RIVERTON – The Torrington 9-and-10-year-old All-Stars fell in state championship game on Saturday morning in Riverton to the Laramie Regulators.
For the weekend, the All-Stars went 2-2 at the tournament en route to the runner-up finish.
“It’s always tough to lose the last game of the season. With the players being 9-and-10-years old, it’s kind of hard to explain to them that only one team wins that last game,” All-Star manager Wade Bruch said. “It was a great group of kids, great group of parents, grandparents. The support for the kids has been amazing.”
On Wednesday, Torrington opened the tournament with a 15-5 victory over Rock Springs.
The All-Stars did most of the damage in the second inning with 12 runs to take a 15-2 lead. Rock Springs scored a run in the third and two in the fourth but were unable to extend the game due to the 10-run rule.
“You never know how the kids are going to respond in the first game at state,” Bruch said. “We came out right away against Rock Springs, and just like we’ve been talking about, we had good at-bats, being selective, and when you have those pitches to hit, you hit them hard.”
Torrington pounded out 13 hits in the win. Asher Mattis went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Owen Curry and Easton Desmond and Patrick Mortimore tallied two hits apiece. Desmond drove in five RBIs in the win. Jaxon Shimic was the winning pitcher of record, working two innings.
“We pitched well. We fielded well,” Bruch said.
In the semifinal round, the All-Stars faced District No. 2 foe Laramie.
The Regulators jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The score remained the same until the fourth inning.
Torrington’s Colby Groene lead off the inning with a single and came around to score three batters later on a wild pitch.
The All-Stars continued its comeback in the top of the fifth.
With the bases loaded, Groene’s ground ball and subsequent Laramie error scored Kane Correa. Desmond doubled, tying the game at four and Bryce Booth singled to give the All-Stars a 5-4 lead.
“The first loss to Laramie was tough. It was the first time we truly put a scare into them. (Laramie) wasn’t going to beat themselves,” Bruch said. “(Laramie) got off to a good start in the game. Then we had one big inning where we put it all together. It was good solid hitting. The kids were super excited to be in that position to potentially win that game.”
Unfortunately, Laramie countered with two runs in the home half of the fifth to regain the lead.
Torrington wasn’t able to rally again in the top of the sixth.
Groene and Desmond went 2-for-3 at the plate. They combined for three RBIs and two runs scored. Mortimore was tagged with the loss.
“The Kids were pretty down after that game,” Bruch said.
But the Torrington coaches – Bruch, Grant Curry and Matt Mattis – reminded the players, the ultimate team goals were still very much attainable.
The loss dropped the All-Stars to a must-win game against Green River with the winner advancing to the championship game. Torrington exploded for 28 runs in a 28-2 victory over Green River.
Torrington began the game, scoring five runs in the top of the first and poured on eight more in the second. The All-Stars capped off the game with 15 runs in the fourth to close out the win.
Torrington tallied 24 hits, and 13 batters tallied at least one hit.
“The Green River game, hitting was contagious,” Bruch said. “It wasn’t like Green River was out there booting the ball all over the place. For the most part, we were cranking the ball. It was good to build that momentum and keep it to give us a shot at having pitchers available to potentially get two games against Laramie.”
Mattis led the attack with a 4-for-5 day at the plate with two RBIs and four runs scored. Groene and Desmond had three hits apiece, while Curry, Hudson Hoffman, Booth and Mortimore had two each.
Curry went the distance for Torrington, striking out six.
The win set up a rematch with Laramie in the state championship game – the team’s fourth meeting in a span of nine days.
Unfortunately, the end result was the same as the previous three meetings – with a loss.
After two scoreless innings, Laramie scored the game’s first run in top of the third inning, and the Regulators plated five more runs in the fifth to pull away for the victory.
Mattis tallied Torrington’s only two hits of the game. Barrett Bruch was the losing pitcher, giving up three earned runs and striking out two.
The only team the All-Stars lost to in postseason play in 2021 was Laramie.