Jul 25, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton is still alive in the double-elimination state tournament.
Gillette shocked Riverton, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to escape with a 15-14 win Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the 11- and 12-year-old state Little League baseball tournament in Laramie.
In the back-and-forth game, Gillette had a 7-2 lead before Riverton exploded for 11 runs in the top of the fifth inning for a 13-7 lead.
But Riverton couldn't protect the lead in the next inning.
"It was an exciting game, but unfortunately one that did not work out for us in the end," Riverton manager Scott Fabricus said. "Anytime you score 14 runs, you have to be pleased with your offensive production. We struggled defensively with some costly errors."
Cody beat Sheridan 13-9 on Wednesday in the other game in the four-team state tournament. The tournament is a double-elimination bracket.
Riverton and Sheridan squared off late Thursday to stay alive in Laramie.
"Our backs are against the wall a bit," Fabricus said. "We will have to tighten up defensively and continue the offensive production."
Cody and Gillette played in the semifinal game.
Riverton needs to win Thursday and Friday and twice on Saturday to claim the state title.
The title game is played Saturday morning.
Gillette 15, Riverton 14
Gillette slugger Zach Bradley connected on his first home run of the game with a two-run blast in the first inning off Riverton starter Dillon Fabricus.
Bradley's second homer was a three-run bomb in the bottom of the second inning to make it 6-1.
"We were not able to control the game as well as we had hoped with our pitching," manager Fabricus said.
Kobe Matsen belted Riverton's first home run in the top of the third with a solo one over the fence.
In the top of the fifth inning, Riverton came alive on the offensive end against Gillette's pitching staff.
Matsen had an RBI double in the big inning.
Mason Lucas put in an RBI single to trim the lead to 7-5.
Chase Garcia smashed a grand slam to give Riverton a 9-7 lead.
Riverton added four more runs to make it 13-7 cushion.
In the fifth inning, Matsen started on the hill before manager Fabricus went with Jaren Draper.
Gillette was up 15-13 after five innings.
Garcia hit a solo homer in the sixth inning.
"Chase was very good at the plate," Fabricus said. "The grand slam got us back in the game and ignited our big inning in the fifth."
Riverton couldn't push any more across home plate to force extra innings.
"Gillette played better than us on Wednesday," Fabricus said. "They earned the win."
Wednesday scores from 11- and 12-year-old state tournament
Game 1 -- Gillette 15, Riverton 14
Game 2 -- Cody 13, Sheridan 9.
Game 3 -- Riverton vs. Sheridan.
Game 4 -- Gillette vs. Cody.
Game 5 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 7 p.m.
Game 6 (championship) -- Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7 -- (If team from game 6 has one loss), 1 p.m.
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