For the first time since 2015, the Riverside Panthers allowed a run in the WPIAL playoffs and had to claw its way back to clinch a spot in the 3A Championship game against a Brownsville Falcons squad that gave them all they can handle in a 5-4 victory.
Brownsville showed no signs of fear against a Riverside pitching staff that boasted a 0.86 ERA throughout the season, bringing eight batters to the plate in the top of the first, to take an early 4-0 lead. The Falcons loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit by pitch by the first three batters of the game, before a force out at the plate reloaded the bases with one out.
Catcher DJ Zimcosky opened the scoring with an RBI single, center fielder Josh Davison added a hit by pitch RBI and designated hitter Rocco Friscoe hit a sacrifice fly. The fourth run of the inning scored on a wild pitch.
Riverside added a run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Dylan Speicher, cutting the lead to 4-1.
The Panthers ultimately tied the game in the fourth, batting around the order.
Starting pitcher Gunner Boehm aided his cause with an RBI single. The second run scored on an air mail attempt to get the out at home plate, and first baseman Danny Fox added and RBI double. The Panthers were aided by two Falcons errors in the inning.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth when the Panthers broke the 4-4 tie. After a fantastic diving play by Falcons second baseman Colton Dellarose to record the first out, Panthers second baseman Ricky Wass singled and was sacrificed to second. Speicher then ripped a two-out RBI double to put the Panthers ahead in 5-4.
Riverside went to reliever Ty Thellman in the seventh who recorded two quick outs. A conference before the third batter of the inning seemed to rattle Thellman’s momentum some when Falcons third baseman Tyler Herman singled on the first pitch he saw and Dellarose followed with a bloop infield single to out runners on first and second.
However, left fielder Jaryn Addis never had a chance from the three-spot of the order to drive in the potential tying or winning runs as Dellarose was thrown out on a snap throw down to first by Boehm, who caught the seventh inning.
Boehm picked up the win allowing four runs, all earned, four hits, six strikeouts and two walks in six innings.
Falcons starter Mason Kelly pitches 2.2 innings and allowed four runs, two earned, four hits, five walks and two strikeouts. However, it was reliever Davison who was awarded the loss after allowing one run, earned, three hits and striking out two over 3.1 innings.
Riverside prepares to face #3 Mt. Pleasant at Wild Things Park next week for the 3A Championship.
Mount Pleasant Vikings 2 – Ellwood City Wolverines 1
Mount Pleasant hurler Brandon McCormick earned the win in a complete-game effort, as he surrendered just two hits and walked none to lead the Vikings to a highly-contested 2-1 victory over Ellwood City Wednesday.
On the other side, Noah Rinker was equally impressive on the hill, as he gave up just six hits, and allowed two unearned runs.
The Wolverines collected their only hits and run in the top of the fourth. Max Keally and Pitrelli opened the frame with consecutive singles, and after a sacrifice bunt, Tyler Good’s groundout plated Keally.
The Wolverines have a chance to clinch a spot in the PIAA playoffs when it faces Brownsville in the third-place consolation game at Washington & Jefferson College.