A group of 10-year-old girls started with a dream about seven years ago about winning a state title in softball.

A group of 10-year-old girls started with a dream about seven years ago about winning a state title in softball.
Back then, the Riverton Rage was just a up-start softball team filled with girls with very little softball experience.
Now look at them.
On Saturday, the juniors that were part of that first softball team, helped the Rams defeat Ottawa, 3-0, to capture the Class 4A state softball championship at the Bill Burke Complex in Salina.
That came after the Rams blanked Rose Hill, 4-0, in the semifinals.
It marks the first-ever state title for Riverton in girl’s sports.
And, to think, this was the same Riverton team that, eight games ago, was swept by Girard — including a second-game run-rule — for the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title.
“We lost that first one and the second game did not go well,” said Riverton head coach Brian Mitchell. “We had a meeting the next day and we talked about how they had to change their attitude.”
It seemed to work because the Rams gave up just one run — to Caney Valley in the regional semifinals — over the course of the next six games, including Saturday’s state title game.
The attitude carried over to this weekend as the Rams held Ottawa in check for just three hits for the game.
Riverton starting pitcher Haleigh Sills made an immediate impact at the plate with a two-run double in the bottom of the first that was bombed to the left-center field fence allowing Cheslyn Mitchell and Carleigh Hall to score.
“It was a lot over the plate,” Sills said. “I just went with it.”
A wild pitch by Ottawa starter Hallie Ray allowed the Rams to score another run and take a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
From there, both pitchers seemed to take over the game as there were just three hits combined for the rest of the game.
Not to mention the fact that Ottawa, a team that averaged 8 runs per game, could have threatened at anytime.
“I really didn’t know if it would hold up,” Brian Mitchell said. “But, I have to tell you, I have a lot of faith in No. 10 [Sills].”
Sills was able to record nine strikeouts and the Riverton defense did its job, committing just one error over the entire game.
“We like to have the opportunity to have the opposing pitcher wear down,” said Ottawa head coach Corey Katzer. “But, she [Sills] didn’t and she was in control.”
Ray also found a way to settle after giving up four hits and three runs in the first as she struck out nine for the game.
“I think she came out a little jazzed,” Katzer said. “Once she gets that out of her system, she can dominate.”
However, the Rams’ three runs in the first held up, giving them their first state title and, coincidentally, it was Sills that made the final out after Alyssa Miller hit a chopper back to the pitcher.
“I was just so nervous and I was afraid that I was going to overthrow it,” Sills said.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.

Prep softball
Class 4A state tournament
at Bill Burke Complex (Salina)
Riverton 3, Ottawa 0
Ottawa    000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Riverton    300 000 X — 3 5 1
Haleigh Sills and Whitney Shafer. Hallie Ray and Joselyn Dean. WP — Sills (3-0). LP — Ray (1-1). E — Kotye Mallatt; Paige McFarland, Shelby Miller. DP — Ottawa 1
LOB — Riverton 4, Ottawa 6. 2B — Sills. SB — Cheslyn Mitchell 2, Kelsey Anderson.
Riverton 4, Rose Hill 0
Riverton    100 010 2 — 4 3 1
Rose Hill    000 000 0 — 0 1 5
Haleigh Sills and Whitney Shafer. Keelyn Bonar and Molly Baker. WP — Sills (2-0). LP — Bonar (1-1). E — Kelsey Anderson, Dalaynee Ludwig; Marisa McGregor 2, Randi Lucas, Rashel Chickadonz, Baker. LOB — Riverton 6, Rose Hill 4. SB — Cheslyn Mitchell, Ambur Simmons, Stormi Bond, Carleigh Hall. CS — Jordan Rehm.