When South Fayette scored four runs in the first inning, and the Panthers failed to answer in their half of the first, it didn’t look good for the green and white team from Ellwood City.
But, like Riverside has been known to do so many times before, the Panthers came from behind to beat the South Fayette Lions on Thursday by the score of 5-4. Riverside now moves on to the semifinal round set for Monday.
South Fayette was able to get to Riverside starting pitcher Blaise McCarty in the first inning, but it was lights out for the remainder of the game. McCarty was the winning pitcher, throwing all seven innings and striking out four.
Going into the sixth inning, Riverside still found themselves trailing South Fayette 4-3. But, with one swing of the bat, that all changed. Riverside’s Tyler Falk smacked a two-run home run to give the Panthers the lead and eventually the win.
With the win, Riverside now must prepare for their next opponent – North Star – a team that hasn’t allowed a run yet in the state playoffs.
North Star, the team from Boswell, Pa., a town just south of Johnstown, defeated Ellwood City in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, 2-0. On Thursday, North Star once again shut out their opponent Saegertown, 2-0.
Riverside, now 20-6 overall, needs just one more victory to have a chance to compete for back-to-back PIAA state titles. Last season, Riverside won both the WPIAL and State title.