By Shawn O’Brate & Travis Gupton
Green River- The Riverton Raiders’ season came to an end on Tuesday after losing two games in the district tournament.
In game one the raiders fell to Powell by a final of 12-2. The Raiders struggled to get anything going offensively throughout the game, they recorded their two runs on just two hits with no RBIs. They were also struck out 11 times which did not help them regain the confidence they had for most of their late season games.
Derrick DeVries, Christopher Reinig and Jorey Anderson pitched in the first game, combining for six innings of work. They gave up 12 runs on 11 hits and only tossed three strikeouts while walking five Powell players. It was also not a great day for the Raiders’ fielding as they recorded ten errors, hurting all three pitchers’ showing on the mound.
The loss brought up a win-or-go home scenario against the District Tournament’s host team, the Green River Knights.
The Knights ended the Raiders season by a final of 14-4, enacting the second mercy rule against Riverton in as many games.
The Raiders combined for their four runs on five hits against the Knights’ pitchers.
Meanwhile, the pitching for the Raiders threw out Ryan Cox, Hunter Hauk, Nathan Hutchison and Anderson, trying to get the best and freshest arms to save their season from ending.
In the end they would combine for 12 walks and three strikeouts through the six inning matchup. Green River’s 14 runs were accumulated thanks to the Raiders’ 11 hits they gave up alongside seven errors.
The Raiders finished their first season under new head coach, Kevin Lofthus, with a record of 18-15-1 and with plenty of things to be proud of. Things like their two tournaments won on the season, including their Roy Peck Wood Bat home tournament earlier this season.
After starting off 1–6 this season the Raiders truly turned things around at the beginning of June, winning six of their next eight games before really turning up the heat and going on multiple three and four game win streaks.
But, all is not lost for the new Raiders coach. He will be attending the state tournament and will already be planning out the schedule for next season. Lofthus will also be beginning to work on the fall program afterwards, keeping the Raiders future championships in his sights until the next time they can all take the field in their maroon-and-white jerseys.
With some time to simmer and marinate the season-ending loss, coach Lofthus had nothing but praise for the team and the way they composed themselves all season, as well as how amazingly they played to even get to that tournament as the #1 seed in their division.
“What an absolute disappointment to have the season end like this after so much progress,” Lofthus said, “But I could not be prouder of our kids. I love every player we have and their efforts this year. Raiders’ baseball is moving onwards and upwards.”
Lofthus then said that after dropping the boys off for the final time this season he traveled back to Roy Peck Field and “wept for awhile” at the disappointing ending to his first year as head coach.
To close out the comment he simply stated “Viva Los Raiders”, meaning ‘long live the Raiders’.
The Raiders still compiled a stellar season, a winning record, and fought hard to prove they belong in the conversations about strong, well-rostered teams in American Legion baseball. Needless to say, the future is bright for this Riverton Raiders squad! Congratulations on such an amazing season!