Cedar Ridge sophomore pitcher Phil Berger III was glad to get the win over Riverside on Thursday night as the Red Wolves came away with a 9-8 decision in their opening game of the Hilltop Invitational.
Berger, who also is the Red Wolves' starting quarterback in football, came in as a reliever in the sixth inning and shut down a Riverside rally to earn the win and exact a little bit of revenge on the Pirates dating back to football season. A brawl between their football teams resulted in both teams being disqualified from the state playoffs, which was well within Cedar Ridge's grasp at the time.
"There are a few of us who play football and we remember what happened last fall," said Berger, who also was 3-for-4 at the plate. "Tonight was a good team win for us and we're glad to win again."
The victory snapped a four-game losing skid for the Red Wovles, (7-5), while Riverside (6-9) suffered its fourth straight loss.
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Riverside coach Doug Simmons said his team is going through this tough stretch of losses thanks to their own mistakes.
"You can't win games when you make the mistakes we're making," Simmons said. "I'm not saying [Cedar Ridge] didn't deserve to win but you can't hand the other team five or six extra runs and expect to win."
Cedar Ridge jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and then added one, two and then four more in each of their next at-bats.
Red Wolves' starter Brandon Andrews got off to a good start, facing only 10 batters through the first three innings. But starting the fourth, he ran into trouble, giving up a walk, a single and two more walks before exiting with the bases loaded. Senior Evan Hall came in and got a line out by Chris Mitchell before Brandon Goss singled in a pair of runs to get the Pirates on the board to make it 5-3. Hall settled down and didn't allow another run as he worked the fifth inning.
Riverside added four more runs against James Davis and Erik Zehnder in the sixth before Berger came in and snuffed out the Pirate comeback.
Cedar Ridge finished with 12 hits as first baseman Chris Cox went 3 for 4 and Adam Chnupa went 2 for 3.
Riverside's leading hitters were Chris Crabtree (2 for 3) and David Ryczek (2 for 4).