Ridge View kept pace with Rock Hill at the top of the Region 4-4A baseball standings on Tuesday, scoring a key 4-3 win over neighboring Spring Valley.
The verdict allowed the Blazers to keep pace with Rock Hill at 6-2 with two region games left on the regular season slate. Spring Valley, meanwhile, dropped back to 5-3 and fourth place, a half game behind 6-3 Blythewood. All four of the top teams are assured of state playoff invitations, but the final seeding is far from settled.
Ridge View broke a 1-1 deadlock with three runs in the top of the fifth inning as Hughston Armstrong and Andrew Hill delivered clutch, two out hits. Armstrong’s single put the Blazers ahead 3-1, and he scored what proved to be the winning run when Hill followed with a double.
RV starter Richard Crisostomo was cruising before running into trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Vikings scored two runs and had a runner on second base with two outs when Blazer manager Tommy Hill summoned Scott Baldwin in from the bullpen to douse the fire. Baldwin escaped without retiring a batter; he ended the inning by picking off the SV runner at second base. The Vikings made things interesting in the seventh, putting two runners on base before Baldwin got the final out to pick up the save.
The Blazers have two games left with the bottom two teams in the region. RV plays at South Pointe tonight and travels to Lancaster for its regional finale on Friday. Rock Hill, on the other hand, has two tough games remaining. The Bearcats host Spring Valley on Thursday and wrap up region matters at home against Blythewood.
“We can’t be worried about what other teams are doing right now,” said Hill. “We have to take care of our own business.”
Blythewood is getting hot at the right time. The Bengals have won four straight regions outings, three since last Friday’s dramatic 3-2 win over Ridge View on Grayson Griener’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The sophomore catcher drilled a bases-loaded, two-out single with two strikes off Crisostomo, who came on in relief of Baldwin this time.
The Bengals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ryan Stewart. Starter Michael Hanzlik maintained the slim advantage until Ridge View took the lead with two unearned runs in the top of the seventh.
Blythewood then beat Lancaster 2-0 on Monday, and crushed South Pointe 10-0 on Tuesday. Will Smith, who picked up the RV decision in relief of Hanzlik, fired a complete-game, three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts vs. Lancaster. Smith retired 17 of the last 18 Bruins he faced. Taylor Bone continued the Bengals recent whitewashing tendencies with tossing his third complete-game shutout of the season on Tuesday. Will Ferrell’s three hits headlined the attack vs. South Pointe.