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Rivers gives it all: blood, guts, vomit

Porsha Rivers has no shortage of grit.

The Merced College freshman has won over her teammates and coaches time and again with hustle and effort.

It's a big reason why She-Devils coach Suzanne Burrola has entrusted Rivers with the shortstop position and the No. 3 spot in the batting order.

But even with daily contributions, Rivers cemented her place in MC softball lore with one game.

"We were traveling down to Porterville and I wasn't feeling real well, but when we got there I decided I could go," Rivers said. "I suited up and I tried to take the field for warmups and I realized it wasn't going to happen."

Things went downhill quickly for Rivers, who spent the better part of six innings with her head hung over a bucket throwing up.

"Coach told me to put my shoes on an I said, 'My cleats?' " Rivers said. "She said she might need me."

Rivers didn't see that as a likely scenario with her team trailing 7-0 in the seventh inning.

Burrola called upon her anyway.

"I wasn't expecting much," Rivers admitted. "But I went up and I got a triple."

It was the first of two hits for Rivers in the inning, the second of which led to the go-ahead run.

The She-Devils rallied for an 8-7 victory and used the game as a turning point in their season.

Rivers got to celebrate her big inning by throwing up a few more times on the side of the road on the way home.

It's the kind of perseverance her teammates have come to expect from the former Dos Palos star and the kind they'll need to display in today's showdown with Fresno City.

First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at She-Devil Diamond.

The Rams (12-1 Central Valley Conference, 37-6), ranked eighth in the state, stand between the She-Devils and the playoffs.

"We know we have to win these last three league games if we want to make the playoffs," Burrola said. "It's in the girls' hands now.

"If we show up ready to play, we can very easily win all three."

MC closes the CVC season with a doubleheader against Porterville next week, but Fresno City is definitely it's biggest hurdle.

The Rams swept the She-Devils in Fresno last month, outscoring MC 8-0 in the two games.

Rivers, who leads the team with 34 hits and 21 runs, is determined to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"Their pitchers did a good job of jamming us inside and we didn't make adjustments," Burrola said. "Then when they got up in the count they'd throw junk away and -- not wanting to strike out looking -- we chased bad pitches.

"The key is going to be getting after them early in the count."

The She-Devils have gone 10-2 since the first Fresno meeting, with their only losses coming against state-ranked opponents.

"They're focused. They really want to beat Fresno City," Burrola said. "The first thing I told them today was that how we carry ourselves every time we take the field from here on out will determine how we do."