Jun 6, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBrodie Roden pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings of shutout ball on the mound and hit a grand slam as Riverton won its home tournament with victories against Evanston and Douglas.
Brodie Roden is usually known for what he does with his legs.
However, on Sunday at Roy Peck Field, Riverton's speedy track star went to work with his arm and bat in respective Raiders victories.
On Sunday morning, Roden pitched three scoreless innings to close out a 4-3 win against Evanston, which propelled the Raiders into the championship game of the Roy Peck Invitational against Douglas.
As if that weren't enough, Roden then hurled another 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball and hit an eventual game-winning grand slam in an 11-5 victory over the Cats, which claimed the trophy for the home club on Sunday afternoon.
But, it wasn't all roses for the Raiders early in their title showdown against Douglas, as the Cats jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning, batting around in the process against Riverton starter Josiah Washington, who was replaced by Roden after retiring only two Douglas batters.
Meanwhile, Douglas starter Mason Barker was dealing for the Cats, tossing three innings of no-run ball, allowing only a Dillon Fabricus infield single in the second.
By the time the Raiders came to bat in the top of the fourth, as they were the visiting team despite playing on their home field due to their lower seed, Roden had already twirled 2 2/3 scoreless frames himself, baffling Douglas hitters with an accurate fastball mixed in with a biting curve, which left the Cats guessing.
Alex Fabricus began the inning with a leadoff walk, followed by a sharp Washington grounder, which was bobbled by third baseman Ransom Ollie just long enough for Washington to beat the belated throw across the diamond and Riverton was in business with runners on first and second with no outs.
Dillon Fabricus then walked to load the bases for Dalton Baldes, who drove home Alex Fabricus with an RBI groundout.
Dillon Fabricus then crossed the plate on a wild pitch and the score was 5-2 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
Roden retired six of seven batters over the course of the next two innings, which brought the Raiders where it would all go horribly wrong for the Cats.
Washington began the top of the fourth with a single to left, followed by a Dillon Fabricus shot to Ollie at third, who couldn't handle it and was charged with an error on the play.
Baldes then advanced Washington from second to third on a fielder's choice, while Dillon Fabricus was erased at second on the play, leaving runners at the corners with one out.
Another Douglas error, this one by second baseman Cy DeLuna on a Dillon Lassiter ground ball allowed Washington to score and the deficit was reduced to 5-3.
Ironically, it was Douglas' defense which betrayed them in this game, a rematch of Saturday's contest in which the Raiders had gifted them in the same fashion with sloppy defending in a 7-3 Riverton defeat.
But, Barker soldiered on despite the lack of leather from his teammates and almost got out of the inning relatively undamaged, despite a Dillon Lange walk after a Jereko Martinez third-strike foul tip was held onto by catcher Micheal Bobrowski, which brought Roden to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Close, but no cigar.
Roden lined an 0-1 pitch far over the fence in left-center field, clearing the bases, then following his teammates around the diamond before being mobbed by the entire team when he arrived at home plate.
Roden's blast had put the Raiders in the lead at 7-5, but they weren't yet finished scoring.
Cody Frazier was the next man up and took one for the team with a hit-by-pitch, then stole second before scoring on an Alex Fabricus single to center.
Baldes finally closed out the scoring with a line-drive double to right-center, which plated Washington and Dillon Fabricus and it was 11-5.
All that was left now was for Roden to finish off the Cats in the bottom of the sixth and he began well by striking out Ollie for the first out with his 77th pitch of the game for his fifth punchout on the day.
But, Riverton manager Troy Brown decided to replace him at that point with Lange, who slammed the door by retiring the side on a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a Douglas single.
The game ended after the sixth due to the two-hour time limit under the tournament rules.
Despite a complete-game, eight-strikeout, 118-pitch effort, Barker was victimized by nine unearned runs, as his defense let him down.
On the other side of the ledger, Riverton's defense kept a clean sheet, not committing a single blunder in the field, which had been their undoing in Saturday's loss.
