There's only one thing to say about the 2003 Riverside Middle School baseball team - the Eagles are perfect.
Riverside pitcher Brandon Cumpton opened the season with a no-hitter against Greenbrier Middle, and the Eagles recently capped the campaign with a late rally to beat Lakeside Middle.
In between the first and last games, Riverside chalked up 12 straight wins.
With a 14-0 record this year, the Eagles are rare birds indeed.
"Going unbeaten doesn't happen too often in baseball. The kids played real well," Riverside coach Mark Turner said. "It wasn't easy. You can't just walk out there and win. Fortunately, we have some talented kids and they played up to their potential."
The Riverside Middle School Eagles baseball team played its way to a 14-0 season. The team is Tripper Mischel (front, from left), Jacob Palgut, Chase Huffman, Derek Herbine, David Herbine, Ryan Lariscy and Mich-ael Carraway; Jamie Tucker (back, from left), Michael Hester, Brandon Cumpton, Nick Richards, John Clark Huffman, Alan Lanier and Coach Mark Turner.
Pitching sparked Riverside's clean sweep this year. Cumpton, Michael Hester, John Clark Huffman, Michael Carraway and Nick Richards were dominant on the mounds, as the Eagles' staff averaged 12 strikeouts per game.
Riverside's strong defense and potent bats did the rest.
"We had a lot of easy wins," Turner said. "In order to have a good team concept, players have to understand their role, and everyone on this team had a role this season."
Riverside's squad featured eight players who are in eighth grade, and they will move on to Greenbrier and Lakeside high schools next fall.
"Most of these kids are ready to play high school baseball in the near future," Turner said. "What I try to do is teach them fundamentals, and put them in the right spot. Hopefully, they'll take what they learned with them on to high school."
The soon-to-be freshmen, and the other members of the Riverside team, certainly will have some stories to tell their future teammates.
"After the season was over, I told them that it was more than likely they'll never be on another unbeaten baseball team," Turner said. "This is something for them to be very proud of, and something that no one will ever be able to take away."
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