By STEVE JACKSON
The Riverside Sharks senior, Bubba Herrick, had a good week, leading his team to 2 wins with a home run in each victory and a winning five-plus innings mound performance. But it was not Herrick’s bat nor even his arm, which provided the spark for the Sharks. Trailing 9-0 in what had become an early lopsided game with South Shore rival Lennard on April 9, Herrick took it upon himself to rally the troops in what appeared to be a throw-in-the-towel situation. Herrick called a team meeting outside the dugout to verbally fire up his dejected team, which was on the short end of what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.
Whatever Herrick said worked. And Herrick backed up his words with action as he smashed a double, and then outdid himself with his first high school home run, all in one inning, as the Sharks dramatically turned the tables on the Longhorns with a 10-run fifth inning. Five of the RBIs (run batted in) came off Herrick’s bat. The volcanic inning also saw Macalister Jorgenson bang out 2 hits.
Meanwhile, the Sharks two sophomore relief pitchers, Jaden Ross and Riley Linne, held hot Lennard at bay, except for 2 runs. The Sharks, finally, won as Jeremy Galen came up to the plate in the bottom of the last inning with a Shark on second base and, promptly, knocked in the walk-off winning run in the hard-fought and emotional 12-11 victory.
The very next night, the Sharks played district foe Durant at Riverview and won 5 to 3, behind the arm and the bat of Herrick. No pep talk was needed. Herrick was on the mound and was efficient, with Durant’s only getting 4 hits. Herrick again had another home run. Jorgenson, as leadoff batter, was effective offensively, again, with 3 hits, including a triple. In the seventh, senior Kyle Knees secured the save, striking out the last two Chargers batters to end the game and to strengthen the Sharks third place lead over Durant in District 6.
Then on April 11 the Sharks traveled to Plant City to face the Raiders, sitting atop the District along with co-leader Bloomingdale. PC’s Parker Messick threw a gem of a game, striking out 14 Shark batters. Riverview junior. Tyler Misla. matched him with 8 strike outs, but Plant City prevailed 1 to 0. Jorgenson and Herrick each had hits for the Sharks.
Coach Ronnie Rodriguez’ 4-3, 11-6 Sharks travel to Dover on April 16 for an after press time, non-district game with Strawberry Crest. Then the powerful Bloomingdale Bulls come to the Riverview diamond for a 7 pm clash on April 18, the Sharks final District game.
Riverview has two road games, at Armwood on April 23 and Steinbrenner on April 25, before concluding the season with non-District foes Alonso and Leto at home on on April 27 and April 30.