Riverdale ebbs on defence

But big three-peat wheels keep on turning in 20–10 win

A trip to Stan Wadlow Park on June 1 would’ve seen a football score instead of a baseball tally.

Two-time Tier 2 champions Riverdale started their 2011 playoff run in the quarterfinals against Marc Garneau with a season-high cache of runs, downing the eighth seed 20-10.

But the game was not without its flaws, as Riverdale coach Ryan Wakelin explained it was a tale of two stories.

Though the Raiders bats were solid, there was a hush over the defence.

“I think it was our best hitting game of the year. We haven’t scored anything close to 20 runs on good hits,” Wakelin said. “From a defensive standpoint, which is usually one of our strengths, it was by far one of our worst games.”

It was evident on the game’s first run, as Marc Garneau picked up the early 1-0 lead as Homja Khota trotted across home plate when catcher A.J. Takarabe dropped strike three.

Cougars pitcher Peter Wen carried his one-run lead into the bottom of the second where Riverdale erupted with a lengthy two-out rally.

Marc Garneau was plagued by errors as Riverdale’s A.J. Takarabe got on base due to a dropped third strike. Skylar Kaneko would smack a shot to right field scoring Adam Sebesta. Scott Miller followed that with a two-run double.

Max White kept the rally alive with another double.

When the dust settled on the second inning, Riverdale had gained that one run back, plus 10.

With no mercy rule in the playoffs, all Marc Garneau could do was soldier on in the face of an 11-1 deficit, Khota said.

“We could have done better as a team defensively, but I think we hit the ball better than we have all season and overall we played well to end the season,” he said.

The Cougars would answer back with Wen getting on base due to an error, eventually scoring, and Khota would cross the dish again, getting his squad back within eight.

Riverdale would mark two more in the bottom of the third, leading to Wen’s removal from the mound in favour of Khota.

The Raiders had their own pitching change in the top of the fourth. Michael Bowen replaced starter Marcel Morin, who allowed no earned runs, had eight strikeouts and one walk through three innings.

After shutting out the side, Riverdale scored seven more runs in the bottom of the fourth.

With the game at hand, Wakelin admitted his charges eased up resulting in a walk-filled top of the fifth for Marc Garneau.

“When you look forward to the next game … you don’t want to see them let down,” he said. “You want to see that intensity through-and-through.

“And you owe it to the other team to not let down.”

Bowen would walk four before being replaced by grade 9 hurler Max White. At the end of the inning, the Cougars scored seven runs, with only one being earned off of Wen’s single to centrefield. Khota would cross the dish a third time.

Riverdale left-fielder Miller, who had four RBIs in the contest, was not too worried when the base-on-balls piled up as Riverdale had an ace up their sleeve.

“We knew we had Adam on first base, our best pitcher, we wouldn’t have any problems,” he said.

Next on tap for Riverdale is the Tier 2 final, as they ousted Rosedale Heights June 2, 7-4. In the final with them will be a strong Monarch Park Lions roster.

A team rife with seniors, Wakelin wants to see his Raiders give it their all.

“This year we come in with a team that’s three-quarters senior so they come with a little more expectation that it’s win or bust,” he said.


About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Jun 16 2011 1:37 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto
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