Aug 2, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton finished second in the state tournament, its best finish in 27 years.
Riverton Little League all-star baseball manager Scott Fabricus knew before the postseason journey started that he had a group of talented players to go deep into the state tournament.
The 11-and 12-year-old all-star players lived up to those expectations with a runner-up finish last Saturday at the state tournament in Laramie.
Cody outlasted Riverton 13-11 in the title game.
Riverton would have had to beat Cody twice before they could celebrate a championship.
Riverton team members for the 2013 all-star team were Cody Frazier, Jaren Draper, Kobe Matsen, Chase Garcia, Hayden Wempen, James Hampton, Mason Lucas, Dillon Fabricus, Peyton Rees, Dillon Lange, Isaac DeVries, Jereko Martinez, Kendric Muehler and Beau Saindon.
"It was an excellent ride," Fabricus said. "This group of kids played some extra baseball. Looking back at it, we probably had as good as season in Riverton as team has had in a long time. "
The finish was the best one for Riverton since winning the state championship in 1986. Riverton placed third at the 2011 and 2010 state tournaments.
"The team should be pretty good again next year," manager Fabricus said.
Fabricus was assisted by Brad Matsen and Les Wempen.
"Les and Brad were great," Fabricus said. "You couldn't have asked for more. Both of those guys are great baseball guys. They know a lot about the game. I appreciate everything that they did."
Cody jumped on Riverton 12-2 in the title game before the Fremont County team put a scare into the defending champions. Riverton pounded Gillette 18-6 Friday, July 26, for a spot in the big game.
"We started off pretty slow," Fabricus said. "We played a Friday night game. We stayed up pretty late."
After the slow start, Riverton closed it to 12-8, but could never take the lead.
"It took us a couple of innings before we started to get going," Fabricus said. "We gave up three unearned runs in the first inning."
Cody had 16 hits in the title game. Riverton finished with 14.
"The difference in the game was that we had a couple of errors early the game," Fabricus said. "Cody played just a little bit better defense than we did."
Riverton slipped by Cody 4-3 in the district championship game two weeks ago in Riverton.
"It was pretty emotional after the state championship game," Fabricus said.
"A lot of the kids were disappointed. It just didn't work out for us."
Riverton connected for 22 home runs in all-star play, including two warmup games with Lander before the district tournament started.
Garcia led the way with seven home runs. Garcia belted two home runs in the title game. Wempen added six and Frazier four.
"We had a lot of big, powerful strong kids," Fabricus said. "The kids hit some bombs. Some of those home runs went a long way."
Riverton had a team batting average close to .440.
"We hit the ball pretty well for batting average," Fabricus said. "We had a good group of kids."
Respect for Cody
"Cody has a sister program called Cody Stampede baseball," Fabricus said.
"They have tryouts, they probably play 30 to 50 games each year. By the time that kid is 12 years old, the kid has played 50 to 75 extra games of baseball. Their kids are very schooled. They are very fundamentally sound. Their outfield play is pretty good."
With the win over Riverton, Cody started play Friday at the Western regional tournament in San Bernardino, Calif.
"There is a reason why Cody won its second straight state title," Fabricus said.
"I think all of those things add up."
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