TORRINGTON – Last summer, the Torrington Little League All-Stars ended a drought of seven summers without making the Wyoming Little League State Tournament.
The 2018 season ended with a trip to Powell for that very tournament
Now, in 2019, Torrington hopes to make it for a second straight summer as the team will be hosting state at end of July. It will be the first time in more than 10 years Torrington has hosted the Wyoming Little League State Tournament.
“It’s actually a rotation between all the teams in the state. A lot of times, teams don’t have the facility or the volunteer help to host so, sometimes it gets turned down,” Torrington Little League President Abe Correa said. “When it came up to us, we’ll never turn down a tournament. We’ll take any and all tournaments.”
It will be the fifth time in the history of the program the team has hosted the event. The first was in the summer of 1975, Correa said.
With the 2011 changes in the format, only four out of the nearly 20 teams – two from each district – from around the state getting to participate in the tournament, there is no guarantee Torrington will be one of the teams to play in the tournament. However, with the growing numbers of registered participants, Correa hopes Torrington can become, once again, prominent at the state level.
Last season, 240 kids were registered for the three levels of ball associated with the Torrington Little League – t-ball, Minors and Majors.
“We’ve been chartered with Little League since 1966. In the 53 years in being involved with Little League, we’ve won the state tournament four times. We’ve been runner-up 13 times. We’ve been third six times,” Correa said. “We’ve had success at the state level, and with the numbers increasing, that will make a comeback.”
Opening ceremonies will take place on Wednesday, July 24, and Torrington already has two special events scheduled.
They will honor the past four state championship teams – 1968, 1991, 1992 and 1994.
Torrington will also host a Challenger game that night.
“The program is for physically and mentally handicapped children,” Correa said.
That is something he is proud of because Torrington had four players take part in the Challenger program last summer.
“Some of the larger communities have well-established challenger programs,” Correa said. “We knew we were missing those kids that might not be able to able to play a sport or baseball.”
Torrington will join forces with other communities to put on the Challenger, giving the kids a large stage to showcase their talents.
In addition to the summer games at the Torrington Sports Complex, the local Little League organization gives kids opportunities to play the game of baseball year around.
Last Sunday, Torrington Little League hosted former University of Nebraska pitcher Jeremy Becker to put on a pitching clinic.
“That session with Jeremy Becker was huge,” Correa said. “I don’t know if they realize the caliber of guy he is with his background and resume, but it was a great opportunity for the kids with the pitching clinic we put on.”
The group utilize Bethel Baptist Church’s gym for their winter workouts.
“We have a $55 registration fee, but it gives you year around access,” Correa said. “Bethel Baptist Church provide the gym free of charge. We’ll have a dozen kids in the winter come in, take swings and take grounders.”
The Lingle-Fort Laramie shop class even built the group four mounds the kids can throw from over the winter months.
“We try to involve as many people in the community as possible. We provided the materials for them, and they built the mounds. It’s been a huge addition to the program.”
The Torrington Little League also hosts non-competitive games in the fall from the conclusion of the season to when the weather turns cold before going into winter workouts at the church.
They cap off the offseason with a month-long spring training which will take place on March 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 2-4 p.m.
Registration for the upcoming summer season is ongoing online at: https://tshq.bluesombrero.com/torringtonll.