Riverside has the look of an entirely different team this season despite losing only two starters. Those two starters just happened to be two of the best players in the WPIAL. Senior pitcher Kirsten Wilson and catcher Nicole Mansfield, the catalysts behind a perfect regular season last year, a WPIAL title and a trip to the PIAA finals, have graduated. But this Riverside team still finds itself in a familiar position, the WPIAL quarterfinals for a third consecutive year.
Riverside advanced beyond the first round yet again thanks to a gutsy defensive performance anchored by senior pitcher Brooke Barker. While Wilson was the WPIAL strikeout leader last year, Barker pitches to contact and never was that more evident than on Tuesday against No. 11 Chartiers-Houston (10-7). Barker allowed four hits but she induced the Buccaneers into three double plays that her defense turned behind her as No. 6 Riverside (11-2) survived 4-2.
Riverside will continue defense of its WPIAL title when it meets No. 3 Seton-LaSalle (11-2) on Monday. The Rebels were 3-2 winners against South Allegheny.