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Riverview shakes off slow start, doubters

BRANDON WRIGHT
Published June 26, 2004

Few gave a second thought to Riverview's Legion "A" team at the beginning of the season.

Loaded squads like West Tampa Post 248, Boys and Girls Club and the Ravens Baseball Club were expected to dominate the district and the Sharks were thought of as second tier. With a roster comprised almost exclusively of returning Riverview players (only the graduated Dwayne Bailey won't return) and an 0-4 start, the Sharks were not thought of as a team to beat.

But Riverview's play of late suggests otherwise.

The Sharks are 4-1 since their 0-4 start, including a 7-5 win against the previously unbeaten Ravens on Thursday.

"The last few games have been real big for us," coach Jeff Swymer said. "You can see the confidence in the team's eyes and it speaks to what type of character this team has."

After holding off Brandon 11-10 Tuesday, Riverview came back in the seventh inning against the Ravens. Trailing 5-4, Riverview got consecutive one-out doubles from Garrett Maines and Tyler Nessmith to tie the score. David Swatkowski then drove the first pitch he saw over the fence.

"The Ravens took a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, we went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and you could tell the kids were a bit deflated," Swymer said. "But once we got that first double, you could see they started to believe anything could happen."

Perhaps most impressive about the Sharks' run has been that they have done it without their ace. Billy Bullock, who has missed the past two games, is in Jupiter competing for a spot on the Junior Olympic Team at the Pan Am Games and won't be back until late next week at the earliest.

Riverview looks to continue its hot streak against Armwood today. Swymer said either Xavier Malave or Jed McCall will get the start.

ALSO STREAKING: The Terriers Baseball Club won four games last week to raise its district record to 8-2. The Terriers defeated Freedom 13-9, won a forfeit against Wharton and shut out Armwood and Jesuit.

Chris Noriega went four innings for the win in the Terriers' 9-0 victory against the Hawks and Michael Garcia tossed a rain-shortened no-hitter to beat Jesuit 4-0. Garcia gave up a single in the top of the sixth but the game was called; so the last official inning was the fifth. Noriega threw a no-hitter earlier in the season against Riverview.

"Our pitching has really carried us this summer," coach Marcus Garcia said. "We've been averaging about five runs a game and with the way we've thrown the ball that's been good enough."

LAST TEAM STANDING: With the Ravens' loss Thursday, the Boys and Girls Club (9-0) finished the week as the only unbeaten team in the district. The Boys and Girls Club finished runner up in its bracket at the DeLand Firecracker Tournament and faced DeLand Post 6 in a quarterfinal late Friday.

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