A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

Baseball's back, soccer glory, and something new

Apr 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor

On a sunny, but still brisk afternoon on Saturday at Roy Peck Field in Riverton, we finally got there.

The first baseball game of the season was played in Fremont County as the Riverton Raiders hosted Gillette in a double-header. Just like that, it was officially spring, even here in Wyoming.

Especially sweet were the sights and sounds of our national pastime after the absolutely long, brutal winter we had.

Didn't even mind being sent head over heels by a foul liner off the bat of a Gillette hitter, before being helped up off the lush, green deck by new Raiders manager Troy Brown, who has arrived from Pennsylvania to take over the reins of the local Legion club.

Dalton Baldes and Matt Fisher were the starting hurlers in either end of the twinbill, and the home nine also was sporting brand new uniforms, composed of white, gray and dark red.

Now, I'm no fashion expert, but I know sharp-looking sports uniforms when I see them.

Besides, just about anything would've been an improvement over the green-and-gold camouflage jerseys of the past few years, which looked like a cross between the 1970s Oakland A's and "Duck Dynasty."

Shouldn't a baseball club representing Riverton wear red, anyway?

Now, if we can just do something about the name.

After all, "Raiders" says one thing and one thing only to me.

Silver and black gridiron gladiators.

Which last time I checked, aren't too popular around these parts.

But, a good start with the new color scheme.

Baby steps and play ball.

On the pitch

Big Red's boys footballers hosted Class 3-A No. 1-ranked Worland on Thursday and came away with a 1-0 win over the Warriors on a Slade Becker goal.

Not bad for a guy who has made his name keeping opposing shots out of the Wolverines' net since being installed at the starting goalkeeper last season, helping lead Riverton to a berth in the Class 4-A state championship game and earning all-state status in the process.

No flash-in-the-pan, this lad, as Becker scored again in Riverton's 2-0 road win at Jackson on Saturday.

Now, the Wolverines need only defeat conference opponents Pinedale and Star Valley in their next two matches to clinch a return visit to Sheridan for the state tourney.

My fantasy state-championship soccer matchup? Lander vs. Riverton. It's possible.

Three stars

One of the great traditions in hockey is "3 Stars of the Game," in which -- you guessed it, the three top players for that particular contest are named immediately after the game, followed by a short skate out of the tunnel to the dressing room for a raised stick and curtain call for the home supporters.

So, why not have a Fremont County version?

Why not, indeed.

So, without further ado, here is the debut of what we hope will be a highly-coveted weekly honor among local athletes:

No. 3

Jacob Lytle, Lander, boys soccer

Lytle scored the very first goal of his high school varsity career in the Tigers' 2-0 home victory against Rawlins on Thursday. The junior netted the opener and eventual game-winner in the 17th minute. Well done, lad.

No. 2

Cydney Bradley, Riverton, girls soccer

Bradley scored a pair of goals in the Lady Wolverines' 3-0 home win against Pinedale on Tuesday and currently leads Riverton with seven already on the season. Only a sophomore, Bradley has formed a potent partnership with Grace Miller up front for head coach Tanya Santee's club. Excellent.

No. 1

Naya Shime, Riverton, girls track

Shime won all four events she was entered in at the Worland Invitational on Thursday, claiming honors in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, as well as the high and long jumps. The freshman flash continues to sparkle and she's just getting started, leading a stable of young Lady Wolverine athletes in what looks to be a renaissance across all sports. Now, she's earned another honor -- Fremont County's No. 1 star of the week.

Very cool, indeed.

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