QUINCY, W.Va. -- Riverside senior Sara Winter is getting closer to the end of her career with each pitch.
The determination to keep her season from ending is getting harder to match as Capital found out Tuesday evening in the opener of the Class AAA Region 3 Section 4 tournament.
Winter carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, but settled for a one-hit shutout as the Warriors defeated the Cougars 8-0 in a mercy-rule-shortened game. A crowd of about 50 attended at Riverside High School.
Riverside (19-14) earns a day off with the victory while Capital tries to avoid elimination against Ripley (13-5) at 6 p.m. today. The Vikings were No. 10 in this week's final state sportswriters' poll.
Winter, who went 2 for 3, laced a two-run single in the fifth to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead. Riverside then scored on an error to go ahead 8-0 and set up the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth. She struck out five and walked none on an economical 48 pitches.
"It feels amazing to know I had such a good solid defense behind me,'' said Winter, whose jersey was covered with dirt after making several plays from the circle.
"Being a senior and I don't know if I'm going to play in college or not, it's down to the last couple of games and I know I have to really go out and help my team any way that I can.''
Winter retired all 12 batters she faced through the first four innings, but Capital's Courtney Burkhart led off the fifth with a bloop single on an 0-1 count that looped over the circle, landing in no-man's land.
Winter shrugged it off and retired the next three hitters on a popup, strikeout and, fittingly, a groundout back to the circle. She made five putouts among the 15 outs, including four straight. She turned in a sensational diving catch on a ball between home and the pitcher's circle in which she fully extended on the ground with her glove outstretched.