Rebels survive Runnels, advance to regional round

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 1, 2010



RESERVE – After taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning of a Class 2A bi-district playoff game, 28th seeded Runnels got Riverside’s full attention.

It didn’t take long for the Rebels to swing the momentum back in their favor.

The Rebels scored four runs in the fifth, keyed by the home runs of Dylan Martin and Chase Bazile, to take control of an eventual 5-2 victory.

“We knew they weren’t a typical 28 seed,” said Riverside coach Britt Waguespack. “They beat Episcopal twice, split with Dunham and lost a couple of heartbreakers to (University). I know I saw two teams that did a great job today. It’s how a playoff game should be.”

Riverside will face the first round winner of Newman and Fisher. Waguespack said that either matchup will likely be played on Tuesday.

Both Martin and the Raiders’ Sheldon Davis were sharp early, but Runnels (14-13) struck first in the fourth after Alden Cartwright doubled to the outfield wall with one out. Davis walked and Jordan Kumler hit a chopper for an RBI single. Courtesy runner Sterling Tiras followed up by scoring from third on a wild pitch that bounced off the plate and over the head of catcher Tate Scioneaux.

“Guys easily could have started biting their fingernails,” said Waguespack. “But we know we can hit, and we battled back.”

Runnels’ 2-0 lead would not last long, however. Martin sparked his team by socking a lead off home run to centerfield to cut the lead in half.

“I was seeing it well,” Martin said. “I knew if I started it off, the guys behind me would keep it going.”

Bryant Tassin walked and Bazile landed the second big blow, homering to right to put Riverside (13-18-1) ahead 3-2.

“I didn’t know it was out of here, but once I realized it I knew it was what we needed,” said Bazile.

Jake Roussel and Scioneaux singled on back to back at bats with one out before Grady Geiger’s sacrifice fly plated the Rebels’ fourth run.

Riverside added another run in the bottom of the fifth after Martin’s double turned into a run on a Runnels’ error.

“It’s how we’ve been all year,” said Bazile. “We don’t hit for a couple of innings, then we finish strong.”

Said Waguespack: “(Davis) kept us off balance for the first few innings, but we were putting solid swings on it. Even if you’re making outs, if you keep swinging it well you’ll end up alright.”

The Rebels dodged a bullet in the seventh after back to back errors and a single by Josh Morris put the tying run at home plate with one out. But Cartwright grounded into a game-ending double play to send the Rebels on.

After the fourth inning, Martin cruised, allowing just two hits and a walk the rest of the way.

“In the fourth I was trying to strike everyone out,” said Martin. “After that I just pitched to contact and trusted the defense, and it worked out well.”