Jun 28, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorRiverton's Dalton Baldes was masterful in a one-hit, 11-strikeout performance in a 9-0 victory against Powell.
Every baseball team needs an ace.
For the Riverton Raiders, that man is Dalton Baldes.
On Tuesday in Powell in the opening game of an A West conference doubleheader against the host Pioneers, the powerful right-hander struck out 11 batters, throwing a one-hitter in a 9-0 Riverton win.
Baldes was economic in victory, needing only 85 pitches to vanquish the opposition without issuing a base-on-balls.
In fact, the only things keeping Baldes from a perfect game was a single by the Pioneers' Luke Washington to open the bottom of the seventh, a hit batter and a pair of Raiders errors.
Baldes faced only four over the minimum in closing out the game.
According to Riverton manager Troy Brown, Baldes' effort was outstanding.
"Dalton simply did a great job of pounding the strike zone," said Brown. "He had command of all his pitches."
The top of the order sparked the Riverton offense, as leadoff man Brodie Roden was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in, while No. 2 man Kyren Higgs was 2-for-5 with a home run a a pair of RBI.
Brown credited not only the top two men in the order for getting the offense going game-in, game-out, but also No. 9 hitter Matt Fisher, who sets the tone for the table-setters.
"It's great having Matt at the bottom in front of Brodie and Kyren at the top," he said. "Those three guys really put pressure on the other team."
However, the entire lineup was clicking, as Dillon Fabricus went 4-for-4, while Baldes, Dalton Lassiter and Fisher each contributed a pair of hits.
However, the Raiders' 16-hit attack was slow in producing runs, as the game remained scoreless through four innings, as Powell starter Colin Queen matched Baldes zero for zero on the scoreboard.
But, the Raiders finally broke through in the top of the fifth, as Roden began with an infield single and Higgs proceeded to clean the plate, with a two-run blast on a two-strike pitch for a 2-0 lead.
It was all the offense Baldes needed on this day.
Riverton scored another seven runs over the final two frames to secure victory.
Powell 5, Riverton 3
In the second game, Queen had his revenge at the plate for the Pioneers, going 3-for-4 with a pair each of runs scored and batted in atop the order in a 5-3 Powell victory.
Riverton jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on a Higgs sacrifice fly and a Jaren Draper RBI single in the first and third innings, but the home club struck back for five runs over the next two innings for all the offense required.
Roden went the distance for the Raiders on the mound, but he and his fellow bats in the Riverton order were silenced to the tune of only five hits.
For Brown, the loss was a bit disappointing in now his club will need outside help to secure second place in the conference, as opposed to having their destiny in their own hands, which they would have done by running the league table.
"Now, we have to rely on other people losing," he said. "One of our goals for the season was to win the league, but we can still finish second."
Despite important games down the final stretch of the season, Brown has already begun to look down the road, he said.
"Now, our focus is on being a tournament team," said Brown. "We're already lining up our pitching so everyone's ready for state."
Riverton (21-13, 8-6 A West) will return home to host Douglas in a non-conference doubleheader at Roy Peck Field on Thursday, with games at 4 and 6 p.m.
Riverton 0 0 0 0 2 2 5 -- 9
Powell 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Riverton - Roden, 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Higgs, 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Frazier, 0-3; Draper, 1-2; D. Fabricus, 4-4; Baldes, 2-4; Lassiter, 2-4, RBI; Hinkle, 0-4; Fisjer, 2-3, RBI.
Powell - Queen, 0-3; Hackenberg, 0-3; Feller, 0-3; Washington, 1-3; Brown, 0-3; Wentz, 0-2; Meyer, 0-3; Schmidt, 0-2.
Riverton 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 -- 3
Powell 0 0 2 3 0 0 x -- 5
Riverton - Roden, 1-4, 2B; Higgs, 0-4, RBI; Frazier, 1-3; Draper, 1-4, RBI; D. Fabricus, 0-2; Baldes, 1-3; Lassiter, 0-3; Hinkle, 0-3; Fisher, 1-3.
Powell - Queen, 3-4, 2 RBI; Hackenberg, 0-3; Feller, 1-3; Washington, 1-3, 2 RBI; Brown, 1-3, RBI; Wentz, 0-3; Meyer, 0-2; Schmidt, 2-3, 2B; Carter, 0-2.
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