Jul 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorRiverton beat Cheyenne, Lovell and the host Cats in pool play.
For Riverton Raiders manager Troy Brown, regular-season tournaments are an opportunity to prepare his club for the one which really matters, that being the state tourney at season's end.
Although winning is still the priority, if various aspects can be worked on in live game situations in contests which don't count in conference standings, so be it.
However, the Raiders have continued winning regardless this campaign in such scenarios, the latest example being a visit to Douglas for the Bolln Memorial Tournament this weekend.
On Friday, Riverton faced the host Cats and defeated Douglas by a 7-3 score, as Brodie Roden posted a gutty, 112-pitch performance in going 5 2/3 innings for the win, with Kryen Higgs closing the game on the mound, getting the final out.
Josiah Washington went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in to lead the Raiders' offense.
Despite the victory, Brown wasn't as pleased as he would've liked in the aftermath.
"We didn't play extremely well, especially with some of the errors we made," said Brown. "We weren't happy with our performance in the field or at the plate."
Riverton got out to an early 5-0 lead, which continues a trend which they have followed most of the season and for good reason, said Brown.
"We want to come out and play good ball from the get-go," he said. "By doing that, you're sending a message to the other team."
Riverton 5, Cheyenne 4
On Saturday in the early game, Matt Fisher went the distance in a complete-game victory, throwing 101 pitches, while allowing only five hits in a 5-4 victory against the Cheyenne Hawks.
Center fielder Brodie Roden continued his sparkplug offense atop the Raiders order, going 2-for-4 with a double and four runs batted in.
Riverton plated the first three runs of the game in the bottom of the second, as Dillon Fabricus was hit by a pitch, then moved up a base to second on a Jaren Draper single.
Dalton Baldes then banged a base hit to load the bases for Dalton Lassiter, who struck out before Roden doubled to chase home all three Riverton runners.
After the Hawks pulled back a single marker in the third, the Raiders plated another pair in the bottom half, like a poker player who saw his opponent's bet and upped the ante with a raise.
Indeed, it was the Riverton nine who held the cards on this day.
A one-out single by Washington began it, but he was erased on a Dillon Fabricus fielder's choice before Draper singled to center.
Baldes singled again to load the bases just as in the previous inning, only this time Lassiter took one for the team, being hit by a pitch to force home Fabricus from third.
Roden then singled to left, driving home Draper and it was 5-1 after three innings.
Fisher made only a single mistake the rest of the way, giving up a three-run homer in the fourth, which closed out the scoring as the final two-and-a-half frames were scoreless with the contest ending after six due to a tournament-imposed time limit.
With a one-run game against quality opposition, Brown rued the fact the proceedings weren't allowed to continue to a regulation conclusion.
"I would've liked to see how that would've ended up," said Brown. "We had Baldes ready to come in out of the bullpen to close the game."
As for Fisher's effort, the Riverton manager praised his ability to limit damage and work out of jams, he said.
"Matt definitely pitched out of some pressure situations when he needed to make pitches," said Brown. "He limited their scoring opportunities."
Riverton 11, Lovell 1
Neither time limits nor regulation was needed as the Raiders followed up the win against Cheyenne by stepping right back on the field immediately and defeating Lovell by a final of 11-1.
Riverton stuck to their modus operandi of scoring early and often, with three runs in the top of the first.
Higgs doubled followed by consecutive bases-on-balls to Cody Frazier and Washington to load the bases.
Dillon Fabricus then opened the scoring with an RBI groundout to score Higgs, followed by a Draper double, which drove in Frazier and Washington with all the runs Riverton would need on the day.
Riverton scored four runs each in the third and fourth innings, highlighted by a Roden single to plate a pair in the third, then a double to drive home another in the fourth.
On the mound, Jereko Martinez took care of business in his first career start with the A squad, pitching four innings without allowing an earned run and striking out three, while Washington filled in at the other end of the battery.
"Jereko's pitched well for us as a starter for the B team this year and had relieved for the A team," said Brown. "Alex's (Fabricus) back was bothering him a bit, so we put Josiah in to catch and he did a fine job for us."
Riverton (29-16, 8-6 A West) will next face Wheatland on Sunday at 2 p.m., with a victory against the Lobos moving them on to the championship game at 4:30 p.m.
Riverton 2 1 2 1 0 1 x -- 7
Douglas 0 0 3 0 0 0 x -- 3
Riverton - Roden, 0-1, RBI; Higgs, 0-3; Frazier, 2-4, 2B; A. Fabricus, 2-3, 2B; Washington, 2-3, 2 RBI; Draper, 0-3, RBI; Baldes, 0-2, RBI; Lassiter, 0-3; Fisher, 0-3.
Cheyenne 0 0 1 3 0 0 x -- 4
Riverton 0 3 2 0 0 0 x -- 5
Riverton - Roden, 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI; Higgs, 1-3; Frazier, 0-2; A. Fabricus, 0-2; Martinez, 0-1; Washington, 1-3; D. Fabricus, 0-2; Draper, 2-3; Baldes, 2-3; Lassiter, 0-2, RBI.
Riverton 3 0 4 4 x x x -- 11
Lovell 0 0 1 0 x x x -- 1
Riverton - Roden, 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Higgs, 2-3, 2B; Frazier, 1-2; Washington, 0-0, 3 BB; D. Fabricus, 0-3, RBI; Draper, 1-1, 2B, 2 RBI; Baldes, 0-2, RBI; Lassiter, 0-1; Fisher, 0-1.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.