Mission Accomplished: The Riverside Rebels will play in this week's regional tournament at Monette, but it wasn't as easy a path as most would have figured.
Riverside opened district tournament play against Hughes, a team they had manhandled twice earlier in the season and expected to advance easily to the semifinals. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Hughes about the Rebels' plan.
After scoring three first inning runs on a pair of two out singles from Matt Snyder and Kevin Winford, it looked as though Riverside was well on its way to another blowout win over Hughes. But the Blue Devils fought back and kept the game close throughout, before Riverside finally put Hughes away, winning 9-7.
Riverside (12-13) was led at the plate by Snyder and Winford, who also added RBI hits in a four-run third inning that broke a 3-3 tie, giving the Rebels a 7-3 lead that they would never relinquish. Both Snyder and Winford went 2-3 with three RBIs each, while Tyler Timms added three more hits and Alex Smith added two RBIs to pace the Rebel offensive attack.
Michael Dewitt earned the victory in relief for Riverside. Dewitt came on in the second inning in relief of emergency starter Jeremy Mann who was forced into action when the four Rebel senior starters were late arriving to the game because of a school field trip. Dewitt pitched four innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked three. Matt Snyder came on in the sixth and pitched the final two frames to notch the save, despite surrendering three Blue Devil runs.
Cory Scarbrough led Hughes with three hits. Scarbrough had one RBI and scored two runs.
In the semifinals, the Rebels never got untracked as Bay's Davey Webb baffled and silenced the Riverside bats in a 10-0 six-inning rout.
Riverside (12-14) was held to two hits, both off the bat of left fielder Matt Snyder, who had a double and a single. Matt Owens took the pitching loss, allowing 10 runs, nine of which were unearned. Owens surrendered 11 hits while striking out two and walking five. The Rebels also committed several errors, leading to most of the Bay scoring.
Riverside will try to extend their season as they open regional tournament play Monday at noon in Monette as the number four seed from the 3AA South. The Rebels will meet the top seeded team from the 3AA North, the Walnut Ridge Bobcats. The two teams have met twice previously, with Walnut Ridge coming out on top 13-12 in extra innings at Walnut Ridge and then winning 6-2 at Lake City.