Jul 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBlake Dale pitched hitless relief to help secure passage to the Babe Ruth state championship game on Sunday.
It's been one wild ride for Riverton Babe Ruth baseball at the 15-and-under all-stars in Casper this week.
After three blowout wins to open the tourney, Riverton finally met a strong challenge in the state semifinals against Gillette on Saturday.
However, after falling behind 3-1 after two innings, they fought back with four unanswered runs for a 5-3 victory.
Coming off a no-hitter in an opening-game 10-0 win against Newcastle on Wednesday, Blake Dale was once again unhittable against Gillette, hurling three hitless innings in relief of starter Jace LeClair, who allowed all three runs in his 1 1/3 innings of work to begin the game, although only one of those markers was earned.
In fact, the only hit Gillette could muster off LeClair, Dale or Vincent Brown, who closed out the game, was a second-inning single, when they scored their only runs of the contest.
No worries at all, though, as the three-time defending state champions came right back with three runs of their own in the top of the third for a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Remarkably, all three runners reached base and crossed the plate with two outs already in the frame after Dale struck out leading off, followed by a Trey Draper fly-out to center.
Kaden DeWitt, who entered the game with a .500 batting average in the postseason, began with a base hit, followed by a Brown single, which advanced DeWitt to third, leaving runners on the corners for Tryston Truempler, who drove home both with a double to left.
It was Truempler's third two-RBI double of the tournament and tied the score at 3-3.
Tyler McKiernan then plated Truempler with a base hit for a 4-3 lead before Riverton added an insurance run in the fourth on an RBI groundout which chased Ethen Vaughn home.
Riverton 20, Douglas 5
On Friday, Riverton quickly put Douglas to the sword with an 11-run explosion in the top of the first inning on their way to a dominant 20-5 win.
Riverton pounded out 10 hits and also took advantage of 14 bases-on-balls, along with a plethora of errors, wild pitches and passed balls.
In fact, Riverton's first four runs of the game were a result of passed balls finding their way to the backstop after the first five batters had drawn walks before a Rylan Koehn single drove home the fifth.
Vaughn led the way, finishing 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two batted in, as well as a fourth-inning double, Riverton's only extra-base hit.
On the mound, Draper, Paxton Rees, Damon DeVries and Brown combined for the victory.
Riverton will now face Newcastle on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the championship game.
Riverton 1 0 3 1 0 0 x -- 5
Gillette 0 3 0 0 0 0 x -- 3
Riverton - Dale, 0-3, RBI; Draper, 0-3; DeWitt, 1-4; Brown, 2-for-3, 2B, RBI; Truempler, 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI; McKiernan, 1-3, RBI; Lange, 0-3; Vaughn, 1-3; Koehn, 1-3; LeClair, 0-2.
Gillette - Balzer, 0-2; Reed, 0-3; Prosnick, 0-2; Evert, 0-3; Duncan, 1-2; Terrell, 0-3; Cotney, 0-1; Monger, 0-0; Davis, 0-1.
Douglas 0 0 4 1 0 x x -- 5
Riverton 11 2 3 4 x x x -- 20
Douglas - Spence, 0-1; Kleemerer, 0-2, RBI; Russell, 3-3, 2 RBI; Matthews, 0-3, RBI; Virtue, 0-3; Blaylock, 0-3; Lenzen, 0-3; Blake, 1-1; Cathcart, 0-2.
Riverton - Draper, 0-0; McKiernan, 0-2; DeWitt, 0-0; Lange, 1-2; Brown, 1-1, RBI; Truemplaer, 0-0; Dale, 0-2; Vaughn, 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Koehn, 2-4, RBI; DeVries, 1-1, RBI; Leach, 0-4; LeClair, 2-3, RBI; Rees, 1-2, RBI.
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