A Champions Tribute: Riverside Warriors

3A Champion: Riverside Warriors

By: Chris Bates-May 10, 2006


To sum up our season would be to say "It’s a Mentality."  We had that on the back of one of our t-shirts and our players came into the season believing that they could win, when no one else thought so. 

Our season began with us finding a way to win some close games at the IP Classic that gave them the confidence that they could beat anyone. We opened the season up with 17 straight wins and jumped into the National Top 25 poll. 

With an opening round loss to Boiling Springs in the Upstate Diamond Classic to end the winning streak, we bounced back with four victories to claim the title for the second consecutive year. A mid-week loss to Spartanburg opened our eyes a little and we bounced back with a big win versus Eastside to finish the conference season 10-0. We then won eight straight to capture our third state title in four years. 

We had close wins versus Pickens (1-0) and AC Flora (5-4) in the Upstate Finals to advance to the state championship. We then held on to beat Dillon 4-3 at their place and won a ‘much closer than the score indicates’ 9-0 battle to win the title. We beat Dillon for the second time in the state championship series in as many attempts. They are well-coached and have a great tradition of winning championships in every sport. My hat goes off to them on a great season and best of luck in the future.

This year’s accomplishment was a monumental win for our community and program. Community involvement is at an all-time high and, for us to win the State Championship this year, it is great! I am thankful for the support that we received from the school administration, faculty, parents and community. All of those things attribute to a great program.

Our leading hitter and pitcher was sophomore Michael Roth (.514, 16 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 6 SB; 11-1, 1.85 ERA, 73 K in 75.2 IP), pictured right. He was also named MVP of the IP Classic and the Upstate Diamond Classic baseball tournaments this year. He led the team in wins on the mound with eleven–that is the most by an individual at Riverside in some time. Sophomore shortstop Will Owens (.444, 28 R, 5 2B, 3 3B, HR, 18 RBI and 10 SB) and junior right fielder Mark Santoro (.404, 5 2B, 17 RBI and 14 SB) led us offensively. Freshman right-hander Matthew Pegler (10-0, 1.15 ERA, 79 K in 67 IP), picutred left, was second in wins and first in ERA on our pitching staff. Of note, junior catcher/pitcher John Nester (.330, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 25 RBI; 5-0, 4 SV, 36 K in 29.1 IP), picutred at top, just committed to Clemson.

I have been the head coach for the past five seasons and we have compiled a 140-21 record, winning three state titles (2003, 2004 and 2006). Riverside has won the region twelve straight seasons. The past five years, our region record is 53-2. We have advanced to the Upper-State championship game each of the past five seasons, winning three. Our playoff record over the past five seasons is 34-4. Riverside has won Upper-State titles in 1980, 1986, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2006. Riverside has won state titles in 1980, 1986, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006  Recently, Riverside was Upper-State runner-up in 2000, 2002 and 2005.

Success has been in abundance at Riverside lately. The player’s work hard and the parents and community support the program. Add all of those together, with some talented young men working for a common goal, and you can achieve greatness. I count myself fortunate to have been a part of it, we just hope that it continues!

For more information on Riverside, 1  2  3  4.