By: Shawn O’Brate
DOUGLAS – Saturday marked the second annual Class ‘A’ All-Star game in Douglas and a flurry of Riverton Raiders baseball players joined in the fun after being named All-State or All-Conference in the baseball program last week.
Riverton’s Jorey Anderson, Joel Bever, Nathan Hutchison, Hunter Hauck, Carter Noseep and Christopher Reinig all had the honor of playing in the fairly new event which was hosted by the Douglas Cats team.
Raiders’ head coach Kevin “Wally” Lofthus and assistant coach Dan Hauck made the trip to watch their players show out for the West All-Star team which carried 24 players in the major game.
The Raiders’ All-Stars shared the dugout with some of the best players from Green River, Lovell, Powell and Rawlins with Powell’s coach Jason Borders leading the parade alongside other coaches from the accompanying teams.
Before the game began on Saturday there was a home-run derby Friday night that went down to the wire with the West team winning in a swing-off by a score of 8–7. Sadly, the West’s luck would not continue into the next day’s activities.
The East would come out swinging, especially Douglas’ Cameryn Spence who would eventually win the MVP, with a three-run inning in the fourth and a five-run inning to cap the game in the ninth inning.
Spence, who won the MVP, had two hits and four RBIs but the Raiders’ Nathan Hutchison was one of the players to watch on the day.
Hutchison would finish with one single and a stolen base, but with 23 other batters in the order he was only able to stand in the batter’s box two times in the nine-inning game.
“It’s definitely a fun experience,” Hutchison said about his second straight All-Star game, “it’s always fun to be around guys who love baseball as much as me and are really good at it too.”
Hutchison, and the rest of the Raiders’ bats, wouldn’t be enough to help spring them ahead of the East All-Star team as they would fall 9-2 at the end of the day.
After the game was over the Raiders’ season became officially over until next Spring when the team begins to ramp up their pre-summer practices, but not for Hutchison.
Hutchison is foregoing his senior year football season, where he plays quarterback and strong safety for the Riverton Wolverines, in order to play Fall baseball for a Casper team and the Premier West Colorado program.
While the Wolverines will miss Hutchison’s play-making ability on the gridiron it’s Hutchison’s baseball skills that he knows can propel him far and above the rest of the competition in college. Not only that, he will be more fresh and have even more experience for the next Raiders’ season which coach Wally is already planning games and trips for.
“We’re going to be a lot more experienced and more competitive,” Hutchison said about next years Raiders squad, “more games will help next year too, we’ll be an older team which will be nice because we’ve always been one of the younger teams.”
Hutchison and the rest of the Raiders players that participated in the All-Star game deserved every bit of recognition they received over the season and, hopefully, this postseason experience will help them grow as players and as Raiders for the upcoming season.