Roden, Washington and Dillon Fabricus all had a pair of hits apiece, but none was bigger than Roden's moon shot.
"I knew it was gone the second I hit it," said Roden, who had a perfect day atop the Raiders' order, drawing a pair of walks to go with his two hits in four plate appearances. "It felt pretty good."
Brown wasn't surprised by the power display put on by his leadoff man, he said.
"Brodie's a strong kid," said Brown. "He really turned on it and squared it up."
Somewhat lost in the excitement of his round-tripper was his pitching performance, stretching back to the morning's game against Evanston.
All in all, Roden threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, needing a total of 118 pitches in the process.
"My four-seam fastball was working and so was my 12-to-6 curve," said Roden, who took last season off from baseball. "But, hitting a grand slam was definitely better."
Brown was equally impressed with Roden's pinpoint accuracy on the mound as he was with his prowess at the plate.
"He was feeling good and throwing effortlessly," said Brown. "He was pounding the strike zone and getting his curve over for strikes."
Brown acknowledged the fact the victory made amends for the loss to the Cats the day before, as well as serving as a catalyst for bigger and better things down the road.
"It was redemption for our players," said Brown. "Today, they did what we've been teaching and preaching."
As for being victorious in their home tournament, it's a step in the right direction for his club, but just that -- only a single step, he said.
"It's definitely a confidence-booster for us and we're going to enjoy the moment," said Brown. "But, we have to carry it over."
Riverton 4, Evanston 3
On Sunday morning, the Raiders were still recovering from Saturday's loss to Douglas in pool play when they took the field to face Evanston, with a chance to advance to the title game.
Riverton wasted no time against Outlaws starter Griffin Mitchell, scoring four runs in the top of the first.
Frazier and Alex Fabricus both drew walks before Washington singled to load the bases.
Dillon Fabricus then lined a double to right for a 2-0 lead, followed by a two-run single on a 3-2 pitch with two outs off the bat of Lange and it was 4-0, providing all the offense the Raiders would need, despite only getting four hits in the game.
The Outlaws pulled a pair back in the bottom of the first against Riverton starter Matt Fisher, who allowed only one earned run in his four innings of work.
Mitchell was masterful following the shaky opening frame, allowing only a Dillon Fabricus single in six scoreless innings the rest of the way, giving his teammates a chance to fight their way back into the game.
But, alas, the Outlaws could muster only another single marker, closing the gap to a one-run game at 4-3, before Roden relieved Fisher and closed the deal with three scoreless frames of relief.
Riverton (7-5, 0-2 A West) next played a doubleheader at Green River on Monday.
Riverton 0 0 0 2 0 9 x -- 11
Douglas 5 0 0 0 0 0 x -- 5
Riverton - Roden, 2-2, HR, 4 RBI; Frazier, 0-3; A. Fabricus, 1-3, RBI; Washington, 2-3; D. Fabricus, 2-3; Baldes, 1-3, 2B; 3 RBI; Lassiter, 0-4; RBI; Lange, 1-2; Martinez, 0-3.
Douglas - Bobrowski, 0-4; DeLuna, 1-3; Barker, 1-3; Hunsicker, 0-2; Silzell, 1-3; Brooks, 0-2; Shelver, 0-2; Ollie, 1-2; Howell, 3-3, 2 RBI.
Riverton 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 4
Evanston 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 -- 3
Riverton - Roden, 0-4; Frazier, 0-2; A. Fabricus, 0-1; Washington, 1-3; D. Fabricus, 2-3, 2 RBI; Baldes, 0-3; Lassiter, 0-2; Lange, 1-3; 2 RBI; Fisher, 0-2.
Evanston - McDonald, 1-4; Wicks, 2-3, RBI; Mitchell, 0-3; Hicks, 0-3, RBI; S. Lloyd, 2-4, 2B, RBI; Perriman, 0-2; B. Lloyd, 1-3; Thompson, 0-2; Gross, 0-2.
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