Strong on offense in recent years, there’s been a bit of a power outage within the Riverside baseball lineup this season.
Chance Lott has been an exception.
The junior transfer from Chester County hit a two-run home run to left, his third homer this season, in the fourth inning Monday evening as Riverside beat host Trinity Christian Academy 4-3.
“We’d hit one home run, until two games ago, as a team,” Riverside coach Eric Quinn said. “And he’s hit two the last two games.”
Lott now has three of the Panthers’ four homers, as Drake Smith crushed a no-doubter to right in the first inning for a 1-0 lead for Riverside (12-7, 5-3 district).
Riverside’s other productive inning was the third, starting with Smith’s double to left. Braden Lott singled, Smith scored on Dustin Rhodes’ groundout and Chance Lott homered for a 4-0 lead.
Chance Lott made a difference on the mound, holding Trinity (10-11, 3-4 district) scoreless through three innings with a fastball and curveball.
“I think he’s always had good movement on his fastball, and when you do that I think, especially in high school, hitters have to respect that,” Quinn said. “When you get ahead of hitters that sets everything else up and he can pitch.”
His control slipped in the fourth, and the host Lions almost made him pay for it. He walked Cooper Pendergrass, hit Tyler Pafford with a pitch and walked Tyler Appell with no outs.
Avery Schwarz and Stone Craft grounded out to score Pendergrass and Pafford, but Andy Hannaford struck out swinging.
Tyler Thomas walked with two outs in the fifth, reached third on Pendergrass’ single and scored on a double steal attempt before Pendergrass was tagged out.
Trinity threatened further in the sixth as Appell and Schwarz singled with one out, but Craft hit into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the inning.
“I thought Lott threw a really good game and I thought they made two or three defensive plays that were probably the difference in our having a chance to come back,” TCA coach Johnny Growe said.
Though he took the loss, TCA pitcher Payton Bankston faced no trouble in the final four innings of his complete game. Riverside reached base twice after the third, once on an error and once on a single off Bankston.
District 15-A is tough at the top, as the Lions and Panthers will compete with defending state champ Jackson Christian and 2014 state tournament participant Scotts Hill to get out of the district tournament.
“We need to start hitting a little more, more contact, and crack down on defense a little more. Less errors,” Chance Lott said.
The teams play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Riverside, and the Panthers will wear special uniforms to raise awareness for the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. They have already sold T-shirts to raise money for the organization.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634