May 26, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorAlex Fabricus homered for the home side as Riverton lost both ends of a conference doubleheader to the Cubs.
When Alex Fabricus stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the second inning during the second game of Riverton's American Legion baseball doubleheader at Roy Peck Field on Thursday, his team needed a boost.
The Raiders had been blasted by Cody in the lid-lifter of the twinbill, 14-5, and were already down a run at 1-0 in the nightcap of their A West conference-opening confrontation with the Cubs.
What didn't need a boost was the ball Fabricus launched high into the evening sky, finally settling into the scrub 350 feet away well beyond the left-center field fence.
Once his cowhide satellite returned from orbit and he rounded the diamond to be greeted by his teammates, the game was deadlocked at 1-1, and hope was restored to the Riverton nine.
According to Raiders manager Troy Brown, the homer was exactly what his club needed at that point in the proceedings.
"It was huge for us," said Brown. "Alex had a good night at the plate and in the field."
However, the blue-and-gold-clad visitors from the north quickly restored order to the proceedings like cops calming a riot, getting that run right back the next half-inning, then eventually adding five more to take the second game by a 7-1 scoreline.
Matt Fisher took the ball as the mound man for the Raiders in the second contest and did well in baffling the Cody hitters with an effective mix of fastballs and breaking balls, keeping Cody off balance and his club in the game.
Unfortunately, his opposite number, Cody starter Cooper Brown, matched Fisher - and then some.
The smooth-throwing righty hurled six innings of one-run ball, allowing only four hits and a single walk, with the only mistake being the one Fabricus deposited into the bushes.
At the plate, Brown was equally as deadly in the cleanup spot, going 3-for-4, with a double and three RBIs, providing excellent protection for No. 3 hitter Jared Grenz, who also collected three hits, including a double and scoring three runs in the process.
In fact, the duo combined to go 6-for-8 with four runs scored in the middle of the Cody order and caused a headache for the Raiders the entire game.
Cody Frazier, Josiah Washington and Dalton Lassiter banged out base hits in addition to the Fabricus blast, but that was all the offense Riverton could muster.
After a sloppy defeat in the opener, the Raiders came out with more purpose in the second game, especially on the defensive side, as Frazier made a trio of sparkling plays from his third-base position, including deftly backhanding a shot down the line and expertly sliding from right to left while fluidly scooping up a pair of hard-hit grounders and gunning precisely to first, easily retiring the runners.
A pair of balls which were hit well over Frazier's head were tracked down by Fabricus in left field, who flashed leather with a pair of diving catches to steal extra bases from Cody batters.
Cody 14, Riverton 5
In the first game, Cody wasted no time in jumping on Raiders starter Dalton Baldes, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first, followed by five more in the second for a 7-0 lead.
Riverton came back in the bottom of the third, as catcher Anthony Allen led off with a single, then took second on a passed ball to put himself in scoring position.
But, the home side then ran itself out of a potential rally. Allen was caught in no-man's land between second and third on a Baldes grounder to the shortstop, who tagged Allen out.
Miscues like those simply can't be made against quality opposition, said Brown.
"We made those mistakes and it hurt us," he said. "We need to clean that up."
Dalton Lassiter then beat out an infield single, but Baldes was caught rounding second and was caught off by a quick throw before he could get back, leaving one on with two outs.
Fisher then reached on an error, followed by a Frazier walk to load the bases before consecutive bases-on-balls by Kyren Higgs and Washington forced home a pair of runs to make it a 7-2 game.
Cody's offense continued to roll, as the Cubs plated at least a pair of runs in every frame but the third and sixth innings on the way to an easy win.
Despite the double defeat, Brown maintains his club isn't far away from contending.
"After the first two innings of the first game, I thought we settled down and played much better ball," said Brown. "We weren't playing our game -- five errors in two innings isn't Raiders baseball. But, then we definitely picked it up."
Brown attributed the rough start to perhaps a bit of nerves for his squad based on who the opposition was.
"Our guys were tight in the beginning," said Brown. "I think maybe they were a little worried about playing Cody, but after that, especially in the second game, we relaxed and played how we have been."
Riverton (4-4, 0-2 A West) hosts the Roy Peck Invitational June 2-4.
Brown is confident in his club regardless of the mixed results they've produced to this early point in the current campaign, he said.
"We're still a work in progress and I'm happy with the team we have," said Brown. "I believe we're going to see good things and be a team to be reckoned with when we play to our potential."
Cody 2 5 0 2 3 0 2 -- 14
Riverton 0 0 2 1 0 0 2 -- 5
Cod - Wasia, 0-3; Blatt, 0-2; Williams, 0-1; Grenz, 2-5, RBI; Brown, 3-4, 2 3B, 4 RBI; Price, 2-4, 3 RBI; McLeod, 1-4, 2B, RBI; Polley, 2-4, 2B, RBI; Hays, 2-3; Harris, 0-1; Beaudrie, 1-3, RBI; Salzman, 0-0.
Riverton - Fisher, 0-4; Frazier, 1-3, 3B, RBI; Higgs, 0-1, 2 RBI; Washington, 0-3, RBI; A. Fabricus, 0-3; D. Fabricus, 0-2; Allen, 2-3, 2B; Baldes, 2-2; Martinez, 0-1; Lassiter, 2-3.
Cody 1 0 1 1 0 1 3 -- 7
Riverton 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1
Cody - Wasia, 1-3, RBI; Blatt, 0-4; Grenz, 3-4, 2B; Brown, 3-4, 2B; 3 RBI; Price, 1-4, RBI; McLeod, 1-2, 2B; Hays, 0-3, RBI; Polley, 1-2; Williams, 3-4, 2B, RBI.
Riverton - Fisher, 0-2; Roden, 0-2; Frazier, 1-3; Higgs, 0-3; Washington, 1-2;A. Fabricus, 1-3, HR, RBI; D. Fabricus, 0-3; Allen, 0-2; Baldes, 0-3; Lassiter, 1-3.
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