Locals carry South in losing effort

TORRINGTON – For the first time ever, sanctioned high school softball came to Torrington’s Jirdon Park on Thursday.

Wheatland swept the doubleheader over the Cheyenne South Lady Bison, who’s roster features five players from Goshen County – Alyssa Albaugh, Hope Hager, Jadyn Wunder, Laney Grubbs and Kennedy Reinhardt – 18-8 and 13-3.

South coach Curtis Quigley said he was happy – but not satisfied – with the growth his team experienced while in Torrington despite one rough inning in each game which ultimately sank the Lady Bison.

“That’s part of it with this team right now,” he said. “We keep having that one inning that if we can figure out how to not let it happen. We are down 9-8 going into the sixth. It’s just a couple bad breaks. We have to learn as pitchers to be a little more consistent, and if we learn to minimize those innings and make a couple catches, we go with a chance to win. It’s a moment those girls have to learn to get themselves to, and when we do, we have the brass to go win it.”

All five Goshen County players contributed, both at the plate and in the field in a big way for the Lady Bison.

“It happened because of the environment. They were home. They were comfortable in front of their friends, their families. Their community was here to support them, and they played relaxed had fun. Our girls responded just as well as they did. It speaks to how big of a leadership role they have with my girls, who don’t have the experience they have. It was contagious.”

The first game South went toe-to-toe with the Lady Bulldogs for much of the game.

After a scoreless first inning, Wheatland broke the tie in the top of the second with three runs, but Wunder got South’s offense rolling in the home half of the second with a leadoff single.

A few batters later, Grubbs drove in the Lady Bison’s first two runs of the game. Later in the inning, Reinhardt doubled, clearing the base pads, giving South a 5-3 lead.

The Bison left the bases load after sending 10 batters to the plate in the inning, but the lead proved to be short-lived.

Wheatland tied the game at five in the top of the third, and the score remained tied until the top of the fourth when the Lady Bulldogs plated four runs to take a 9-5 lead.

South wasn’t going to go away. In the bottom of the fourth, Hager doubled, driving in a run, and in the fifth, an RBI groundout by Albaugh, drew the Bison within one at 9-8 heading to the sixth.

Wheatland blew the game open in the sixth with seven runs, adding two more unanswered runs in the seventh to pull away for the 10-run victory.

The second game, Wheatland jumped out to a 7-0 lead, cruising to a five-inning ruled 13-3 victory.

A grand slam in the first inning set the tone for the Lady Bulldogs.

Albaugh and Reinhardt singled in the bottom of the second inning, driving in one run each as South was able to cut into the deficit.

The Lady Bison managed only one more run for the remainder of the game.

Wheatland capped off the game with five more runs in the top of the fifth.

Despite the losses, Quigley said there were a lot of positives to be taken away from the doubleheaders.

“You got to see a lot of positives that our kids have been working on,” he said. “Part of the game is just growth and development. Today, we took a huge step forward. We had multiple innings where we went three-up, three-down. We are starting to make some of those routine plays look routine.”

Quigley says a date has been set already for another South game in Torrington.

“For a small town, for Cheyenne to come out and there are hundreds of people playing softball, throwing balls around and just being here to watch softball was something I haven’t seen in Cheyenne,” he said. “It was a cool spectacle to be a part of. The community showed up and supported the girls. They loved it and had fun with it. It was something unique I haven’t been a part of, and it was awesome to be a part of that experience here in Torrington.

“We want to make this a yearly tradition for sure. This was the inaugural year, next year it becomes annual,” Quigley added. “I appreciate the hospitality from Torrington. You did a great job. Our team felt appreciated, and they enjoyed it as well.”

The loss drops Cheyenne South to 0-10 on the season. They host Cheyenne East on Thursday at 3 p.m.