RLP...and RPB... know deep tournament runs
We hear a lot-- and rightfully so-- about the great success of the Rivet Lady Patriots in the IHSAA Class A basketball tourhanment. That success includes four Class "A" semi-state titles in the last five years... in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013-- and a state title in 2011. But this column isn't about the RLP. It is about RPB-- Rivet Patriot Baseball.
This is the second time the Patriot baseball team has exceeded expectations. In 2010, the "Talented Ten" got to Victory Field, before falling in the state championship game. In 2013, the Patriots were within 2 inches-- TWO INCHES!! of elimination to the Shoals Jug Rox, when a final out throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag. That miscue led to the tying and winning runs being scored on the same play.
You talk about taking advantage of second chances. RPB got their wakeup call-- and rose and shone against Barr-Reeve in the sectional final, and big time in the regional against both Trinity Lutheran and Number 5 South Central.
Next up... Rising Sun. The Shiners are 22-3 and ranked fifth. Here though, I have to favor Rivet, for various reasons. (Boy I hope this isn't the kiss of death...)
1. Regardless of whether this one is played at Jasper or Plainfield, it is a much longer trip for Rising Sun. They are 45 minutes from Cincinnati, and have quite a haul to either place.
2. Rising Sun is 22-3, but again-- strength of schedule kills the Shiners. They play in the Ohio Valley Conference-- and in my opinion, as a former resident of that area, that conference is still weaker than Rivet's Blue Chip Conference year-in and year-out.
3. Strength of sectional. The best training ground for a deep run in Class "A" is the North Daviess/Loogootee Sectional... in any sport. Playing teams in the "Amish Triangle"-- Loogootee, North Daviess, and Barr-Reeve-- is a great proving ground. Those three teams' athletic success proves it.
4. The Tom Lee adage, after living in both areas. In Class A and 2A, mark it down-- a good Southwest Indiana team is always favored over a good Southeast Indiana team. There ARE exceptions (read: Southwestern Shelby last year), but more often than not, it is a pretty consistent rule.
All those point to a Rivet return to the baseball state championship. The major wild card though-- this IS baseball, and baseball is THE most unpredictable sport in all high school sports. You want proof? Ask the 2010 Rivet baseball team...
That's my take...I'm Tom Lee.
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