One step closer

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Rebels fall in state semifinals to Ouachita Christian


Sports Editor

MONROE – One step closer.

With most of their team remaining intact next season, the future is very bright for the Riverside Rebels.

The 2005 version of Riverside baseball unfortunately ended Tuesday afternoon with a 8-5 loss to Ouachita Christian in the state semifinals.

The loss concludes a great season for the Rebels in which they finished 22-11.

Josh Labiche (3-4) took the loss for the Rebels in relief while Daniel Bradshaw (9-5) was the winning pitcher for Ouachita Christian.

Trailing 1-0 after the opening inning, the Rebels took a commanding 4-1 lead after pushing across four runs in the top of the third inning.

After Cavin Richmond led off the inning with a single, centerfielder Lee Haydel launched a two-run homer over the right-field wall.

With one out, Nick Falgoust singled. After Josh Labiche struck out, David Mabile singled. Falgoust would score one batter later on a two-out RBI single from Wade Delaneuville to give Rebels a 4-1 lead.

The lead was short lived for the Rebels however, as Ouachita Christian answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at four.

Tied at four heading into the sixth inning, Riverside was able to push across the go ahead run in the top of the sixth, giving them a 5-4 lead and putting them six outs away from playing for a state championship.

Leftfielder Donny Terrio led off the inning with an opposite field single and advanced o second base on a bunt from Cavin Richmond.

After advancing to a third base on a groundout by Haydel, starting pitcher Jordan Poirrier stepped up to the plate.

Striking out his first three times at the plate, the gutsy Poirrier lined a single into right-field, his first hit of the game, to give the Rebels the lead.

Sadly, just as fast as the Rebel fans began to have dreams of playing for a state title,those were taken away just as quickly.

Ouachita Christian was able to push across four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 8-5 lead.

With one out, Matt Laird singled and advanced to second on an error. After back-to-back walks, Casey Autonberry lined a two-run double. Another run would score on a Rebel error.

Ouachita Christian would push across an insurance run two batters later.

Riverside would have a chance in their final at-bat, sending the tying run to the plate.

With two outs, Delaneuville and catcher Chase Emerson both drew walks. However, Bradshaw was able to retire Terrio, ending the threat and the Rebels season.

A disappointed Steve Stropolo said after the game that his team had their fair share of chances.

“We were just not able to come through,” the Riverside Head Coach said. “We left too many people on base and we struck out 11 times. Plus we got 10 hits. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Disappointed that his team was not able to come away with the victory, Stropolo said he was still very proud of his Rebels effort.

“I’m really proud of these kids,” Stropolo said. “They fought really hard and we are really playing with a good group of kids. They battled all year long and that is all that you can ask them to do.

“We had our chances. We had runners on base and we either struck out or we popped up.”

Using three pitchers, Stropolo said he thought he got solid performances from his staff.

“I thought we were all right,” Stropolo said. “After coming off of last week’s game I knew that this was not going to be a piece of cake. I thought that we were in good shape after going ahead in the sixth inning. We just were not able to do what we were suppose to do.”

Stropolo said he was pleased with the performance he got out of Poirrier on the mound.

“He was at 83 pitches and they (Ouachita Christian) were on him,” Stropolo said. “It was not like they were missing him. They hit almost all of his pitches.

“Overall Jordan pitched well. He left the game with the score tied and we were starting over again.”

Allowing three earned runs on eight hits in four innings of work, Poirrier said he and his teammates gave it their all.”

“I had a lot of confidence coming in,” Poirrier said. “I knew that I could throw strikes and the team was going to play behind me.

“It’s a long season. We have played well all year. We just could not get it done in the end, when it counted.”

Coming off a no-hitter in the state quarterfinals, Poirrier said the pressure was just as big in the state semifinals Tuesday afternoon.

“I think the big thing was that everybody was expecting me to do it again,” Poirrier said. “I kind of expected a better performance out of myself, but I guess it just did not happen for me.”

The game also marked the end of the brilliant career of Riverside senior Josh Labiche.

The multi-sport star concludes a phenomenal career in Reserve participating in basketball, track and baseball.

“It has been the most enjoyable time of my life,” Labiche said. ‘I have really enjoyed my time at Riverside and will never forget my teammates and coaches.”