Jul 28, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorCody Frazier was 5-for-6 with five runs batted in during a victory at the American Legion state tournament.
Saying Cody Frazier is seeing the ball well at the plate right now is like claiming Columbus made a slight discovery once he crossed the Atlantic.
After a walk-off single to win Wednesday's extra-innings opener against Gillette at the American Legion A state tournament in Cowley, Frazier went 5-for-6 with five runs batted in during a 14-4 victory against Cheyenne on Thursday, which advanced the Riverton Raiders to a showdown against Cody on Friday.
Yes, safe to say, Frazier is hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth-of-July at the moment.
While Riverton's opener against Gillette was a nail-biter to the very end, Thursday's affair was quite the opposite.
The Raiders wrested control right off the bat with three runs in the top of the first, plating a pair of early markers before even a single out had been recorded.
Brodie Roden singled on the first pitch of the game, then scored on a Kyren Higgs double, bringing Frazier to the plate with a runner in scoring position, which is like waving a steak in front of a starving dog with the way the Raiders third baseman has been crushing the ball recently.
Frazier took a pitch for a strike, then lashed a single to left, chasing Higgs home in the process and just like that, it was 2-0.
But, the Raiders weren't yet done with their early assault, as Alex Fabricus reached on an error, putting runners on the corners, bringing Josiah Washington to the plate, who lifted a sacrifice fly to center for the first out of the frame, scoring Frazier in the process to make it 3-0 after a half-inning.
Riverton manager Troy Brown appreciated the way his club wasted no time in getting on the board early and often.
"Our guys jumped right out and hit the ball like madmen," said Brown. "Every hard-hit ball fell in."
Speaking of which, Frazier's big game was simply a carry-over from the previous day's contest, he said.
"Cody simply continued what he was doing against Gillette," said Brown. "Even though he only had two hits yesterday to show for it, every ball he hit hard and today they all fell."
Roden took the ball and climbed the mound to face the Hawks in the bottom of the first and began a solid outing which saw him throw 116 pitches over five innings, during which he limited Cheyenne to only two earned runs, while striking out four.
After the Hawks had pulled one back in the first, Riverton responded with another pair of its own in the third and once again, it was that man Frazier, who began the inning with a double to left.
Alex Fabricus followed Frazier's lead with another double, scoring Frazier before a Dillon Fabricus sacrifice fly brought his brother home for a 5-1 advantage.
Once again, the Hawks could muster only a single marker off Roden in their half of the inning and from there on out, it was all Riverton, as they exploded for five runs in the fourth, highlighted by Jaren Draper's thee-run homer after Roden had walked and scored on a Frazier triple, making it 10-2.
The Raiders scored four more runs over the next four innings and the game ended after eight due to the 10-run rule.
Jereko Martinez relieved Roden with three innings of relief without allowing an earned run and striking out three to close the game.
Just as Dillon Lange had provided solid relief in the opener, Martinez did the same against Cheyenne after both had been added to the roster from the Raiders' B squad for extra depth in the postseason, but also providing a peek at what the future holds, said Brown.
"Our extra arms are really helping out right now," he said. "What these guys are doing is giving us a nice preview of what next season has in store."
Frazier fell only a home run short of the cycle during his 5-for-6 performance and scored three runs.
Higgs, Dillon Fabricus and Draper each had a pair of hits with the latter pair driving in three runs apiece in the game.
Riverton will next face Cody, who defeated Douglas, 20-2 on Thursday, to also remain in the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament, with a victory advancing them to Sunday's championship game.
Entering this season, the Raiders hadn't defeated the Cubs in any of the last four campaigns, but that changed with a 7-5 road victory against their nemesis to the north on June 25, a win which has provided his charges with a mental boost entering the latest matchup, said Brown.
"Our guys are really confident," he said of his squad, which is the only club in the entire state to have defeated every other A division team this season. "Our approach continues to be one of no anxiety. Everything we do here at state is icing on the cake compared to what we've already accomplished this season."
However, Brown did recall a conversation which took place during the very first meeting he had with his players after being hired as the Raiders' new manager all the way back in February.
"I asked the players what their goal was this season," he said. "Ridge McCoy stood up without hesitation and said, 'Win state,' so here we are."
Riverton 3 0 2 5 2 1 0 1 x -- 14
Cheyenne 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 x -- 4
Riverton - Roden, 1-2, 4 BB; Higgs, 2-6, 2B, 3B, RBI; Frazier, 5-6, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI; A. Fabricus, 1-4, 2B, RBI; Washington, 1-3, 2B, RBI; D. Fabricus, 2-4, 3 RBI; Draper, 2-6, HR, 3 RBI; Baldes, 0-1; Lassiter, 0-2; Fisher, 0-2, 2 BB; Martinez, 0-2.
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