Riverside knew going into the first round of the Raider Classic at Nettleton Thursday night they would have to play solid defense and get a good pitching performance to knock off the always-tough Trumann Wildcats.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, a costly two-out error kept the first inning alive and the very next batter, David Cooksey, belted Trumann's first home run of the year and the Wilcats had a 3-0 lead the Rebels could never overcome as Trumann defeated Riverside 7-3.
Chase Montgomery opened up the game with a leadoff single and two outs later stole second, bringing Brent Maurizi to the plate. The big first baseman lofted a lazy fly ball to centerfield where the normally sure-handed Jeremy Mann misplayed, allowing Montgomery to race home with the game's first run. That brought Cooksey to the plate and he jumped on a Matt Snyder change-up, lining it over the left field wall for a two-run homer, giving the Cats a quick 3-0 lead.
The Rebels answered with a run in their half of the first when left fielder Matt Owens drove in shortstop Michael Dewitt with a long sacrifice fly to pull the Rebels to within 3-1. But then Trumann starter Clint Trigg settled down to retire the next 10 batters in a row.
Trumann added a single run in the fourth inning and then put the game away with three runs in the sixth, capped off by a two-run triple off the bat of Ian Samuel. Riverside managed to push across two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Tyler Timms and a fielder's choice groundout by Owens, but it was too little too late, as Trigg finished off the Rebels, sending them to the loser's bracket.
"The error and home run in the first inning got us off to a good start," said Trumann coach Jim Montgomery. "We've been struggling lately with the bats. We haven't hit the ball at all, but tonight we hit the ball better and that's what we have to do. We've got good pitching and defense, we(ve just got to hit the baseball. Tonight we did and things turned out good for us."
"When we have Trigg or Maurizi on the mound, the other team isn't going to score a lot of runs if they have their stuff," continued Montgomery. "If we can hit the ball, we will be alright. I was proud of them tonight. Hopefully, that's a sign of good things to come," concluded the Wildcat coach, who saw his team improve their record to 3-3 on the year.
"Trigg is a very good pitcher and you can't spot them a three-run lead and expect to win," said Rebel coach Kevin Hall. "Giving them three unearned runs in the first inning really hurt us. We dropped a fly ball that would have ended the first inning by one of my best outfielders, and then the next kid hits a high change-up out of the park.
"We left far too many men on base and wasted several opportunities. We just couldn't come up with the clutch hits when we needed them. We are setting the table with Dewitt and Timms at the top of the order, but now we have to start getting production from the heart of our lineup. Hopefully, we will start to hit as the season goes on. Trumann played a great game and got key hits and got good pitching and defense. They are a good club."
Dewitt went 2-3 and scored two runs, while also drawing a walk, while Timms added two singles and an RBI to pace the Rebel offensive attack. Owens contributed two RBI's and first baseman Alex Smith, seeing his first action of the year, singled and scored a run to aid the Rebel cause.
Snyder (1-1) went the distance for the Rebels, giving up seven runs, three of which were unearned, and nine hits, while striking out seven Wildcats. .
The loss drops the Rebels to 1-2 on the young season.
Trumann was paced offensively by Cooksey, who had a single to go along with his two -run homer and also scored two runs. Montgomery had two hits and scored a run while Blake Wright had two singles with a run scored. Samuel, Derek Fletcher and Weston Moon all contributed hits for the Wildcats. Trigg went the distance, striking out nine batters to even his record at 1-1 on the year.
Trumann 300 103 0 7-9-0
Riverside 100 000 2 3-5-4
WP -- Trigg 1-1
LP -- Snyder 1-1
HR -- Cooksey, 1
Riverside vs. Westside
Riverside bounced back after their loss to Trumann by crushing the Westside Warriors, 11-3, behind the bats of Alex Smith and Jeremy Mann.
Smith blasted three doubles and drove in five runs while Mann had a single, double, and triple to drive in two more runs to lead a nine-hit attack as the Rebels broke out of an early season hitting slump.
Michael Dewitt came on in relief to pick up the victory, his first of the year, allowing just one hit and no earned runs over six innings.
Joining Smith and Mann in the hit parade was Dewitt, with a pair of singles, and Matt Snyder, who had a single and two RBI's, while Tyler Timms and Anthony Reece also laced singles for the Rebels, who evened their record at 2-2 on the year.