to face the Cougars scheduled for March 19 at Escalon High. The Cougars are on a roll as of late, starting league play off with a shutout victory over Ripon Christian, followed by an impressive showing in the St. Mary's Invitational softball tournament in Stockton over the past weekend.

Riverbank knows better than anyone what changes the team will have to make to put together a successful TVL season.

"We talked for 45 minutes down in right field after that game," Ross said. "I told them that they have to have each other's back. This team has to be sisters. They cannot continue to just be about themselves.

"We were nine individuals playing a game and not a team."