Aug 11, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterThe Riverton 15-year old all-stars just didn't want to leave the Northwest regional baseball tournament in Baker City, Ore. After dropping their first three games in pool play the Riverton squad took North Oregon champion, The Dalles, into four extra innings before dropping an 8-7 decision to the Oregon team in the 11th inning.
The game lasted nearly three and a half hours and was easily the longest of the tournament.Riverton had its chances, with 13 hits spread throughout the 11 inning donnybrook, but stranded 19 runners in the process.
Any team from Oregon isn't a regular opponent of a Riverton baseball team, but it was the second time these two communities met on the diamond. The Dalles also ended the Riverton 14-year olds' appearance in the regional tournament back in 2001.
A shaky start by Riverton turned into a nail biter as the game progressed. The Dalles scored first on an error, a single and a passed ball to take a 1-0 lead after its first at bat.
Riverton knotted the game in the second inning, with leadoff batter Brayden Draper hit by a pitch, Reed Axthelm reaching on a throwing error, and a single by Teron Doeble that loaded the bases. Nikko Garcia popped up for an automatic out via the infield fly rule, but Matt Reining hit the ball hard, scoring Draper on a fielder's choice. The inning ended with Alex Fabricus swinging on a third strike.
The Dalles regained a 2-1 lead in the top of the second with a pair of runners on base with walks. Isaac Tapia's single scored Preston Cliff, and that was it offensively for The Dalles until the sixth inning.
Anthony Allen and Tyler Farrar both reached base on eight straight pitches as Dylan Jenkins couldn't find the strike zone for The Dalles. He finally found the zone, and Riverton hit the ball hard but high in the air for five straight fly balls to the outfield over the next two innings. Francisco Pereda, Draper, Axthelm, Doeble and Garcia all hit long fly-ball outs. The third ended with Reinig grounding out to short.
While the Riverton stars were unable to score in the second and third innings, they did hone in on Jenkins's pitches. Riverton erupted in the fourth for its best offensive inning of the entire tournament.
Allen, Farrar, Pereda, Draper and Axthelm hit five consecutive singles, and Doeble ripped a double to build a 6-2 lead. Garcia grounded out but tallied an RBI when Doeble came across the plate. Reinig was hit by a pitch, and Fabricus added another single, but the inning ended on a fly ball by Allen.
Holding a 7-2 advantage Riverton didn't score again over the next seven innings.
The Dalles closed the gap to 7-6 with six of the seven first batters in the sixth inning hitting singles. Doeble struck out one batter and the Riverton infield threw out two more to end the inning.
Doeble hit Denzel Ariano to open the seventh, followed by singles from Boston Votte and Tyler Weston that loaded the bases with no outs. Riverton picked off one base runner, but a Tanner Harrigan sacrifice bunt tied the game 7-7. Doeble struck out Aaron Manee to end the inning.
Riverton had a chance to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh when Axthelm hit a double with two outs. The Dalles intentionally walked Doeble, and Garcia reached on a walk to load the bases. Reining hit the ball hard but straight to third base for the force out and the game went to extra innings.
In the eighth, Wyatt Wichelhaus, Allen and Farrar all struck out. Tyler Weston pitched well for the Dalles in the extra four innings. In the ninth, Pereda hit a single. Draper attempted to bunt but popped the ball up to Weston. Axthelm flew out on a long fly ball, and Doeble was thrown out at first on a ground ball.
Defensively Riverton was stellar through the four extra frames. Francisco Pereda gave up just four hits and allowed the one decisive run as he came on in relief for Doeble in the eighth inning.
Pereda stuck out Cameron Wayne but hit Isaac Tapia. John Miller hit a single to put runners on first and second with the single out in the eighth. Axthelm caught a fly ball and Riverton's catcher, Allen, threw out Tapia as he tried to steal third with a strong throw to Fabricus for the tag.
Pereda struck out the first two batters in the ninth, then gave up a single to Weston before Cliff flied out to Reinig.
In the 10th Pereda struck out Harrigan, and Manee grounded out. Cameron Wayne came on in relief for The Dalles and reached on a walk. Tapia was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, and both runners moved to second and third on a balk call. Miller flied out to Axthelm to end the inning.
In the top of the 11th Dawson Hofflan hit a leadoff single, and Ariano was hit by a pitch. Votte hit a single to load the bases. Tyler Weston hit a hard grounder, but Riverton threw to first instead of home. Hofflan scored to give The Dalles an 8-7 lead. A walk to Cliff loaded the bases. Harrigan hit a line shot straight to Doeble, who caught the ball and tagged Ariano for the double play.
Riverton's final at bat of the season started with Farrar striking out and Pereda grounding out to shortstop. Draper hit a single and Axthelm hit a long fly ball that was caught, and Riverton fell 8-7.
Riverton's four loses all came in pool play, and the team did not advance to the championship bracket.
RIVERTON 1 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
THE DALLES 1 1 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 1
The Dalles: John Miller 2-6 2S, Dawson Hofflan 2-5 2S, Denzel Ariano 2-4 2S, Boston Votte 2-5 2S, Tyler Weston 3-6 3S, Preston Cliff 1-4 S, Tanner Harrigan 2-6 2B S, Aaron Manee 1-5 S, Dylan Jenkins 0-2 , Matt Changer 0-1, Isaac Tapia 2-3 2S, Cameron Wayne 0-1Riverton: Brayden Draper 2-5 2S, Reed Axthelm 2-6 2B,S, Teron Doeble 2-5, Nikko Garcia 0-4, Matt Reinig 1-5 S, Alex Fabricus 1-5 S, Anthony Allen 2-5 2S, Tyler Farrar 1-4 S, Francisco Pereda 2-5 2S, Wyatt Wichelhaus 0-1
Winning Pitcher: Cameron Wayne
Losing Pitcher: Francisco Pereda
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