Rebels advance to 2A State baseball tournament with win over Midland
Top seeded Riverside had a more difficult game than expected in Friday's first round matchup with Midland in the 2A Regional Baseball Tournament at Tuckerman. But the Rebels fought off the pesky Mustangs to record a hard earned 3-1 victory, propelling Riverside to the 2A State Tournament this week at Marked Tree.
Riverside (21-3) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kollin Stone cracked a one-out single, stole second and came around to score on Izzy Garcia's run scoring hit. A base knock by Matthew Fraser moved Garcia to third. Garcia scampered home on Luke Baker's RBI infield single to cap off the Rebel's first inning rally.
Riverside increased its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Dillon Turner singled and stole second before eventually scoring on an RBI groundout by Rebel first baseman Caden Barrett.
Midland scored its only run in the top of the sixth when Heath Fortson slugged an RBI single.
Stone (8-0) pitched the first six innings to earn the win. The senior right hander allowed one earned run on just two hits while striking out eight Mustangs. Stone walked three and hit two batters. Devon Austin worked the seventh inning to earn his third consecutive save. Austin allowed one hit and fanned three.
"This is a big win for us," said Rebel Coach Jeff Womack. "It's the one you want to win to punch the ticket to get to the state tournament. It's all gravy from here, but we obviously have bigger things in mind. We are going to have to start rattling the bats a bit if we are going to make a push in the state tournament. It was a well pitched game. Their pitcher, Fortson, really had us off balance, but I thought Kollin also pitched a great game. Devon came in and got his third straight save. Matthew Fraser made a couple of big throws and picked off a couple of their base runners. He's a nice asset to have behind the plate. He does a nice job for us."
Riverside's semifinal game with Tuckerman was rained out Saturday afternoon. The two teams met Monday for the right to face Walnut Ridge in the finals later that day. Coverage of both semifinal and finals action will appear in next week's Town Crier.
In softball action, top seeded Midland downed Riverside 11-1.