SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Since DuPont and East Bank high schools consolidated to create Riverside in 1999, the Warriors have not made an appearance in the state baseball tournament.
After Tuesday's 4-1 win in eight innings at South Charleston in the Class AAA Region 3 semifinals, just one win stands in the way of ending that streak.
The Warriors (13-15) survived a pitching duel and plated three runs in the top of the eighth before senior Tyler Hall set the Black Eagles (16-14) down in order in the bottom half to clinch a spot in the Region 3 championship at 5 tonight against Woodrow Wilson in Beckley.
Hall pitched all eight innings and struck out seven in the win. He said he noticed in Riverside's regular-season game against South Charleston that the Black Eagles could be fooled by changing speeds. The change-up accounted for several of Hall's seven strikeouts.
"I noticed [in the previous game] I buckled down on their first four and struggled with the bottom half of the lineup," Hall said. "I noticed that if you mix speeds and throw all your pitches, they'll either hit it into the ground or strike out."
South Charleston didn't get its first hit until a fourth-inning double by Antonio Brown (who later scored SC's only run on an Austin Santrock single) and grounded out eight times against Riverside's ace. SC starter Jerod Jobst also pitched well, lasting the entire game and allowing one run on three hits prior to Riverside pulling ahead in the eighth.
"Both pitchers did a pretty good job both ways," Black Eagles coach Ken Samms said. "We knew how good [Hall] was. I've got one just as good."
Riverside took the first lead of the game in the third. Cameron Norris started the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Derik Chestnut moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt before Brandon Hancock drove him in on a groundout.