Rebels slide past John Curtis
Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 6, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
RESERVE — Riverside’s Tate Scioneaux and John Curtis’ Evan Heilman put on the very definition of a pitcher’s duel Tuesday, stepping up as the stakes were high: first place in District 10-2A.
As a scoreless tie climbed into the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the contest seemed destined for extra innings. But Riverside’s Wren Vicknair had other ideas, launching a single into right field to score Grady Gieger in the sixth inning for the eventual winning run in a 1-0 Rebel win.
“This was a heavyweight fight,” said Riverside coach Matt White. “It felt like a playoff atmosphere.”
The win was a critical one for the Rebels, who remain alone in first place in District 10-2A. But now they hold a two game lead on Curtis, as the Rebels now have two wins on the Patriots (15-8-1, 2-2). Riverside toppled Curtis, 4-1, on Mar. 22. The two teams will play again on Apr. 12 at Curtis.
There were just four combined hits in the game.
Scioneaux finished with a shutout, seven strikeouts and allowing two hits three walks.
“Going into the fourth inning at 0-0, everyone felt like this game would end 1-0,” said Scioneaux. “The way both defenses were playing, every play was made out there. It came down to who wanted it most.”
Heilman was equally sharp for most of the day, going 5.1 innings with six strikeouts and five walks.
“What a pitchers’ duel,” said White. “That Curtis team has been beating everyone over the last few weeks. We knew they’d have their good stuff today. To shut them out is pretty big.”
Each team (14-7, 4-0) missed potential opportunities to score; a baserunning error cost Riverside a potential run in the first inning, and both teams were taken out of potential scoring situations on double plays; one coming off of a popped up Curtis bunt, another on a hard lineout by RA.
But got things started in the sixth when C.J. Edler drew a walk to lead things off.
Gieger followed him and grounded out into a fielder’s choice, but reached second on a passed ball. Then Scioneaux came up with Riverside’s first hit of the day on a single up the middle.
That brought Patriots coach Johnny Curtis to call upon reliever Matt Grabert. Courtesy runner Darrion Cook stole second, setting up Vicknair to be the day’s hero. He lifted a Grabert pitch into right to bring home the game’s only run, as Gieger scored from third.
“We just had to get one through, and Paco (Vicknair) stepped up,” said White.
Said Vicknair, “I knew my team had complete confidence in me, and I just wanted to come through. We finally got one in. But it wouldn’t have mattered if Tate didn’t pitch like he did … he did a great job.”
Scioneaux struck out Hunter Speer to begin the seventh, but the Patriots didn’t go quietly. Spencer Lemoine doubled down the left field line, then Jordan Buomer walked.
Riverside looked to have the inning’s second out in hand on a foul ball pop up by Heilman, but Scioneaux — who was fielding the ball — had to avoid Heilman as he ran to first and could not come up with it.
But it wouldn’t matter. Scioneaux secured the strikeout, then got Jeremy Bordelon to fly out to end the game.
“Riverside and Curtis have a long history. We bring out the best in each other,” said Vicknair. “I’m just happy that we won today.”
And with that win, the Rebels are the clubhouse leaders in the race for the 10-2A crown.
“We haven’t won district in a long time,” said Scioneaux. “That’s why it feels so good to win today. We’ve given ourselves a chance to win it.”