Riverview Rams Baseball takes home-and-home against Charlotte, drops to IMG Black, beats Manatee
Ian Dempsey ‘21
While many athletes were resting up during spring break, the Rams baseball squad took the field twice against Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday, which was St. Patrick’s Day. The luck o’ the Irish must have been present with Riverview as they beat Charlotte two straight games by final scores of 5-2 and 9-0. Highlighted by a no-hitter on St. Patrick’s Day from senior pitcher Karson Ligon, the recipe for success was dominant pitching. Ligon went seven scoreless innings, striking out 12 batters and walking only two of them.
On the night before, senior utility Kyle Upman had a stellar outing himself, going five and two-thirds innings with 11 punchouts and three walks surrendered. Despite giving up two homers, Upman did not let this faze him as he threw over 100 pitches and received a well-deserved rest the next game on St. Patrick’s Day. This brings the Rams’ overall record to 9-3 on the year as they head into Week 6 with away games against IMG Black and Manatee.
Facing off against IMG Black on Thursday night and Manatee the next night on Friday, it was a quick turnaround for the Rams after the conclusion of spring break. Riverview was riding a three-game winning streak, with the doubleheader defeat over Charlotte and win over Palmetto the week before. However, the second half of the season is here as head coach Jeremy Schmidt commented at Monday’s practice that “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We start 0-0 on Thursday.” He also hopes the Rams can build off the first half and do even better.
Unfortunately, the Rams were unable to keep the three-game winning streak alive as they dropped the first game of the second half to IMG Black by a final score of 8-3. Ligon got the start once again as he lasted four and two-thirds innings but gave up four earned runs. Junior infielder Clay Russin and senior outfielder Ian Dempsey provided the offense for Riverview, with Russin driving in two runs and Dempsey driving in the other run.
The Hurricanes now were ready to take on the Rams after their surprising walk-off upset over the Sarasota Sailors earlier in the week. Yet, despite the hurricane warning from the outfield, Riverview did not crumble under pressure as they shut out Manatee once again, this time 3-0. Pip Smalley, normally an infielder, got the start on the mound after recovering from a fever the day before and was absolutely lights out. The junior struck out 10 batters, while only giving up one hit. Unfortunately, that hit came in the last inning and broke up his perfect game as this was the only baserunner the Hurricanes had all evening. With regards to the sticks, senior outfielder Carter Knight had a double and run batted in, driving in Russin. Dempsey also drove
in another run, that being senior outfielder Clemente Febus, with a single while junior infielder Sean Sugg laid down a squeeze bunt to bring home senior utility Kyle Upman.
Now possessing a 10-4 record, the Rams are flying high into the ginormous tournament they will be playing in at IMG Academy. Their first game was against Academy at the Lakes (Land O’ Lakes) on Monday, March 29 at 4 p.m. This matchup will determine where Riverview falls, either the winners' bracket or losers' bracket.