May 26, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton fastpitch softball president Mark Stone is making sure things run smoothly this season on the diamond.
Stone has been at the helm of the league for a number of years, and he's excited to get the league going this year.
"It's just something that we provide the young ladies in Riverton and the surrounding areas -- to play some softball in a league," Stone said. "Hopefully, we can develop some players for our traveling team."
The youngest division in the league is for 5-8-year-olds.
"They are machine pitch," Stone said. "They play somewhere around 12 to 14 games. They have a lot fun.
There is a good group of coaches that are doing that. They are mostly ex-players. The girls have good role models there."
The next division is 9-12.
"That is still a development league," Stone said. "It's not a competitive league. They have pitchers."
The oldest players are in the 13-18 age group.
"That is a competitive league," Stone said.
In 2012, there were three teams in the league from Riverton.
Lander fielded one team.
"I would like to have a little bit more," Stone said. "We are going to have at least three or four teams in that division."
Right now, the league is taking late registration for the season.
The fee is $75. Pick up registration forms at R Recreation, which is located in the Central Wyoming College Morfeld Activities Center.
The annual U.S. Energy fastpitch Invitational is June 14-16 in Riverton.
"It's always been on Fathers Day weekend for the 11 years," Stone said. "It will probably be the biggest invitational in the state."
Stone is expecting 25 teams for the tournament.
The age divisions are U10, U12, U14 and U18. Games are played on the Martha, Everett, Jellis and Williams softball fields.
Stone is expecting to send the Riverton-based U.S. Energy team to two state tournaments this summer in Cheyenne.
One will be in early June and the second one in July.
"We a favored to be very competitive for U.S. Energy," Stone said.
"We are pretty senior-laden team with 18-year-olds.
The first tournament for the U.S. Energy team is May 30 in Billings, Mont.
"We are going to seven tournaments this year," Stone said.
The other tournaments are in Rapid City, S.D., Gillette and in Oregon.
"We are pretty busy, but I want to give them a chance to go to nationals," Stone said. "They take this very serious."
The traveling squad has been taking ground balls and working on hitting for almost a month.
"We work on a lot of fundamentals and with the bunt play," Stone said.
"In order to be successful at big time softball you have to be able to play 'small ball.'"
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