The Riverside Rebels opened up a busy week of baseball by sweeping a doubleheader Monday night at Caraway. The Rebels first disposed of Hughes in a 17-2 five-inning blowout to gain their first conference win of the season and then avenged an early season loss to Rector with a come from behind 5-4 non-conference win.
In the opening game, Hughes ( 1-1) scored in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead before the Rebels came back in their half, scoring six times to go ahead 6-1 after one inning of play. The Rebels kept pouring it on, scoring two more in the second, five in the third and four in the fourth to blow the game open.
Matt Snyder went 3-3 with four RBI's while Jeremy Mann socked a three-run homer while going 2-4 and driving in five runs. Alex Smith contributed two hits and an RBI while Matt Owens also had two hits and two runs batted in. Owens went the distance to pick up the victory. In the nightcap, the Rebels came from behind to defeat Rector, scoring all five of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Kevin Winford started the inning with a base hit, and Anthony Reece followed with another single before Caleb McCluskey attempted a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed, loading the bases with no outs. Michael Dewitt then drove in the Rebels first run with a sacrifice fly before center fielder Tyler Timms made the score 4-3 with a two-run triple. Timms then scored on an RBI ground out by winning pitcher Matt Owens.
First baseman Alex Smith then laced a two-out double before Matt Snyder drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with an RBI single.
Dewitt and Smith led the Rebel offensive attack with two hits apiece.
On Tuesday, the Rebels traveled to Westside and hammered out a 17-6 victory behind the bat of Tyler Timms, who went 3-5 at the plate including a two-run homer over the 345-foot marker into the wind in dead center field.
The Rebels scored early and often, building a 10-2 lead, and put the game away with a seven-run seventh before Westside scored four meaningless runs in the bottom half of the inning to set the final score.
The Rebels, who pounded out 19 hits, were led at the plate by Timms, who drove in a game high four runs, along with Alex Smith, Matt Owens, and Jeremy Mann. Smith went 3-5 including a two-run homer in the seventh, while Owens went a perfect 4-4 with three RBI's. Mann went 3-4 and drove in two runs. Kevin Winford blasted a solo homer in the sixth inning, while Anthony Reece lashed a two-run single in the seventh in the Rebel offensive barrage.
Michael Dewitt went the distance to pick up the victory.
On Thursday, the Rebels traveled to Walnut Ridge to take on a tough Bobcat team and dug themselves an early hole, trailing 9-2 after three innings. The Rebels hurt themselves by committing eight errors in the early going on their way to a 10-error night.
But Riverside did not give up and used a seven-run seventh inning to tie the score 12-12 to send the game into extra innings. The seventh inning rally included a triple by Jeremy Mann and a Tyler Timms two-run single that brought the Rebels to within one run. Michael Dewitt, who had advanced to third base on Timms hit, then scored the tying run on a passed ball.
The teams then battled through four scoreless innings before Walnut Ridge finally pushed across the winning run on a wild pitch by Rebel reliever Matt Snyder in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Bobcats a thrilling 13-12 marathon victory.
Dewitt led the Rebels with a 3-4 performance at the plate, which included two doubles and three runs scored. Kevin Winford went 2-4 and Matt Owens also had two hits to aid the Rebel cause.
Kai Rorex led Walnut Ridge with four base hits and Jeremy Hart picked up the win in relief by throwing 3 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout ball, striking out five Rebels.
Snyder took the loss for Riverside, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings of work. On Saturday, Riverside pulled out a come from behind 6-4 win behind the hitting and pitching of junior Jeremy Mann. Mann blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning to put the Rebels ahead 4-3.
After Manila tied the score 4-4 on an RBI single by Josh McDaniel, the Rebels took the lead for good in the sixth when Matt Snyder laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Alex Smith from third base. Mann then drew a two-out walk, reached second on a passed ball, and rode home on a base hit off the bat of Kevin Winford to make the score 6-4. From then on, Mann silenced the Manila bats to preserve the victory.
Mann, who went 2-2 at the plate with four RBI's, earned the victory by pitching seven innings while striking out seven Manila batters. Besides Mann, the Rebels were led at the plate by Alex Smith, who had two doubles.
Asked about his big three-run home run, Mann said, "I just stayed back and waited on it. I've been praying about it all year and God has been helping me all year. That's all it is. I was bending my back and hitting my spots on the mound. The wind really helped my curve ball today. A couple of our seniors (Smith and Snyder) came through in the clutch play. That's what happens when you have seniors out there," concluded Mann.
Riverside will play host to conference foe Marked Tree at Caraway on Monday in a double header. The Rebels will then take to the road at Cherry Valley against Cross County on Tuesday and Hughes on Thursday for two more conference games, before hosting Westside on Friday at Caraway. Riverside will take on Rivercrest on Saturday in the season opener at Lake City, a doubleheader scheduled for a noon starting time.