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GIBSONTON — Underdog Riverview completed its impressive run to the Class 5A, District 8 championship Thursday with a late-inning rally for a 6-1 win over second-ranked Durant.
The Sharks opened the tournament with an extra-inning comeback win over Saladino champion Newsome and beat top-seeded Plant City 3-0 behind Dylan Drawdy’s no-hit gem to reach the final.
“We’ve been a fifth-inning, sixth-inning, seventh-inning team and we just decided we have nothing to lose,” coach Bill Leiby said after his first district crown in seven seasons at Riverview.
Drawdy, who had one of three bunt singles in Riverview’s five-run sixth, said there was no pressure on the Sharks.
“We didn’t have to worry about mistakes because we weren’t even supposed to be here,” he said.
Trailing 1-0 and limited to three singles by Durant starter Trey Oest, Riverview rallied in the sixth for five runs on six hits and a walk. Mike Botto, Kurt Engert and Drawdy reached on bunt singles and scored. Tommy Ware had a two-run single with Justin Rose and Chris Gauthier adding RBI doubles.
“That’s one thing they take pride in,” Leiby said. “Everybody in that lineup can bunt and we got three good ones in a row.”
Durant’s lone run came in the second with Oest hitting a leadoff single and pinch-runner Luke Heyer advancing on an Emilio Ogando double before scoring on a wild pitch.
Spencer Andrews, who started at third and pitched the final two innings of scoreless relief, added a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Riverview starter Cesar Malave scattered five hits and struck out five through five innings. He departed after walking his first batter in the bottom of the sixth.