Kinder bests Riverside in 2A semifinals
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
SULPHUR — A wild season fittingly ended with a wild game for Riverside Friday.
The Rebels playoff run came to an end in the Class 2A semifinals, No. 2 seeded Kinder besting No. 3 seed Riverside 8-5 at McMurry Park.
The Yellow Jackets advanced to the 2A championship game and defeated Catholic-New Iberia, 2-1, to cement the school’s first ever state championship victory.
Kinder scored five first inning runs in a 10-hit first inning, highlighted by RBIs by Bryce Baker, D.C. Arceneaux and Drew Richard.
But the Rebels responded to tie things up with five runs of their own in the second inning after Chase Wallace and Brandon Hymel got things started by drawing one-out walks. Kinder committed an error on a Jordan Loving ground ball, plating the Rebels’ first run. Jeremiah Berteau reached on a bunt single to load the bases, then Hymel scored on a wild pitch.
“Once they went up 5-0, we still knew we could come back,” said Riverside’s Mason Vicknair. “Our bats have been hot for awhile.”
Tyler Gauthier landed the big blow for Riverside, socking a two-run triple to make it 5-4. T.J. St. Pierre followed with a game-tying RBI single.
“I think nerves definitely got to us early,” Riverside coach Matt White said. “They come out and pile up seven hits and five runs and that could have been all she wrote. But these guys fight ‘till the end. When you spot a team a five-run lead like that, you’re not supposed to win. But they don’t have quit in ‘em.”
Kinder kept the slugfest going in the bottom of the second inning. Dylon Poncho and Baker hit back-to-back doubles to put the Yellow Jackets back on top, while a two-run single by Richard put Kinder up 8-5 in the bottom of the second inning.
That score held for the rest of the day, as Kinder starter Poncho and Riverside’s Sean Mohon settled down. Mohon came on in relief of Riverside starter Hymel in the first inning. He allowed three second inning runs but pitched a scoreless third, fourth and fifth. Jordan Loving pitched a scoreless sixth.
The teams combined for 19 hits over the first three innings of play.
Brandon Hymel started the game but was chased early by Kinder. Sean Mohon took the loss for the Rebels, allowing three runs over four innings.
Poncho, who is committed to LSU as an infielder, earned the win for Kinder. He pitched the complete game and stuck out seven while allowing nine hits.
“We knew all about Poncho. He goes out there, hits the mid to upper 80’s. He pitched a heck of a game,” White said.
Vicknair had pitched 21.1 of 22 possible postseason innings for Riverside prior to Friday’s game. The freshman right-hander didn’t get the call Friday, White said, because of short rest. Vicknair pitched 7.1 innings in the Rebels’ come-from-behind quarterfinal win over Runnels on Monday of last week.
“We can’t throw Mason out there with hardly any rest,” said White. “He’s a young freshman with a bright future and, on only a few days rest, it wasn’t something we wanted to do.”
Vicknair said that the loss doesn’t diminish a terrific season for his team.
“One of our goals was to win it all,” he said. “We fell short of that. But we came back from starting 3-9 to win 20 games and get here when everyone doubted us. We accomplished a lot.”
The Rebels finished the season 20-11, ending the year with its second state tournament appearance in the last three years. Kinder finished the season with a record of 28-7.
In the wake of the loss, White said that his Rebels will continue to grow. Riverside started just three seniors this season. The team’s young nucleus helped lead a late-season surge that saw the Rebels win 17 of its last 19 games.
“We start two eighth graders and a few freshman,” White said. “The future of this team is unbelievable.”
Like Vicknair, Delaneuville kept the loss in perspective as the senior reflected on his final game.
“Everyone wants to come here and win a championship,” he said. “It didn’t happen. (Kinder) deserves it. But to go from where we were early, the 29th ranked team, to the third seed, to get here after starting in a hole … not one of our guys folded. The young guys on this team fight like nobody else.
“I won’t say it’s one of the easiest losses to deal with, but I know we left everything we had on the field.”