MIDLAND, Texas (KTSM) — It wasn’t the start they were hoping for, but the Riverside baseball team isn’t done yet. The Rangers dropped Game 1 of their ‘Best of 3’ Regional Semifinal series against Stephenville on Friday, 11-6, at Christensen Stadium in Midland.
The Rangers found themselves in an early 5-0 hole after just one inning and it was primarily facilitated by the Yellow Jackets playing small ball. Riverside would tie the game at five in the fourth inning, fueled by a 3-run double from Diego Cardenas. However, Stephenville responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth inning and did not look back from there, cruising to a series opening victory.
Riverside will now have to win back-to-back games to advance in the Class 4A Texas high school baseball playoffs. It’s not uncommon ground for the Rangers who strung together two straight wins over Monahans in the Bi-District Round.
“We’ve been in pretty much every possible situation after Game 1 and it’s nothing new,” said Riverside head coach Rick Solis. “Obviously, as you get further into the playoffs. the better the teams get. We just have to play a lot better than we played today.”
Something the Rangers will draw confidence from is being able to fight back in the fourth inning to tie the ballgame. Riverside hung with a very talented Stephenville team throughout the majority of the game, but will need to clean up some fundamentals if they want to give themselves a chance on Saturday.
“I get three RBIs and we wind up tying up the ballgame, but things just didn’t go our way after that. Some errors and they just kept bunting,” said Cardenas. “We are going to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to defend it, but we’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
The Rangers are making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2000 when they advanced all the way to the State Tournament — the Final Four of the playoffs.
Game 2 is scheduled for 10 a.m. MT in Midland. Game 3, if necessary, will immediately follow Game 2. KTSM 9 Sports Director Andy Morgan is on the road with the Rangers and will have complete coverage on KTSM 9 News Weekends.