Rebels, Patriots to collide

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 8, 2010



RESERVE – During the height of NBA Playoff season, there’s a baseball game today that certainly carries “Game Seven” like implications.

District rivals Riverside and John Curtis have played six times over the past two seasons.

The tally? Rebels — three. John Curtis — three.

That fourth win is of the utmost importance. The winner of today’s quarterfinal clash between Riverside and Curtis punches its ticket to the Class 2A state semifinals in Shreveport on May 14.

The fifth-seeded Rebels (14-18-1) will visit the fourth-seeded Patriots (23-11) today at 1 p.m. at Harahan Park.

Riverside defeated Curtis in two of three games this year – all wins for each team came in the visitor’s park.

Waguespack says that home field isn’t much of a factor, though, when these teams square off.

“We’ve been there five times in the last two years,” said Waguespack. “You always concern yourself with having to travel, to play somewhere different, against someone you don’t know in the playoffs. It’s not a factor with these two teams.”

Curtis defeated host Riverside on April 9, 11-3, and seemed poised win the series over what was on that day a mistake prone Rebel team.

But a day later, Riverside swept a double header at Curtis, winning 5-2 and 2-1. In the latter game, Dylan Martin (6-3, 2.10 ERA) had a no-hitter intact into the final inning.

Waguespack says the split between the teams in recent games comes down to similarities between the squads.

“These teams are mirror images,” said Waguespack. “And the biggest thing we have in common is that both teams are tough, tough competitors. The Curtis kids won’t back down, ever. Neither do we. And when that happens, you get some real competitive games.”

Curtis could be out for a little payback as well. The Patriots won the season series against Riverside a year ago. But when the postseason came around, the teams matched up in the regional round.

And that round spelled the end of Curtis’ season, after Riverside pulled off a then-upset.

That Rebel team began to get hot at the end of the season, just as this one has. After beginning the year 4-15-1, Riverside is 10-3 in its last 13, and has averaged 13 runs a game over its last seven.

“Offensively, we’ve been going strong for awhile. If that keeps up, we’ll be just fine,” said Waguespack.

As for the opposition, Waguespack says that the key will be keeping the top three Curtis batters under control: Jordan Hanberry, Bryce Jenkins, and Gene Genevay.

“You can’t let one, two, and three beat you,” said Waguespack. “You make them hit with noone on base, and that means taking advantage when you get to the bottom of their order.”