By Marty Farmer
For the second straight year, a Riverside Little League team finished third at the Illinois Little League State Tournament.
This year's third-place Riverside team competed in the 9-10 years old division. Last year, the Riverside 11U squad earned third.
The former finished with a 10-3 overall record this summer, highlighted by a 5-0 showing in district competition. At the state finals in Salem, Illinois, the team won three of five games. After dropping its opener, Riverside reeled off three straight wins to advance to the semifinals where River Forest dealt them a 12-5 loss.
Ten victories are the most ever for any Riverside Little League district team.
The team dominated their opponents statistically throughout most of the summer. In district competition, Riverside outscored the opposition 91-22 in five games and finished the summer with a .412 team batting average and 3.51 team ERA. Eight of 13 players hit over .400 and every player hit .300 or better.
Depth and versatility served the team well all summer.
"The coaches and I don't want to mention one particular kid because we had such a great group," Riverside manager Mike Mulvihill said. "They were truly a team. The kids played with intensity and executed brilliantly. They also had fun and got along with each other, always playing as a team."
Aside from winning, traveling to the state tournament was fun for not only the players and coaches but parents as well.
"The parents were great," Mulvihill said. "Everybody spent six days together in the Mount Vernon/Salem area not knowing when our last day would be due to the double-elimination format. They were very supportive and everybody had a great time throughout, but especially during our time at state."
Team members are Johnny Buchman (2B, SS, P); Rylan Bruno (OF, 2B, P); Jaden Despe (OF, P); Vince Dockendorf (SS, P); Peter Gardiner (C, LF); Connor McKay (LF, 1B, 3B, P); Cal Milchhoefer (CF, 1B); Danny Mulvihill (C, 3B, P); Ronnie Murray (OF, P); Aiden Pankros (OF, C); Zach Ryzewski (1B); Ethan Smith (OF, 2B); Paxton Tamlyn, (LF, IF, P).