NEPA Sports Nation

Big Day for Riverside baseball

PHOTO: Riverside’s Michael Rickert, shown on his way to scoring a run in the district championship game, scored the only run in Thursday’s state quarterfinal victory. (Zachary Allen Photo)

Zach Day struck out 10 in a four-hit shutout and Thomas Day drove in Michael Rickert with the game’s only run in the top of the seventh inning Thursday when Riverside edged McConnellsburg, 1-0, in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A baseball state quarterfinal at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg.

Riverside advances to the state semifinals for the third time – and the first since 2000 – where it will play Schuylkill Haven at the Mountain Post American Legion field Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The Vikings have shown a tendency to get involved in close games while going 6-4 all-time in their five state tournament appearances.

Monday’s 7-1, first-round victory over Sayre was the first state tournament game decided by more than three runs for Riverside, which is 4-2 in school history in one-run state playoff games.

Riverside, the No. 1 Small School in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams, improved the district’s only perfect record to 23-0 with the win.

The Vikings outhit the District 5 champions, 6-5, but did not draw any walks, had a base stealer thrown out and lined into two inning-ending double plays.

Zach Day gave up two of his hits and two of his three walks in the first inning, but Jason Janesko threw out leadoff hitter Zander Sipes trying to steal and McConnellsburg left the bases loaded.

The first-inning escape started a stretch in which Zach Day retired 11 straight batters and 19 of the final 22 in the game. He only let one of those runners get to second base and that was with two out.

Rickert beat out an infield single to start the seventh, the fifth time in the last six innings that Riverside got the leadoff runner on.

This time, the Vikings got him in.

Rickert went to second on a Zach Day single, took third on an error and made it safely into home when McConnellsburg tried to throw him out on Thomas Day’s RBI fielder’s choice.

Zach Day finished up with the last 11 of his 98 pitches. He allowed a one-out single, but struck out two of the final three batters he faced to finish off the shutout.

Walter Funk went the distance for McConnellsburg. He struck out four.

Zach Day and Trevor Balcerzak each finished with two hits for Riverside.

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