MUSCODA - The Riverdale varsity baseball team dropped their season opener on Friday night to Wisconsin Heights by the score of 8-7.
The Vanguards have a very experienced team with eight starters back from last year’s sectional team and a line-up of very good hitters.
“Heights has a very nice team, with very good quickness and some very fine hitters,” said Chieftain coach Curt Thompson. “I thought overall we played decently for our first time out, and we will improve greatly as the season progresses.”
To open the 2016 season, the first two Chieftains were retired, but three straight walks would load the bases. Unfortunately, the Chieftains would not score.
In the bottom of the inning freshmen Michael Schaefer took to the hill in his first varsity start. The first two Vanguard hitters would reach base on a hit batsman and a walk. Michael would then strike out the next hitter. However a base hit to right would plate a run.
Trying to limit the damage, Schaefer would strike out the next hitter. Then with two outs, he would attempt to strikeout the next hitter, but on the play the ball got away from Riverdale and they would see two runs come in.
“Bad break there, but things happen,” Thompson said. “I would be surprised to see that happen again this season.”
Michael would escape further damage by striking out the next Vanguard hitter.
Riverdale bounced right back in the top of the second. Designated hitter Drake Harris led off with a walk. One out later, Bradon Roen would single. Trevor Troxel then delivered a run batted it on a single down the left field line.
After a fielder’s choice ground out, Elijah Cannon walked to load the bases. Trevor Johnson then stepped to the plate and launched a long double to left center, clearing the bases to give the Chieftains a 4-3 lead.
“Trevor is an excellent hitter and came through big in that situation,” Thompson said.
Riverdale continued to threaten as Caleb Johnson and Casey Ekleberry would both be hit by pitches to reload the bases, but the Chieftains would not score.
In the bottom of the second, Riverdale set down Wisconsin Heights 1-2-3. In the third the Chieftains extended their lead. With one out, Bradon would be hit by a pitch and steal second. After Trevor T. reached on a fielder’s choice, Ethan Haffner walked, and Elijah singled to load the bases. Trevor J. stepped to the plate and again cleared the bases with a line drive double to left center.
“Two huge hits by Trevor J. and we were looking good at that point,” Thompson said.
With a 7-3 lead, Riverdale headed to the bottom of the third. The Vanguards would bounce right back picking up a pair of runs to make it 7-5.
Neither team would score in the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, Riverdale would again load the bases, but not be able to score. That would make for the third time in the game that they would leave the bases loaded. That came back to haunt them against the hard-hitting Vanguard roster. Elijah Cannon would come on in the fifth and shut down the Vanguards.
In the sixth the Chieftains would not threaten. The Vanguards rallied, as they scored three times on four hits to take an 8-7 lead.
Riverdale got a runner on in the seventh on a Trevor Troxel single but would not be able to score and lost the opener 8-7.
“Again, not a bad game,” Thompson said. “They have a very nice team, played well, and did not make any mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes, but will learn from them and get better. I thought we learned a lot out there tonight as we had a number of players making their first varsity appearance and many others in different positions from last year. This is going to be a very exciting season for us once everyone gets settled in!”
Box Score: AB-R-HITS-RBI: Troxel 5-2-3-1; Haffner 2-2-0-0; Cannon 1-2-1-0; T. Johnson 3-0-2-6; C. Johnson 2-0-0-0; Ekleberry 2-0-0-0; Harris 2-1-0-0; Sperry 1-0-0-0; Hougan 4-0-0-0; Roen 3-0-1-0; Haile 0-0-0-0; Luck 0-0-0-0 Schaefer; 0-0-0-0; and Fox 0-0-0-0
Pitching: IP-HITS-RUNS-ER-BB-K: Schaefer 4-4-5-3-2-6; and Cannon 2-4-3-3-0-2