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Riverdale holds off rival North Clayton

By Anthony Rhoads

Riverdale vs. North Clayton.

There's no doubt it's an intense basketball and football rivalry but the baseball players take it pretty seriously too.

Monday night, Riverdale (1-4) overcame a four-run first-inning deficit to beat North Clayton 5-4.

"It feels great to win and beat them at their place," Riverdale pitcher Mayshawn Montgomery said. "It's like a big rivalry for us. It's getting to be a big rivalry in baseball."

Montgomery struck out eight, walked six and allowed six hits in a complete-game effort.

"This year as opposed to last year, they didn't quit," Riverdale head coach Dustin Dalton said. "I've got to give my pitcher credit; he never quit. I give a lot of credit to my seniors (Trey Hooks, Daniel Darden and E.J. Flen). With the three of them, they're smart baseball players and they know the game."

The game was tied at 4-4 in the sixth inning. With two outs, Darden was hit by a pitch. Rodrick Jackson followed with a walk and Kurt Wilson was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Riverdale took a 5-4 lead when Alex Johnson singled to drive in pinch runner Brandon Hughes. Riverdale could have added another run but Jackson was tagged out at home plate to end the inning.

"I love it," Dalton said of picking up the first win of the season. "It's about time. We expected we would get off to a tough start against tough competition because we want to get ready for our region. Tonight, we proved we could hit it. It was a good baseball game; we enjoyed it."

North Clayton started the bottom of the first with three straight base hits. Dray Blanton and Jamal Morland got back-to-back singles and Shawn Christian singled to score Blanton.

Anthony Grissom walked and with one out, Rosendo Galvan connected with a two-RBI single.

Regis Scott followed by grounding out to first but pinch runner Josh Lewis was able to score, giving North Clayton a 4-0 lead.

With two outs in the third, Riverdale's Kurt Wilson walked and Johnson doubled to send Wilson home.

Dominique Sengero, Chad Morgan and Darden all scored for Riverdale in the fourth inning to tie the game at 4-4.

In the fifth inning, with two outs and one runner on base, Montgomery smacked a ball to deep left centerfield. North Clayton centerfielder Ernest Johnson made a diving catch to record the out.

"That was a great catch," Dalton said.

In the bottom of the seventh, North Clayton loaded the bases but wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunity.