TORRINGTON – The Torrington senior Legion baseball team knew the extra inning loss last week in Laramie to the Evanston Post 41 Outlaws could be a turning point in their season.
The Tigers came out and swept the Wheatland Lobos 10-0 and 6-5 on Thursday, June 27, snapping an 11-game losing streak.
“We came back after that game against Evanston last week and possibly knew it was a game that could turn the season around,” coach Kyle Nighswonger said. “The way we came out tonight and absolutely dominated the first game and how we finished the second game, maybe things didn’t fall our way the whole time, but we found a way to win. That’s the first time that’s happened all year.”
In game one, starting pitcher Cameron Murphy went five innings, striking out four and surrendering only two hits in the shutout victory.
Torrington leadoff hitter Nick Sherbeyn worked a walk and three batters later, Sam Firminhac drove in a pair courtesy of a Lobo error.
Two innings later, it was again Sherbeyn, who got the offense going. This time it was a bunt single, which sparked another two-run frame.
The bottom of the fourth proved to be the big inning for Torrington.
Catcher Gabe Mitchell and outfielder Tristen Kingsley were hit by pitches, while Deagan Keith, Sherbeyn, Murphy and Firminhac recorded hits as the Tigers pushed their lead to 9-0.
“We had a lot of balls that finally found some green grass and a lot of great things happened for us,” Nighswonger said. “We are swinging the bats well, and they were finally starting to drop.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Gage Correa led off with a single and came around to score on in infield single by Sherbeyn to close out the run-ruled victory.
Sherbeyn finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs, while Murphy aided his pitching effort by going 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs.
“Everyone was on the sticks hitting the ball hard and being aggressive on the base pads,” Nighswonger said. “It’s a lot of these little things that we’ve been working on and trying to get accomplish that maybe haven’t shown because of the lack of success we’ve had.”
In game two, the Tigers looked to keep that momentum on their side, scoring first in the bottom of the third.
The lead was short lived as Wheatland countered with three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth courtesy of three Torrington errors.
“Unfortunately, in this game, some of those things happen. Balls are going to drop,” Nighswonger said. “Mistakes are going to happen, but it was great to see them not put their heads down and come back to scratch out a win.”
Trailing 5-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth, Correa leadoff the frame with a single. Mitchell, Kingsley and Sherbeyn followed it up with hits of their own. Murphy reached base on catcher’s interference, and Firminhac reached on an infield single to tie the game at five.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mitchell worked a full-count walk with one out.
A wild pitch sent him to second, and Mitchell later stole third.
However, a throwing error on the steal attempt got past the Wheatland third baseman, allowing Mitchell to score, handing the Tigers the walk-off win.
Firminhac went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Tigers, while Caeden Riley was credited with the victory on in relief of starter Dylan Drieling. Riley struck out six over three innings of work.
“Pitchers in both games were great. We really filled up the zone. They threw a ton of strikes and were efficient,” Nighswonger said. “Dylan came in and started the second game and threw very well when he was in there. Towards the end of his time on the bump, we had those errors and maybe the kids on the other team were starting to see the ball little better, but Caeden came in and threw really well too. He was able to change speeds on them and keep them off balance.”
The Tigers improved to 5-13 on the season and 3-7 in the East Conference. They will host Douglas on Thursday, July 4 in a weather-postponed game from earlier this season. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.