What started out as a pitchers’ duel turned into a slugfest in the final two innings as the Riverside Rebels pulled out a last at-bat victory over the Newman Greenies 4-3 Thursday at Avenger Field at the Fly.
“Our kids faced adversity all year long,” said Riverside coach Frank Cazeaux. “We make a stupid mistake; we shoot ourselves in the foot. But they hung in there, and that’s what I tell them: ‘Hang in there and good things will happen.’ ”
Riverside improved to 8-9 while Newman fell to 8-5.
Riverside entered the bottom of the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead. However, three consecutive one-out singles — the third by Story Charbonnet — tied the game for the Greenies.
Cass Lapeyre followed with a sacrifice fly to put Newman on top 3-2. There was some dispute over the tie-breaking run, and the Rebels unsuccessfully appealed that the runner left third base before the ball was caught.
“I didn’t see (the runner) leave the base,” Cazeaux said. “But I heard someone yell and thought I might as well try it.”
Riverside’s Tyler Gauthier led off the seventh inning with a bunt single. Then starting pitcher Mason Vicknair helped himself with an RBI triple to deep center field to tie the score at 3.
“We only had three outs left,” Vicknair said. “I just came up with a big hit to tie it.”
Vicknair caught a break early in the at-bat. He hit a foul ball that right fielder Jack Miller could not secure and allowed the at-bat to continue.
“It gave me another chance, and I made them pay,” he said.
The next batter, Jordan Loving, hit a fly ball to the middle of right field for a sacrifice fly to score Vicknair and give Riverside the lead back.
“I was looking for anything that could score Mason,” Loving said. “I got a pitch and lifted it to right, and Mason tagged and scored.”
Vicknair retired the Greenies in order, striking out two of the batters, to secure the win for the Rebels.
“That’s high school baseball,” Cazeaux said. “You get the lead, you lose it, you get it back. And today we were fortunate enough to hold onto it, and the ball went our way.