Fun-loving Riverview on brink of finals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
So “those kind” of games are fun, huh?
The Riverview baseball players say they enjoy the occasional slugfest, where the end result often comes down to the last team batting, where runs score like coins falling from a slot machine.
The Raiders say, jackpot.
“Lots of fun,” said senior center fielder Jason Anthony, who hit a team-best .582 during the regular season. “Having fun out there is what it's all about. You just can't give up in games like that.”
And the Raiders (14-5) would know. Not only have they been on the wrong end of a wild finish — they could only watch as Springdale's Adam Lock hit a walk-off grand slam to beat them 11-10 earlier in the season. But they felt the same rush of emotion Springdale did in the second round of the playoffs when they were the ones walking off with an erratically-pleasing win.
Of course, this team isn't going to show too much emotion. The Raiders don't seem to take themselves too seriously.
“I don't know, maybe we should call these guys ‘The Wild Bunch' or something,” Riverview coach Rich Griser said after Wednesday's 12-10 victory over Union in the WPIAL quarterfinals. The 11th-seeded Raiders rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to down No. 14 Union, which erased an early 6-0 deficit.
“Union was a good-hitting team,” said Griser, who is in his 37th year overall and 14th at Riverview. He has led the team to the playoffs 11 times. “We got the ball up a lot, and they hit very well when the ball was up in the zone. We felt confident (in the seventh) with the top of our order coming up.”
Riverview will look to keep its bats warm when it plays No. 10 Carmichaels (13-2) in Monday night's WPIAL Class A semifinal at Washington & Jefferson College.
Carmichaels, which beat Springdale, 10-2, in the first round also knows how to keep the base paths moving. The Mikes clubbed defending champion and No. 2 seed Western Beaver, 17-8, in the quarterfinals. That game also was played at W&J.
Mikes senior shortstop Ty Cole is hitting .460 with 30 RBIs and eight doubles, and junior catcher Mike Blasinsky is batting .440 with 23 RBIs.
Carmichaels averages 9.1 runs, so big-inning baseball could be on tap again.
“I'm expecting another high-scoring game. Both teams seem like they can hit and put the ball in play,” Riverview senior catcher Jake Paradise said. “Those games are only fun if you win them. But they are the most exciting.”
W&J will be the future home field of Paradise, who has committed to play for the Presidents.
Riverview, which started 8-0 and overcame a midseason funk to take momentum into the playoffs, suddenly sits one win away from the WPIAL finals. It reached the Class AA semifinals in 2007. The Raiders made the Class A championship game in 2001, but they never have won a WPIAL baseball title. They won a PIAA championship in 1983.
The Raiders are strong on senior leadership, a common trait for contending teams. They have five senior captains: Nick DiBucci, Dom Conte, Zach Hanus, Paradise and Anthony.
“This is one of the best senior classes we've had at this school,” said junior designated hitter Tanner Bierly, who had the game-winning two-run double in the quarterfinals. “We want to win for them.”
Upstart No. 13 seed Sewickley Academy (9-5) and No. 1 California (18-0) will play in the other semifinal at 4:15 p.m. Monday at W&J.
Monday's game will be Riverview's third playoff game in seven days because of the WPIAL's schedule crunch, a product of this season's damp weather.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Environmental watchdog sues world’s largest steelmaker over Pennsylvania pollution
- Ligonier Township authority plans line flushing
- Rossi: Cole is simply not good enough for Pirates
- Mecca pilgrimage death toll at 1,399
- Penguins recall Maatta in time for season opener in Dallas
- New-look Steelers secondary is gaining some cohesion
- Coal industry seeks unusual partner in UN green climate fund
- Bishop Zubik visits Mooncrest Community Center
- Rostraver garbage collection vote delayed
- Photo Gallery: Cookie-decorating class at the Northland Public Library
- Peters Township’s Bruce captures WPIAL Class AAA golf title