Aug 6, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton U.S. Energy manager Mark Stone felt his team was competitive in a couple of the fastpitch softball games last week at Western Nationals in Gillette, even though the team lost both.
In the other two games, Stone didn't know what happened in the Under-18 division. The local team went 0-4 in the two-day span.
In the first game of bracket play on Friday, Riverton lost 11-1 to the Quakes Black, Neb., team.
South Dakota Stomp sent Riverton home with a 12-8 loss.
The tournament started with pool play games. Riverton lost to Corona, Calif., 10-6, then fell to the same South Dakota Stomp team 17-2.
Riverton played the tournament with just 11 players. Three starters decided to not go.
"It's just too bad that we didn't have our whole team there, because it would have been a different tournament if we would have those other three starters with us," Stone said.
T.C. Thunder from Utah captured the national title.
The tournament ended the season for U.S. Energy.
"We will just rebuild for next year," Stone said. "We are going to gear up for Western Nationals next year in Spokane, Washington."
Riverton and Quakes Black were knotted 0-0 heading into the fourth inning, but Riverton had four errors in the inning as Quakes Black scored four runs.
Riverton's run came on a home run from McKinley Earnest.
Facing elimination, Riverton had opportunities to win vs. South Dakota Stomp.
Riverton yielded six runs in the first inning but chipped away at the lead, making it an 8-5 game.
In the first pool play game with the California state champion, both Earnest and Emily Ice smacked home runs for Riverton.
"They were both shots to center," Stone said. "You knew that when they were hit, they were gone."
Earnest pitched for Riverton.
"We kind of had a bad inning in the fourth," Stone said. "Other than that we played with them the whole time."
In the last pool play game, South Dakota was in control the whole time.
Earnest had her second home run of the tournament.
Jordan Love started but made a quick exit. Ice and Shanice Webb also saw time on the mound.
"We just ran into some hot bats, and we just didn't play very well either," Stone said.
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