Jul 6, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorSpeed and defense.
Those are the strengths this year for the 2012 Riverton 11-12-year-old Little League all-star baseball team.
"We can also throw a lot of pitchers," Riverton manager Mike Fisher said.
Riverton has spent the past week preparing for the postseason after ending the regular season Thursday, June, 28.
The Riverton all-stars are Kobe Matsen, Hayden Wempen, Ridge McCoy, Dillon Fabricus, James Hampton, Jaren Draper, Matt Fisher, Brodie Roden, Dalton Lassiter, Kyren Higgs, Cody Frazier and Peyton Rees.
The all-stars were picked from the five tams in the major league.
There are no returning all-stars this year, Fisher said. "It does make a big difference because they don't have the experience. We tried to build the experience by going to different tournaments this year."
In 2011, Riverton advanced to the state semifinals but lost to Laramie.
Laramie went on to win the state title the next day.
"They have grown ever week," Fisher said.
"They are doing great. There fielding is improving. Their hitting is improving."
Riverton opens the postseason Monday in a best-of-three series vs. the Lander Little League all-stars.
The first game is for 6 p.m. at the Ron Saban Baseball Complex in Riverton.
"Lander has improved a lot over the last couple of years," Fisher said. "We are going to have a tough series with them."
The second game of the series will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Lander. If necessary, the third game will be Thursday in Lander.
The winner of the series will be the No. 1 seed for the district tournament on July 18-20 in Cody. The top two teams from districts make the state tournament.
The assistant coaches for the all-stars are Shane Lassiter and Scott Fabricus.
Lassiter was the coach for the Rockies in the regular season, and Fabricus was the manager for the Yankees. Fisher coached the Cardinals.
The Cardinals won the regular season title but lost to the A's in the postseason title.
Hayden Wempen will miss the three-game series with Lander because of an injured knee.
Fisher is hoping to have Wempen back in time for the district tournament.
Wempen was scheduled to play catcher, pitcher and in the outfield for Riverton.
"He is a very good pitcher," Fisher said.
McCoy has locked down a starting position at first base.
"He is 5-11, so he is a good target for our infielders," Fisher said.
Lassiter and Frazier share time at second base.
"Most of our middle infielders will rotate," Fisher said.
Draper and Higgs are the shortstops.
Fabricus and Higgs will trade off at third base.
Higgs, Draper and Matt Fisher are the catchers.
"They all have very good arms," manager Fisher said. "They are very good defensively. They all know how to call the games."
Higgs, Draper, McCoy, Fabricus, Fisher and Lassiter all will see time on the mound vs. Lander.
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