Shawn Mathews' sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning produced the game's only run as Riverside came away with a nail-biting 1-0 shutout over Bay, completing a two game season series sweep of the Yellowjackets and catapulting the Rebels into first place in the 3AA South Conference last Thursday at Bay.
In a game dominated by both starting pitchers, Jeremy Mann of Riverside and Bart Hogan of Bay, the Rebels scratched out the winning run when catcher Tyler Timms drew Hogan's only base on balls of the game with one out. Timms proceeded to steal second base and then advanced to third on a wild pitch, forcing the Yellowjacket infield to play in. Riverside's Anthony Reece then hit a sharp grounder to Bay second baseman Seth Southard, who threw home as Timms was caught in a run down between third base and home plate. The speedy junior eluded several attempts by the Jackets to get him out and Timms finally dove head first back into third base safely, while Reece advanced to second on the play.
That set the stage for Mathews' heroics, as the Rebels rode the right arm of Jeremy Mann, who threw a four hit complete shutout. Mann struck out three and walked four in seven innings of work. Bay's Hogan was almost as good, striking out four while allowing just two hits and walking the one batter. Unfortunately for Hogan, the one walk led to the game's only run and the Riverside victory.
"It was a good defensive ball game," said Bay Coach Brandon Craig. "We just couldn't come up with a big hit when we needed one. Defensively we did everything good except when we botched up the run down that led to Riverside's only run. Bart (Hogan) pitched a great game. But unfortunately the walk he gave up came back to haunt us. We should have done a better job on the run down. That should have been an out. Another big play came in the third inning when we had runners at first and second and only one out. We tried to get a bunt down and pop it up and our runner at first was in no man's land and got doubled off to kill our rally. This was a tough one to lose. But Riverside played a great game," concluded Craig, who saw his team fall to 6-5 overall and 6-2 in league play.
Neither team had many opportunities to score with Bay's best threat coming in the third inning when Tyler C. Griffin led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Lead off batter Southard then drew another walk from Mann, putting runners at first and second. Garrett Bollinger was called on to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but popped up to Mann who doubled off Southard at first, leaving the Jackets with two outs and a runner at second. Kellen Gage then grounded sharply to first to end the inning, as Mann pitched out of the two-on, no-out jam.
Bay threatened once more in the bottom of the fifth inning when Bollinger ripped a two out triple in the left centerfield gap. However, Gage again grounded to first to end the threat. Mann then settled down and retired the Yellowjackets in order in the final two innings to pick up the victory.
Bay was led at the plate by Bollinger who went 2-3 while Beau Hogan and Gage both singled for the Yellowjackets. Riverside managed only two hits, one a swinging bunt from Glen Graham while Garrett Weaver lined the Rebels only solid hit to right field in the sixth inning.
With the win, the Rebels improved to 9-7 overall and 6-1 in league play.