Rector stuns Rebels 9-7 in district semifinals

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Riverside's Izzy Garcia tags out Rector's Danny Hager during semifinal action of the 2A-3 district tournament Thursday afternoon at Marked Tree. The Cougars upset the Rebels 9-7 and went on to take the championship with a 5-3 victory over East Poinsett County.

Rector came off the mat, scoring seven unanswered runs including five in the sixth inning, and shocked Riverside 9-7 in the semifinals of the 2A-3 district baseball tournament Thursday afternoon at Marked Tree.

Rector took a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring an unearned run, but the Rebels benefited from a Cougar error in the second to tie the game 1-1. Riverside put a two-spot on the board in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Izzy Garcia walked and advanced to second on Gavin Stone's base hit. Both runners moved up on a throwing error, and later came in to score on Larry Tilley's single to left field.

Rector picked up a run in the fourth, but the Rebels put four runs up in the bottom of the inning to take what looked to be a comfortable 7-2 advantage. A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Riverside, bringing Stone to the plate. The junior hit a grounder that was fielded by Rector third baseman Garrett Buck. Buck attempted to get a force out at second, but threw the ball wildly into right field as all three base runners scampered home, with Stone moving to third. Stone then proceeded to catch the Cougar defense asleep, and stole home plate, giving Riverside a five-run lead.

Rector scratched out two runs in the fifth to slice the Rebel advantage to 7-4 before putting together their game winning rally in the sixth. Buck started Rector's big inning with a leadoff double. After Lawson Ford walked, Kade Scott delivered an RBI single, making the score 7-5. Danny Hager batted in another run with a hard single to left, cutting the Rebel lead to 7-6. Stone then uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Scott from third, tying the game. Riverside Coach Ben Hoggard brought in Charlie McClure to relieve Stone, but McClure also unleashed a wild pitch, and suddenly the Cougars had an 8-7 lead. Buck closed out the Rector scoring with his second hit of the inning, an RBI single.

Sam Westbrook, who had three hits on the day, pitched the first four innings, allowing just three hits. Hager came on in relief to get the win, throwing three scoreless innings. Stone was the losing pitcher for the Rebels.

The loss to the Cougars was Riverside's first to a conference opponent all season. The Rebels will enter the 2A regional tournament play as a number three seed.

The Rebels closed the regular season, pounding Pangburn 15-1 Tuesday afternoon at Lake City. Matthew Fraser, Dillon Turner, Chandler Tate and McClure all had two hits apiece for Riverside. Stone, Tilley, Luke Baker and Cannon Smith each had base hits. Stone finished the day with four RBI, including a grand slam homer. Tilley, Turner and Tate all drove in two runs apiece, with Tilley and McClure both rapping triples. McClure pitched five innings to get the win, allowing just two hits while striking out eight.

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