The execution of a sacrifice bunt play proved crucial for both teams. As Riverside benefited from South Charleston's miscue in the eighth, the Warriors executed the same play to perfection in the bottom of the seventh inning to thwart a Black Eagles threat.
"In this atmosphere, you've got to execute small ball," Hawkins said.
Black Eagles hitter Jacob Marler started the bottom of the seventh with a single to left field as all signs pointed SC could manufacture a possible walk-off win. The tide turned quickly, though. With Marler at first, the next hitter laid down a sacrifice bunt. Hall fielded the bunt, turned and fired to Chestnut for the force out at second base. Chestnut, then, pivoted and threw to first base to complete the double play.
The play was especially disappointing for the Black Eagles, who failed to score on an even bigger potential threat in the sixth. With one out and runners on second and third, Hall struck out the next two SC hitters to escape the inning.
"They made a play on a bunt that turned into a double play and the next inning, we didn't make it," SC Coach Kenny Samms said. "I'll go back to the bottom of the sixth. We get guys on second and third and one out, fourth and fifth hitter, and we don't (execute)."
While a three-run outburst proved the difference in the eighth, both teams' pitchers contributed solid complete-game performances on the mound. Hall struck out seven, with no walks, as he allowed one run on six hits. Meanwhile, Jobst struck out eight, walking one.
As Riverside celebrated the victory, Hall, a senior, said it felt great to be part of program history, reaching back-to-back regional championships.
"It means everything," he said of the win. "I feel like nobody at Riverside's ever done it before and to be the team that's done it two years in a row feels great."
With solid play and a fun mindset, the Warriors will look to continue their season despite a record that sits below .500.
"I told them all season long, 'Hey, don't look at the record,' " Hawkins said. "'Who cares? We know how good we are. We know the work we put in. We'll get it right by playoff time.' "