"We put a couple of bunt plays on - it's stuff we work on every day," Casto said. "It's just one of those things where we didn't execute when we needed to."
After Trevor Rumberg struck out, Hawkins chose to insert freshman Holden McMichen as a pinch-hitter and the youngster rewarded his coach with what was originally a two-run double to the left-center gap. McMichen was called out at first on an appeal, erasing the hit and resulting in the second out of the inning, but the runs counted and the damage was done.
Tyler Hall added a solo home run in the fifth to account for all the scoring.
Riverside (11-15) would've likely scored several more if not for numerous base-running blunders that included one runner getting picked off at first, McMichen's missing of first base, and 6-2-5 and 1-5-4-1 tagouts.
"It's something we've got to get fixed because you can't depend on your pitcher to go out there and perform like that every time," Hawkins said.
"There in the last inning, he ended up loading them up and one of the first things I thought was, 'It would've been nice if we could've pushed two or three across when we had them in position.'"
Despite not playing a flawless game on Friday and falling well short of its goal of 20 regular-season wins, Riverside does find itself in perfect position to capture its second straight section title.
"We don't care how we win, we don't care how we got here, just as long as we get it done," Hawkins said. "That was the kids' perspective coming in. I was preaching to them, they were preaching to each other, and they were telling the coaches, 'We haven't played our best ball yet and when sectional play starts, we're going to be ready.' Really, the last three or four games of the season and against Capital yesterday our plate approaches are better, the defense has been better and our pitching has been superb."
Wilkinson, Hall and Rumberg each had a pair of hits for Riverside, with Rumberg adding a triple.
Cody Pittenger had the lone multi-hit effort for the Vikings (10-22), going 2 for 3.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.