Riverside entered Monday afternoon's Region 4 Tournament at Monette as an unexpected participant, having won only four games all season long. But entering the sixth inning, the Rebels found themselves in a scoreless tie against Walnut Ridge with a chance to knock off the top seeded Bobcats from the 3AA North.
Riverside sophomore Garrett Weaver breezed through the first five innings, shutting Walnut Ridge down on only three hits, but ran into trouble in what turned out to be the decisive sixth inning. Weaver began the sixth by striking out Bobcat cleanup hitter Ben Engelken, but the ball glanced off catcher Beau Hogan's glove, allowing Engelken to reach first base safely. Zach Stuart drew a walk, pushing the runners to first and second to bring up Chris Logan. Logan laid a bunt down the third base line in an attempt to sacrifice the runners over. Weaver looked to third and then took a quick glance at second before deciding to throw to first, but Logan outran the ball to load the bases.
Jacob Blackwell then provided the biggest blow of the game by ripping a two-run double over right fielder Casey Hook's head to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead. Burnside drove in the third run of the inning, lacing a clean single to left field and knocking Weaver out of the game.
Senior righthander Tyler Timms came on in relief and struck out William Wilcoxsen for the inning's first out. Lead off hitter Ryan Weir surprised the Rebels with a squeeze bunt, scoring Logan from third and giving the Bobcats 4-0 lead. Timms got out of the inning without any further damage, but the Rebels were unable to mount any threat in the top of the seventh, ending Riverside's season.
Tyler Kennedy shut the Rebels down, allowing only three hits, all singles. The Rebels got their first hit in the third inning on a Cody Richardson single to left field. Glen Graham blooped a single over the second baseman's head in the Rebel fourth and Riverside got their last hit in the sixth on a single up the middle by catcher Beau Hogan. Unfortunately for the Rebels, that was all the offense Riverside could muster.
"I am real proud of the kids," said Riverside Coach Kevin Hall. "We really played well at the end of the season. We just ran into a good ball club today. Garrett (Weaver) pitched an outstanding game, we just made a couple of mental mistakes. I am very proud of my seniors, Cory Snyder and Tyler Timms. Tyler had to play a lot of different positions for me in the course of his career. He has a great attitude. I am going to miss both of them."