Red-hot Riverside resumes playoff runPublished 7:20pm Thursday, May 16, 2013
The red-hot Riverside Knights will continue their quest for state glory tonight when they host Perquimans in the third round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs at 6 p.m.
Riverside, the No. 2 ranked 1-A team in the state according to the Impact N.C High School Poll, rallied from 1-0 and 5-4 deficits against Four Rivers Conference rival South Creek in Round 2 to pull out a 10-8 victory and now must face a strong Perquimans team that has become one of the Knights more fierce rivals over the years.
In their two regular season meetings this season Riverside won both times but Knights’ coach Hank Tice isn’t putting too much stock in that as he heads into tonight’s game.
“Last year Perquimans beat us twice in the regular season and we went out there and beat them in the third round,” Riverside coach Hank Tice said. “I know they’re looking to do the same thing to us this year. Perquimans is a solid team defensively and one of the better hitting teams in our conference.”
Riverside (21-3), the Four Rivers Conference champions and No. 1 seed, has been extremely hot at the plate as it produced 18 hits during its second round win over the Cougars.
“We’re swinging the bats well,” Tice said. “Our scorekeeper had us down for 18 hits on Tuesday. Our seven, eight and nine hitters in our lineup had nine hits. That’s been the key to our success all year. The bottom of the order has gotten on and the top of our order has drove them in.”
Perquimans (17-7), the No. 2 seed from the Four Rivers, boasts a dangerous lineup and has outscored teams 28-2 throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Riverside has racked up 29 runs over the first two rounds and Tice said he expects a slugfest when these two teams meet up on the diamond.
“I’d be really surprised if it’s a 3-2 ball game,” Tice said. “I think it’s going to be more like our game with South Creek.”
Charged with keeping the Pirates quiet will be ace Kyle Leggett, who has gone 12-0 this season.
“We feel good about Kyle,” Tice said. “He’s going to get the start and he’s been our guy all year long. We’re going to run him out and we feel confident he can get the job done.”
Tice’s team has risen to the occasion all year long and the Knights’ coach credited his team’s chemistry for its success.
“I think our kids have responded all year long,” Tice said. “I don’t think people realize how hard it is to win 21 games in a season. We’ve been able to do that because of how close our team is and how hard they work. Our team trusts each other.”