Jul 23, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorBy Bruce Tippets
Deep pitching and powerful hitting have lifted the Riverton 11-and 12-year-old all-star team into the state baseball tournament.
The four-team state tournament opens at 1 p.m. Wednesday vs. Gillette in Laramie. The state tournament is a double-elimination bracket.
Cody won a 10-9 decision vs. Lander Saturday night in Riverton to secure a No. 2 seed for state.
Cody had to play in the game after losing to Riverton 4-3 in the district championship game.
Sheridan is the other team in the state tournament.
"We have been working hard for a long time," Riverton manager Scott Fabricus said. "Several of these kids have played traveling baseball since the spring. The whole idea was to get as much baseball in as possible in preparation in attempt to getting state and making a good run."
Riverton advanced to the state tournament last year in Green River but didn't make the title game.
Riverton last won a state Little League title in 1986.
"I hope the kids realize that these opportunities don't come easily. To get to this level and be playing at this point of the year is pretty special," Fabricus said.
The winner of the Riverton-Gillette game plays at 7 p.m. Thursday vs. the winner of Cody-Sheridan.
The consolation game will be played at 4 p.m. Thursday
"I wasn't surprised to see Gillette or Sheridan make it," Fabricus said. "I was a little surprised that Laramie didn't get out of the district tournament and into the state tournament. I'm sure that Gillette and Sheridan have worked very hard."
If Riverton wins the first two games it wouldn't have to play on Friday.
The title game will be played at noon Saturday.
"I'm a big believer that pitching and defense wins baseball games," Fabricus said. "The bats come and go. First and foremost, we are going to focus in on pitching. We will try to find the right mix for some timely hitting."
The pitching staff for Riverton is made up of Hayden Wempen, Dillon Fabricus, Kobe Matsen, Cody Frazier and Chase Garcia.
"We have a pretty good group of 12-year-olds that bring different strengths to the table. All can throw pretty hard," Fabricus said. "We are blessed with some good pitching."
Wempen won't be allowed to pitch on Wednesday in the opening game vs. Gillette because he threw 88 pitches in the district title game on Wednesday. Wempen must have four days of rest before he takes the hill again.
Fabricus said the starting pitcher for Riverton against Gillette hasn't been decided yet.
Cody 10, Lander 9
With a state tournament berth on the line, Lander jumped out with a 3-0 lead over Cody
"Cody played really tough," Lander coach Brian DeBolt said. "Our kids played as aggressive as they could against such a great team. "
The game bounced back and forth.
The two teams were deadlocked at 9-9 going into the sixth inning.
Antonio Coando started on the mound for Lander.
The tall right-hander went four innings. Ryan Brinda pitched the final two innings.
"They pitched great," DeBolt said. "That Cody team is such a solid hitting team."
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