Jun 13, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe talent on the roster this year for the Riverton U.S. Energy girls fastpitch team figures to put the team in contention for the state title in the under-18 division.
One of the steps in the season is Saturday and Sunday, when Riverton hosts the annual U.S. Energy Fastpitch tournament.
The tournament starts at 8 a.m. Saturday with pool play games at the Martha, Everett, Jellis and Williams fields.
The Riverton-based team also has players from Casper, Rock Springs and Lander on the roster.
"We are a team that is dominated with 17- and 18-year-olds," Riverton manager Mark Stone said. "We have two pitchers who are very strong. They keep us in games. Their control is very good. They locate the ball very well."
Sunday will be used for bracket play, with the title games being played in the afternoon.
"We just have to play good solid defense and eliminate the errors," Stone said.
U.S. Energy is the only Riverton team in the tournament.
In 2012, Riverton had four teams in the field in different age groups.
Stone also is the tournament director.
"That is a little bit disheartening that no other Riverton team stepped up to play in this tournament," Stone said. "The tournament is down this year. We only have 19 teams this year. A part of that is the lack of Riverton teams and the lack of Cody teams. The total number of teams in the state is way down as well."
The U18 division is made up of Riverton, the Rock Springs Storm, Gillette Camels and the Gillette Heat.
Riverton plays at 11 a.m. vs the Gillette Camels.
At 2 p.m. Riverton goes against the Gillette Heat.
Riverton ends the tournament at 5 p.m. vs. the Rock Springs Storm.
"The Gillette Heat is a pretty young team," Stone said.
Teams in the U14 division are the Rock Springs Storm, Lander, Cody Pride, Douglas Dynamite and the Gillette Blue Jays.
"The Rock Springs team is probably the favorite in the U14 division," Stone said.
Rock Springs, Vernal (Utah), Casper, Green River, Gillette and Worland are in the U12 bracket.
Rock Springs, Vernal, Green River and Gillette make up the U10 field.
"There are going to be some great teams this weekend," Stone said. "It will be a lot of fun with some good athletes. There is going to be some great softball played in the tournament."
Riverton finished third in a tournament last weekend in Cheyenne.
"We played really well in the tournament," Stone said.
Riverton lost to the Cheyenne Extreme in the opening game of the tournament.
In the next game, U.S. Energy beat a team from Colorado.
Riverton handled the Gillette Camels 9-2 in the following game.
"We kind of dominated them," Stone said.
In bracket play, Riverton beat a team from Lyons, Colo., 6-4.
"The game ended up being closer than it should have been," Stone said.
In the championship semifinals, the Colorado Fusion blanked Riverton 5-0.
"We gave up four unearned runs in the first inning," Stone said.
Colorado Fusion went on to win the title.
"They are a really good team," Stone said.
The No. 1 pitcher for Riverton is McKinley Earnest.
Jordan Love is the No. 2 pitcher.
Madison Nipper is the third on the rotation.
The infield is anchored at third base with Hannah Soll.
Christina Martinsen is the shortstop.
"She is a great player," Stone said. "She is a solid athlete for us."
Brianne Siebert plays second. Caroline Dewit and Dayna Zertuche rotate at first base.
When Love isn't pitching, she is in center field.
Katelyn Jennings plays either left field or center.
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