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River hands Shadyside its first loss

SHADYSIDE – Carter Dennis is an All-Ohio football player three times over. The River High senior is also a gem on the baseball diamond.

Dennis turned in a sharp route-going mound effort Wednesday, handing Shadyside its initial loss of the season by a 5-3 count. The gritty righthander scattered eight hits, fanned a pair while issuing no walks. He was touched for two runs in the first and an unearned tally in the seventh.

“Carter pitched a gutsy game. He threw a lot of strikes, got ahead of hitters and hit his spots,” first-year River coach Tim Blue said. “He beat an awfully good baseball team tonight. They beat us 2-1 on Monday.

“We like to limit our pitchers to 55 pitches. Carter was already four over that going into the last inning,” he added. “But I know what type of competitor Carter is. I looked into his eyes and there was no way I way taking him out. He was exceptional.”

Dennis’s performance also drew the praise of Shadyside skipper Shawn Selmon.

“Dennis pitched a terrific game. He threw a lot of strikes,” Selmon noted. “We didn’t hit it well. That is a tribute to him.”

River pushed across a run in the first inning, nary a hit. The Tigers dropped two fly balls in the outfield, producing a run.

Shadyside responded immediately, plating a pair of runners in the home half of the first.

Starting pitcher Rhys Francis doubled and scored on a double by Mason Vannest. The junior standout subsequently scored on a Pilot error.

River took the lead for good via a three-spot in the third inning.

With one out, Jake Rose drew a base on balls followed by a Dennis single. Two successive hit-batters forced in a run. After a strikeout, River Thompson delivered an RBI single before another beaned batter climaxed the frame.

The Blue boys added an insurance run in the seventh. Rose singled and scored on a Dennis double.

Shadyside didn’t go quietly.

The Tigers staged an uprising in the bottom of the seventh. Grant Miller reached on an error. Tyler Stottlemeyer followed with a single. After a popout, senior Jordan Joseph hit into a fielder’s choice, cutting the deficit to 5-3. Dennis, however, ended the Orange comeback hopes by inducing a popout to first base.

River improved to 2-1 on the campaign, coming off a win over Beallsville 24 hours prior.

“This is a big win for us. It is a nice confidence booster, beating a quality team like Shadyside,” Blue said. “They beat us twice in football and they eliminated us in boys basketball. So it was nice to be able to beat them the second time around in baseball.

“Monday’s game with them was a battle. Both teams fought hard,” he continued. “I am proud of our team’s effort tonight. We played really well.”

River had only had five hits but made the most of Shadyside’s fielding miscues and mound wildness. Dennis led the way with a single and double.

Francis went the first five innings for Shadyside. He struck out nine, walked two and surrendered just three hits. Freshman Ben Wach made his season mound debut an impressive one. Wach struck out two in two innings of relief.

“We didn’t hit the ball well again tonight. We haven’t all year. We haven’t shaken that bug yet,” Selmon said. “I don’t like losing but I can deal with it. But I get upset when we make mental errors like running ourselves out of innings and giving up unearned runs.

“I thought Ben did a real nice job for his first pitching outing of the year,” he added. “River did the things they needed to do to win the game. My hat’s off to them.”

Vannest led the Tiger attack with two singles and a double.

Both teams return to action today. River visits Frontier while Shadyside hosts Steubenville Catholic.

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