Loftus out as Raiders Legion Manager

The Riverton Raiders American Legion Baseball organization has been in turmoil for several years. The challenges of a new alignment in the AA League, a new coach, continuing issues with the legion board, and the gap between Little League and American Legion competition with Babe Ruth no longer being played in Riverton has created an atmosphere where the players from Riverton are severely hampered in competition with other communities.

In recent statewide action, Riverton was moved from Class A to Class AA American Legion baseball.

What that means is the Raiders are the smallest of eight teams statewide in AA and must play a minimum of 14 games against AA competition to be eligible for the state tournament. Powerhouse programs like Cheyenne Post 6, Gillette, Laramie, and Casper will vie with the Raiders in statewide competition.

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They will be able to continue to play against some A programs such as Lovell, Powell, Rawlins, and Green River but will not compete in post-season play with them.

Riverton manager Kevin “Wally” Loftus will not return to guide the program after just a single year at the helm. Under his leadership, the Raiders had the largest turnout of players in well over a decade and played games at the A, B, and C levels, but in recent board action, he was not offered a contract to return.

His absence will result in a third manager being hired in just three years, creating a problem with continuity that other teams across the state do not suffer from.

Loftus has many offers to manage teams in Wyoming, Idaho, and New Mexico at present. There is an excellent chance he will coach again at Roy Peck Field, just not for the Raiders.

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The gap created by no league for 13-to-15-year-old players with the elimination of Babe Ruth has been filled with traveling teams like the Trash Pandas, but many parents and players look for local competition without all the expense and travel time associated with playing many weeks of the summer on the road in other communities.

Just a few years ago, Riverton fielded as many as five Babe Ruth teams and played additional teams from Lander and Shoshoni. There are no local venues for early teenaged baseball in Riverton at this point other than at the American Legion C level.

At the culmination of the last meeting, board members Scott and Darla Mason chose not to serve again on the board.

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Steven Reinig has accepted the position as the new board president and has the task of finding a manager in the next couple of months.

The position is for an entire season, with additional hours in the pre-season and in conducting off-season batting practice and other individual instruction.

The resignation letter from Loftus is printed below:

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Open letter to Riverton

After the results of the board meeting vote, and the obvious contention and toxicity that has gained enough traction to ruin any chance of building a solid program for years to come. I will not be seeking another contract.

Everyone knows what went down, so no need to rehash it. But I will say this. The toxic problem of two entitled, self centered people is the absolute worst family behavior I have seen in almost 50 years of baseball. They got their wish.

For those of you who bought in and supported what we tried to accomplish. All I can say is thank you, 98% of you are truly amazing people. I feel so sorry for all of you. Especially for our amazing players. I’m too old to deal with the petty mess of two toxic people and their supporters.

Out of respect for the President and Vice President of the board, I did not post this, but now I’m not wanted back. Not surprising. Once again, the minority makes decisions for the majority. Kids suffer.

Good luck Raiders, you guys were a blast to coach.

Kevin Loftus

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