Riverdale’s baseball team awoke from its slumber a little too late on Tuesday.
The Warriors mounted a seventh-inning rally against Collierville in their Class AAA tournament opener but fell 8-4 to the Dragons at Siegel High School.
Riverdale will face Dobyns Bennett in an elimination game Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Siegel.
The Warriors struggled through the first six innings against Collierville senior Peyton Sanderlin before scoring three runs and having the potential tying run on deck.
“I told them that first six innings isn’t how we’ve played the last month,” said Riverdale coach Barry Messer. “I’ll take that blame for that. I told them that, and for them to use the seventh inning as momentum for (today).
“In the seventh we got back to playing Riverdale baseball. Playing with grit and not giving up.”
Riverdale starter Trevor Sutton got off to a rough start in the first inning. After the senior and Memphis signee retired the first two batters, a two-out error proved most costly.
Sutton followed that up by hitting clean-up hitter Parker Phillips, and Ole Miss commitment Grayson Moyes lifted a three-run homer over the left-field fence to stake the Dragons to a 3-0 advantage.
“You can’t take any outs for granted at this stage,” Messer said. “They’re all a premium when you get here.”
Phillips gave Collierville a 5-0 lead in the third inning with long two-run shot over the left-center wall.
Meanwhile, Sanderlin was dealing on the mound, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before hitting Kaleb Swayze.
Sanderlin said taking the mound with a quick 3-0 lead gave his team the early momentum it needed.
“I felt good and my arm felt great,” said Sanderlin. “That first inning was big. It gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to pitch more freely and I mixed up my pitches and hit my spots. That was the big thing.”
Riverdale scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth when Brady Puckett’s two-out single scored Swayze.
“He hit his spots and did what he was supposed to do,” Puckett said. “He mixed up his pitches pretty good.”
Collierville added three key insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning to take an 8-1 lead.
Sanderlin was relieved in the bottom of the seventh by Brandon Montgomery, who immediately gave up a lead-off single to Sutton.
Puckett followed with an RBI double to cut the lead to 8-2, and Drew Huff followed a single. Riley Walters’ groundout scored Puckett, and pinch-hitter Jordan McNeal’s RBI single pulled the Warriors to within 8-4.
With runners at first and second, lead-off hitter Trevor Ayers lined a shot to center, but Moyes made a diving catch to end the Warriors’ threat.
“We’ve just to to keep fighting and build off the last inning instead of worrying about the first six,” Puckett said.
Senior Colin Snider, a Vanderbilt commitment, will get the start on Wednesday.