Jun 27, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorCody Frazier drove in the eventual game-winning runs with a double in the seventh inning for Riverton's first victory against the Cubs in four years.
For a while Saturday afternoon, it seemed like business as usual.
In other words, same old Raiders, same old Cubs as the clubs met on the diamond for an A West conference doubleheader in Cody.
The home side jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after one inning, and, despite all the leaps and bounds of improvement they've made this season, the Raiders found themselves in an all-too-familiar position of looking up at the Cubs on the scoreboard.
Riverton starter Dalton Lassiter was rocked for four runs in the opening frame after the Raiders had gone meekly in order in their half of the first.
Then something happened.
Something which hasn't for quite some time.
Riverton rebounded with a newfound resolve and defeated the Cubs by a scoreline of 7-5 for their first victory against their longtime nemesis in four years.
Following the rough first inning, Lassiter settled down allowing only one more run over his five innings of work, which allowed his teammates to mount a fightback against Cubs starter Brayden Polley.
Kyren Higgs led off the fourth with a single and advanced to third when Cody Frazier reached on an error by shortstop Jordan Wasia, leaving runners on the corners.
Alex Fabricus drove in the Raiders' first run, followed by a Lassiter base hit for another to reduce the deficit.
The Raiders continued their comeback in the fifth, as Matt Fisher and Brodie Roden banged back-to-back singles to open the inning.
Frazier and Fabricus then contributed RBI singles. Just like that, the score was tied at 4-4.
Dillon Fabricus then lifted a sacrifice fly to right to knock in another run, and Riverton had not only come all the way back but had taken the lead at 5-4.
However, the Cubs weren't about to be vanquished that easily, coming back to deadlock the contest at 5-5 after five.
Jereko Martinez took over on the mound for Riverton to open the bottom of the sixth and got himself into trouble, walking a pair of Cubs after getting the first two outs. With runners on second and third with two outs and Cody threatening to keep the ghosts of defeats past alive, Martinez reached back and struck out Chantry Price to end the inning.
Now, the stage was set for the Raiders to make sure the message they had sent the home team stuck in their minds.
Roden singled to lead off the seventh and stole second before a walk by Higgs, who also swiped second after Roden had gone to third.
Frazier then stepped in and put Cody to the sword with one fell swoop, working the count full before lacing a line drive to right for a double, driving in Roden and Higgs for a 7-5 lead.
According to Raiders manager Troy Brown, Frazier took advantage of smart hitting.
"Cody was just up there looking for a pitch to drive deep enough to get the run home," said Brown. "But, their right right fielder was playing shallow and he hit it over his head."
Now, all Martinez had to do was close the deal in the bottom of the seventh and after allowing a leadoff single to Polley, Martinez hit Heston Williams with a pitch. Just like the inning before, Riverton was staring at a second-and-third situation with two outs.
It wasn't too late for the Cubs to spoil the sterling effort the Raiders had put forth on the day, which is what might have happened in the past.
Not this time.
Martinez induced a ground ball off the bat of Tristan Blatt, which was scooped up by second baseman Lassiter. He relayed to first, and victory was sealed.
So much for business as usual.
Martinez's escape from danger in each of the final two innings was inspiring, said Brown.
"Jereko was very clutch," he said. "It was huge for a young player to step up in a situation like that and not cave in to the pressure."
Frazier finished 2-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in.
Despite finally having beaten a club which constantly had the better of them in the recent past, including a sweep at home by the Cubs earlier this season, Brown said his squad took it all in stride.
"The guys simply came off the field with smiles on their faces," he said. "Their reaction said it all, as if it's something we do every day."
As for what kind of message a watershed victory such as this sent both his own club, as well as the opposition, Brown was matter-of-fact.
"We're much improved," he said. "It's not business as usual."
Cody 1, Riverton 0
In the opener, Fisher took the ball and dealt zeros, not allowing a single earned run in going the distance with an 80-pitch performance.
However, Cubs hurler Williams was just a bit better, throwing 106 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, without giving up any runs in a 1-0 Cody victory.
Each side could muster only four hits in the contest. The difference in the game was a hat trick of Riverton errors, including one in the bottom of the third, which allowed the Cubs to plate the only run they would need.
Riverton (20-12, 7-5 A West) faces Powell in another road conference doubleheader on Tuesday before returning home Thursday to host Douglas at Roy Peck Field.
For Brown, the success in Cody already is in the rear-view mirror, as it's on to the next conference matchup against the Pioneers.
"I told our guys if we don't sweep Powell, the win against Cody means nothing," said Brown. "We're still in a battle with Lovell for second place in the conference."
Riverton 0 0 0 2 3 0 2 -- 7
Cody 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 -- 5
Riverton -- 2-4, 2B: Higgs, 1-4; Frazier, 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; A. Fabricus, 2-4, 2 RBI; Baldes, 1-2; Lassiter, 1-3, RBI; Martinez, 0-3; Fisher, 1-3.
Cody - Wasia, 0-3; Blatt, 1-2; Grenz, 1-4, RBI; Brown, 2-3, 2B, RBI; McLeod, 1-3; Price, 2-4, RBI; Polley, 1-3, RBI; Harris, 0-4; Williams, 0-2.
Riverton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Cody 0 0 1 0 0 0 x -- 1
Riverton - Roden, 1-2; Higgs, 0-3; Frazier, 1-2; A. Fabricus, 0-3; D. Fabricus, 2-3; Baldes, 0-3; Lassiter, 0-3; Hinkle, 0-3; Fisher, 0-2.
Cody - Wasia, 2-3, 2B; Blatt, 0-2; Grenz, 1-3; Brown, 1-3, RBI; McLeod, 0-1; Price, 0-3; Polley, 0-2; Hays, 0-1; Harris, 0-1; Williams, 0-2.
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