The Riverside Rebels opened the 2003 baseball season on March 7 against Westside Warriors with a 5-0 loss but came back the following week with two conference wins over Cross County 4-3 and Hughes 16-1.
The Rebels are coached by former Riverside standout and Arkansas State University player Kevin Hall. Hall said his Rebels are young with only one senior, pitcher/outfielder Shannon Timms.
The Rebels return five other starters from last year's conference championship team. Left-handed hitter, junior, Alex Smith returns at first base and is the only southpaw pitcher. Junior Matt Owens returns to play short-stop and provide pitching help on the mound. Left field is manned by junior Matt Snyder who also throws for the Rebels. Lead-off hitter junior Michael DeWitt returns to play centerfield and sophomore Kevin Winford is back behind the plate.
Other returning players from last year's team are pitcher/utility player Jeremy Mann and outfielder Josh Davis, both sophomores.
Newcomers include sophomore infielders/outfielders Daniel Winford and Zach Ridge, freshman second baseman Tyler Timms, freshman infielder Adam Joe Seger, and freshman outfielders M.J.Emery, Kris Kelton and Anthony Reece.
"I'm looking forward to a fun year even though we are very young," Rebel Coach Kevin Hall said.
Following the loss to Westside, Riverside lost a heartbreaker 7-6 at Walnut Ridge before picking up the two conference home victories.
Since then, the Rebels have struggled to find a winning formula, loosing a 12-11 squeaker to Armorel and then loosing two tough games in the Nettleton Invitational. The Rebel bats went silent as they lost 1-0 to Trumann, the eventual tournament champions, and 6-0 to Westside.
Last week's action proved futile, as the Rebels had games at Lake City with Valley View and Marmaduke called due to darkness and games against BIC and Bay washed out.
The Rebels resumed play Monday at Valley View and Tuesday at Caraway against BIC.
Youth and enthusiasm are the driving forces behind this year's version of the 2003 Riverside Lady Rebels softball team.
"We are looking forward to the season although "fast pitch" is still new to us," said Rebel Coach Nancy Ritter.
The Lady Rebels, who enter their second year of fast pitch, return seven players from last season's team. Only one is a senior, Amy Barrett.
The Lady Rebels boast five juniors including Amanda Dunigan, Christy Goodman, Jennifer Pollard, Carrier Schoolfield, and Miranda Stephens. Sophomores are Ashley Foster and Whitney Shasteen. Freshmen include Emilee Hook and Samantha Dunigan.
"We have seven players returned from last year," said Ritter. "We are hoping to get better with time. The transition from slow pitch to fast pitch is not automatic," added the first year Lady Rebel Coach.
Riverside fought bad weather in their first week, but will resume play Monday against Gosnell at Caraway.