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Raiders battle top seed Sheridan as Legion district play begins in Powell

Jul 24, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Riverton learned Monday it will be a No. 4 seed for the North district A American Legion baseball tournament on Wednesday through Saturday in Powell.

The Raiders open the tournament Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Sheridan.

Sheridan swept Riverton 21-0 and 13-0 in the final two regular season games on Sunday. Sheridan is a No. 1 seed for the district tournament.

"We pitched five really young pitchers on Sunday against Sheridan," Riverton assistant coach Cody Beers said. "Sheridan is a team that is extremely experienced. Most of them have been together for four years for legion baseball. We are a big underdog going in. Sheridan has to be the favorite to win the A state championship."

Riverton split against conference foe Lovell on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders won the first game 10-3 vs. Lovell. The Mustangs edged Riverton 8-6 in the second game.

Lovell and Riverton went 2-2 against each other in league play to finish tied in the Northwest conference. Beers said the tiebreaker was a 14-12 victory for the Mustangs over the Raiders in a non-conference game in Douglas. Lovell will be a No. 3 seed for the district tournament.

The loser of the game on Wednesday will play against the loser of Douglas (No. 3 seed/Northeast) and Cody (No. 2 seed/Northwest) at 10 a.m. on Thursday in the consolation game. Riverton needs to win three games to qualify for the state tournament.

"The biggest thing for this team is that we need to make the routine plays on defense," Beers said.

Powell and Sheridan come into the district tournament with the No. 1 seeds. Sheridan is 5-0 against the Pioneers.

The top two teams from the district qualify for the state tournament.

The South district begins Wednesday in Jackson. Two teams the district will make up the rest of the state A tournament.

Riverton

Johnny Souza and Gerald Childers enter the tournament for the Raiders as the top two pitchers on the staff.

The coaching staff hasn't decided if the two veterans will be throwing in the game with Sheridan or save them for later on in the tournament.

Maurice King made the decision not to play for the Raiders in postseason play. King has been the No. 3 pitcher for Riverton.

Nick Esposito anchors the defense for Riverton from his catching position.

"When Nick is catching, he gives an advantage over a lot of teams because he calls a great game," Beers said.

When Souza isn't pitching, he is the shortstop. Brady Beers plays either third base or second. Baylor Beers starts at first base.

Riverton will take 12 or 13 players for the district tournament.

Three of the players are Devin Matsen, Josiah Washington and Jordan Mills. Riverton brought the players up after the Riverton Babe Ruth season ended.

North district at Powell on Wednesday

10 a.m. -- Douglas (No. 3 seed/Northeast) vs. Cody (No. 2 seed/Northwest).

1 p.m. -- Lovell Mustangs (No. 3 seed/Northwest) vs. Casper Drillers (No. 2 seed/Northeast).

4 p.m. -- Riverton (No. 4 seed/Northwest) vs. Sheridan (No. 1 seed/Northeast).

7 p.m. -- Gillette (No. 4 seed/Northeast) vs. Powell (No. 1 seed/Northwest).

Thursday

10 a.m. -- Douglas/Cody loser vs. Riverton/Sheridan loser.

1 p.m. -- Lovell/Casper loser vs. Gillette/Powell loser.

4 p.m. -- Douglas/Cody winner vs. Gillette/Powell winner.

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