After spotting South Fayette a four-run lead in the first inning, Riverside chipped away at the deficit with small ball.
Then Tyler Falk delivered the big blow.
Falk hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to give Riverside a 5-4 victory in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal Thursday at North Allegheny. It was the only extra-base hit of the game for Riverside.
"I'd say that was probably the biggest hit of my life. I'm really going out on a limb saying that," Falk said with a laugh.
The win moves Riverside (20-6) one step closer to winning a second consecutive PIAA championship.
Riverside is 13-1 in the playoffs the past two seasons.
South Fayette (16-8) scored four runs on four hits and an error in the first inning. The big hit was a two-run triple by Nathan Smith. But Riverside pitcher Blaise McCarty kept South Fayette scoreless the rest of the way.
Riverside scored single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. In the sixth, Riverside's Dylan Jones led off and reached on an error. Then Falk delivered with his fourth home run of the season over the right-field fence off South Fayette reliever Aaron Fonner.
• West York 6, Belle Vernon 2: Belle Vernon (19-6) spotted District 3 third-place finisher West York (22-4) an early 3-0 lead and the Leopards could not recover at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona. Kaden Hepler, a Division I Winthrop recruit, picked up the pitching win and added an RBI. The WPIAL runner-up Leopards were coming off their first PIAA playoff win.
• Elk County Catholic 4, Neshannock 3: WPIAL champion Neshannock (22-3) surrendered seven walks in the first four innings and allowed four of those runners to score, helping District 9 runner-up Elk County Catholic (18-6) gain the win at White Township Park in Indiana. Winning pitcher Jack Herzing pitched a three-hitter. Alex Welker notched Neshannock's lone extra-base hit.
• Bishop McCort 9, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 8: OLSH (18-7) rallied from a 9-3 deficit by scoring five runs in the sixth, but its comeback fell short against District 6 champion Bishop McCort (22-2) at Somerset. With the tying run at third in the seventh, Tristan Snyder grounded out to end the game. OLSH fell behind, 5-0, in the second and committed seven errors in the game. Preston Falascino and Dan Bechek had two hits apiece for OLSH, and Jason Lanoy homered.
First Published June 8, 2012 12:00 AM