Jun 28, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorOn Thursday, the top two seeds will face each other for the Riverton Little League majors championship.
Four teams went to battle for berths in the Riverton majors championship game, but only two could emerge from combat with their respective tickets for the title game punched.
When it was all said and done long after darkness had fallen Tuesday at Saban Little League Complex, the Giants and Cardinals were left standing and will face each other Thursday for the trophy.
In a pair of contests which remained relatively close throughout, the No. 1-seeded Cardinals downed the No. 4 Rockies, 9-5, on the southwest field, while simultaneously on the northwest diamond, the No. 2 Giants defeated the No. 3 Tigers by a scoreline of 7-3.
The Cardinals-Rockies game was billed as a potential pitching duel between the Cardinals' Sean Dean Brown and the Rockies' Uriah Hines, a matchup which featured the two hardest throwers in the league.
However, Hines struggled early with control, lasting only one inning before being replaced on the mound by Derrick DeVries. Brown held up his end of the bargain, mowing down Rockies batters with impunity, striking out 10 in his five innings of work.
It began well enough for the Rockies in the top of the first, as the first batter of the game, DeVries, banged a single to left off the flame-throwing righty, followed by a fielder's choice off the bat of No. 2 hitter Kaden Chatfield, advancing DeVries to second.
Hines then stepped into the box in a power-against-power confrontation and lashed a double off Brown, driving in Chatfield with the contest's opening run.
However, the Rockies failed to do further damage, leading only 1-0, as the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the first.
Following a punchout of leadoff man Garret Neil, Hines's control betrayed him. He issued bases-on-balls to five of the next six hitters, forcing in a pair of Cardinals runs without benefit of a hit.
Finally, Hines fanned Jacob Coons to end the inning with the score 2-1 in favor of the home side.
The Rockies rebounded in the top of the second, plating three markers, highlighted by a DeVries RBI single and a Chatfield dribbler up the third-base line. That triggered a chaotic sequence in which two runs came around to score, with Chatfield ending up on third, as the Rockies took a 4-2 advantage.
But, the Cardinals wouldn't be denied on this day, putting another four runs on the board in the bottom of the second, gaining a lead they would never relinquish.
Hunter Hauck, Jason Vincent and Brown all had a pair of hits apiece for the Cardinals, while DeVries was 3-for-4 in a losing effort.
Giants 7, Tigers 3
Christopher Reinig hit a pair of home runs for the Tigers in the other semifinal on the northwest field, but to no avail, as he and his teammates fell to the Giants, 7-3.
Reinig added a triple to his total on the night, as the Tigers outhit the Giants by an 8-5 margin, but it was the orange-clad side that advanced and will now face the Cardinals in the title game.
Dallon Draper was the danger man for the Giants, going 2-for-3, with a pair of triples and three runs batted in, while Brodie Dale was the beneficiary of Draper's hot bat, scoring three runs in the game while hitting directly in front of him in the order.
Reinig who set the early tone for the Tigers, homering on Dawsen Valerio's first pitch of the evening for a quick 1-0 lead.
After the Giants had deadlocked the contest on the first of Draper's two triples in the bottom of the first, it was that man, Reinig, again, who sent yet another Valerio offering into the parking lot on a 3-0 pitch in the third to put his club ahead 2-1.
But, the Giants then took control of the contest, posting three runs in each of the next two frames, highlighted by Draper's second triple of the night, which drove Valerio and Dale home.
Reinig was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two batted in, while Nathan Hutchison finished 2-for-3 for the Tigers with a pair of doubles.
Championship Night on Thursday will feature $5 dinner plates, with each purchase including a raffle ticket for two round trip plane tickets to Denver, donated by Fly Riverton.
Following the majors and minors championship games, which are both scheduled for 6 p.m., will be all-star announcements and a fireworks show.
Rockies 1 3 0 0 1 0 -- 5
Cardinals 2 4 0 3 0 x -- 9
Rockies - DeVries, 3-4; Chatfield, 2-4; Murfitt, 0-3; Hines, 2-3, 2B; Stevens, 0-2; Anderson, 0-3; Florence, 0-3; Lane, 1-3; Fournier, 0-1; Scribner, 0-1.
Cardinals - Neil, 1-4; Vincent, 2-2; Hauck, 2-2, 3B; S. Brown, 2-2; Noseep, 1-2; Saltsgaver, 0-2; Davis, 0-1; Mason, 0-2; Coons, 0-3; A. Brown, 0-2.
Tigers 1 0 1 0 1 0 -- 3
Giants - 1 0 3 3 0 x -- 7
Tigers - C. Reinig, 3-3, 3B, HR, 2 RBI; T. Reinig, 1-3, RBI; Hutchison, 2-3, 2 2B; Stanley, 1-2; Sheets, 0-2; Carruth, 0-3; Mills, 0-3; Watson, 1-3; Soundingsides, 0-3.
Giants - Valerio, 1-2; Dale, 1-1, 2 BB; Draper, 2-3, 2 3B, 3 RBI; Vincent, 0-3; DeVries, 0-2; Kelley, 0-2; Weaver, 0-1; Appleby, 0-2; Hernandez, 0-3; Heidenreich, 1-2.
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