Jul 25, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton's opponent has won the last six state Little League championships.
The Riverton 11-12-year-old Little League baseball all-stars drew Laramie in the first game of the four-team state baseball tournament Wednesday night in Green River.
Laramie enters the double-elimination tournament going for its seventh straight state Little League title. Game time is 8:30 p.m.
Riverton is a No. 2 seed after losing to Cody last week in the district title game. Cody is a No. 1 seed for the tournament.
Cody and Gillette opened the tournament Wednesday afternoon.
"Laramie is kind of the gold standard as far as Little League baseball in Wyoming goes," Riverton coach Scott Fabricus said. "They have very good players and a very good program. It should be a chance for us to measure us against the best there is."
Laramie is a No. 1 seed for the state tournament after winning the District 2 title last Friday in Gillette. Laramie lost to Gillette 9-6 in an earlier game at the district tournament. Laramie ran past Gillette 17-2 in the title game. Laramie outscored its four district opponents 47-16.
"We are looking forward to it," Fabricus said. "We had a good week of practice. I understand that Laramie has a lot of strong pitchers and is a very good hitting team. We will have our work cut out for us for sure."
The loser of Riverton-Laramie plays at 1 p.m. Thursday in a consolation game against the loser of Cody-Gillette. The winner of the game plays the winner of Cody-Gillette at 4 p.m.
"We can't make any mistakes," Fabricus said. "Pitching is the key. Good pitching will beat strong hitting. Our pitchers have to throw strikes and keep the ball down low. I believe that our chances in this tournament will come down to how strong our pitchers are."
The title game is 1 p.m. Saturday in Green River.
The winner of the state tournament advances to the Northwest Region in San Bernardino, Calif.
On the hill
Fabricus said Wednesday morning that the Riverton coaching staff hasn't decided on the starting pitcher for the game with Laramie.
Fabricus did say the top pitchers in the rotation are Jaren Draper, Dillon Fabricus and Ridge McCoy.
"Ridge has looked sharp in practice the last couple of nights," Fabricus said. "Ridge is a big, strong kid. He has really been throwing strong."
Draper and Fabricus pitched in Riverton's wins last week at the district tournament in Cody.
"Jaren is fundamentally outstanding," coach Fabricus said. "He keeps the ball down low. He throws strikes. He doesn't make mistakes. He puts the ball where it needs to be."
Draper was on the mound in Riverton's victory over North Big Horn.
"Jaren just doesn't give up," Fabricus said.
Dillon Fabricus pitched in the semifinal win over Green River.
"Dillon sometimes overpower kids when he is on," coach Fabricus said. "For whatever reason, those two 11-year-olds throw the ball well."
Fabricus said Riverton has had a good week of batting practice.
"We need to be aggressive on our baserunning. It seems like we had a lot of two-out rallies in the games that we were able to win. We have some speed at the top of the order."
State 11-12-year-old tournament schedule
Wednesday through Saturday
Game 1 4 p.m. -- Cody vs. Gillette
Game 2 8:30 p.m. -- Laramie vs. Riverton
Game 3 1 p.m. -- Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 4 p.m. -- Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 5 4 p.m. -- Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 6 noon -- Champion -- Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7 3 p.m. -- Championship (if necessary) -- Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (Winner advances to Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, Calif.).
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