EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Riverside baseball refuses to be denied. The Rangers punching their ticket to the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) of the Texas high school baseball playoffs with a walk-off win over Lubbock Estacado, 5-4, on Saturday afternoon in Fort Stockton.
In a decisive Game 3, Orlando Samaniego produced the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning, an RBI single, to lift the Rangers over Estacado in a back-and-forth affair.
“It was an exhausting and hard fought day — I’ll tell you that. Our guys just found a way, especially late in Game 3,” said Riverside head coach Rick Solis. “Our catcher [Ethan Munoz], who was working on his third game behind the plate, he gets a two RBI single to tie it and I think that woke everyone up. It gave us that extra energy that we needed.”
Riverside will be making its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2000 when the Rangers marched their way to the Final Four. They will play Stephenville in next week’s Regional Semifinals with a trip to the Regional Finals (Elite 8) up for grabs.
With Clint and Tornillo losing Game 3’s is their respective series on Saturday, Riverside is now the lone team from the Borderland still in the hunt for a state tournament bid.
Full Playoff Schedule (Regional Quarterfinals)
Clint vs. Andrews — Alpine, Texas (Best of 3)
•Game 1: Andrews def. Clint, 9-5
•Game 2: Clint def. Andrews, 7-5
•Game 3: Andrews def. Clint, 13-5 (Andrews wins series, 2-1)
Riverside vs. Lubbock Estacado — Fort Stockton, Texas (Best of 3)
•Game 1: Riverside def. Estacado, 9-3
•Game 2: Estacado def. Riverside, 7-0
•Game 3: Riverside def. Estacado, 5-4 (Rangers wins series, 2-1, advance to Regional Semifinals)
Tornillo vs. Littlefield — Monahans, Texas (Best of 3)
•Game 1: Littlefield def. Tornillo, 4-1
•Game 2: Tornillo def. Littlefield, 10-1
•Game 3: Littlefield def. Tornillo, 8-4 (Littlefield wins series, 2-1)