RIVERVIEW - In a seesaw battle with four lead changes between fierce district rivals, Durant had the last rally for a
6-4 win over Riverview in Friday's Class 5A region semifinal.
Following a two-game split in the regular season, the Sharks defeated the Cougars with a late rally in the 5A-8 championship game. Durant got even Friday.
"They're tough as nails," Durant coach Butch Valdes said. "It was an emotional win."
Added Tyler Danish, whose two-run homer in Durant's three-run sixth inning wound up the winning hit: "We played them tough all year and it came down to big innings every game."
Unlike the district final, in which Riverview rallied from a one-run deficit by scoring five runs in the sixth, that inning belonged to Durant (16-10) Friday.
Trailing 3-2, Durant went ahead 5-3 but Danish's homer wasn't the only significant hit. Before that blast, Jacob Burgess hit a leadoff single that landed 5 feet in front of home plate thanks to pitcher Spencer Andrews backing away from a popup at the last second. Burgess then scored on Caleb Jordan's single.
Riverview (18-9) opened the scoring on a Justin Rose home run, his team-leading fifth, in the second. Durant countered in the third with two unearned runs on infield errors. Dylan Barrows singled and advanced to second on a throwing error before scoring when Johnny Coglianese made it all the way to third on an infield error.
The Sharks retook the lead at 3-2 with two runs in the fourth. Tommy Ware led off with a single and scored on Rose's team-high 13th double and Chris Gauthier followed with an RBI single. Ware added a run-scoring double in the seventh, but Riverview's last-ditch effort came up short.