Jul 11, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton fell 8-6 in the second game of a doubleheader in which both games were played with wooden bats in advance of a wooden-bat tournament Friday through Sunday in Douglas. Riverton will play either Douglas or Rawlins.
The Riverton Raiders held off the Lovell Mustangs 10-9 in the opening game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Roy Peck Field to snap a six-game losing streak.
The Mustangs edged Riverton 8-6 in second game of the doubleheader.
Riverton had beaten Lovell 5-4 on the road for its last victory on June 28, before Wednesday's win.
"It's always a big deal for us when we win," Riverton manager Brady Beers said. "It was especially big for us now as we lost a couple of key players.
"A couple of guys have decided that they don't want to play anymore."
The two players that left the team were Josh Parker and Leif Krumland.
The two games Wednesday were played with wooden bats.
"I'm happy with the way that they hit," Beers said.
"For some reason this team hits better with wood bats than with metal bats."
The Raiders play in a wooden bat tournament Friday through Sunday in Douglas.
Riverton plays the winner of Rawlins-Douglas on Friday night.
Riverton 10, Lovell 9
Riverton's offense clicked from the start in the opening game.
In the bottom of the first inning, Baylor Beers had a two-run double, and Delbert Wichelhaus followed it up with an RBI single.
Lovell retook the lead in the top of the second with five runs for a 6-3 advantage against Riverton starter Andrew Von Rein.
In the bottom of the second, Ryan Axthelm blasted a two-run triple to pull the home squad to 6-5.
"Ryan is on fire at the plate," Beers said.
"His fundamentals are solid all the way around. He is an important player right now in the middle of our lineup."
Riverton added three more runs for an 8-6 lead after three innings of play.
In the top of the fourth inning, Lovell's Dylan Pickett connected for a two-run homer over the left field fence to tie the score at 8-8.
Lovell went up 9-8 before the Raiders tied it at 9-9. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ridge McCoy knocked in the game-winning run with a single.
Devin Matsen came on the mound in last three innings to keep Lovell scoreless for the victory.
"Devin threw a lot of pitches for us Sunday against Evanston," Beers said.
"His arm was tired. We made the decision that Devin was the guy that we needed to win the game."
Riverton lost to Evanston 15-2 on Sunday in a conference game.
Lovell 8, Riverton 6
Wichelhaus was the surprise starting pitcher for Riverton in the second game of the doubleheader.
Wichelhaus had only pitched once before this year for the Raiders.
He struggled with his control at times, hitting six Lovell batters in seven innings, but the home team jumped ahead of Lovell 6-1 after the first three innings. The Mustangs put together five runs in the fourth inning to deadlock the score at 6-6.
Lovell took the lead for good in the top of the sixth at 7-6.
Riverton had an opportunity to tie the score in the bottom of the inning when Axthelm and Baylor Beers had back-to-back singles.
Hatfield loaded the bases on a walk.
Reed Axthelm put a bunt down only to have Ryan Axthelm be thrown out at home plate.
Lovell struck out the next two Riverton batters to remain ahead by one.
In the top of the seventh, Lovell scored its final run on a wild pitch for the two-run lead.
Lovell pitchers struck out the side in Riverton's final final at-bat.