Jul 31, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe U.S. Energy girls fastpitch team opened pool play with games on Wednesday.
The Riverton U.S. Energy girls fastpitch team from Riverton finished third at the state tournament in Cheyenne to qualify for the Western ASA Under-18 tournament in Salem, Ore.
The national tournament will feature 16 teams from the western United States.
Riverton opened the tournament with two pool play games on Wednesday. Riverton learned its opponents just before the tournament started.
Bracket play starts Thursday afternoon. The tournament ends on Saturday with the championship games.
"These girls are excited and ready to play in this tournament," Riverton U.S. Energy Mark Stone said. "This is probably the highlight of their careers for most of these players. They will be playing on a national stage and playing great teams. I think they are looking forward to seeing how they compare to some of the elite teams at nationals. They appear ready to play to me."
A highlight for the Riverton team was a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Cheyenne Extreme at the state tournament in pool play.
The Extreme went on to beat Gillette in the title game.
"I expect the girls to play hard and compete," Stone said. "We have to play great defense, we have to hit the ball, and our pitchers have to throw strikes. In reality this is still just a game that is won by the players on the field. We can coach them, we can get them ready, but we can't play the game for them. In the end it's their game to win or lose."
Jerry Love and Steve Earnest are the two assistant coaches for Stone.
Danette Stone and Malissa Jennings are the scorekeepers.
"I expect these girls to have fun," Stone said. "I expect them to come ready to play. I want them to represent our city and our state in a positive manner and show good sportsmanship win or lose. I want every player who came to know they gave their best effort at the national tournament."
Riverton will go with Kendal Krumland in left field. Jordan Love is at center, and Andrea Roseno is set to play right.
Shanice Webb is the third baseman. Caroline Dewittt is the catcher.
Hannah Soll plays shortstop. Dayna Zertuche is the first baseman.
McKinley Earnest is the starting pitcher. She is the ace for Riverton. Love and Webb also will see pitching time.
"In pool play, I will try to get all three pitchers about the same amount of work," Stone said.
Other players on the roster but not going to nationals are Katelyn Jennings, Christina Martinsen, Sierra Hernandez, Bri Siebert, Fredde Armajo, Rachel Rapp and Randi Miller.
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