DOUGLAS – After facing a two-hit shutout on Tuesday afternoon, the Torrington Tigers rebounded to eliminate the Powell Pioneers with an 8-6 victory in the Wyoming ‘A’ State Legion Tournament in Douglas on Wednesday morning.
“We had a team effort (July 31). We threw five different kids up on the mound. We lived in the zone and got the outs when we had to have them,” coach Kyle Nighswonger said. “We didn’t have the most outstanding game, but it’s survive and advance.”
However, the Tigers opened the state tournament with a 1-0 loss to Riverton.
Torrington leadoff hitter Nick Sherbeyn collected the team’s only two hits of the game.
Those hits came in the first and third innings.
Jackson Jones and Ben Firminhac reached on walks, while Tristen Kingsley made it to first base courtesy of a fielder’s choice.
Those were the only five base runners Torrington had for the entire game, while Riverton starter Dillion Lange struck out 10 Tigers.
“Credit to Riverton’s pitcher,” Nighswonger said. “He had 10 strike outs, which is certainly not what we to have happen. It’s part of the game.”
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Cameron Murphy limited Riverton to six hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings. During that time frame, Murphy fanned seven Raider batters.
“Cameron threw another really great game,” Nighswonger said. “We had a couple situations where they had the bases loaded or a couple kids on. They were making plays and getting lead runners out with less than two outs.”
In the seventh inning, Riverton loaded the bases with three singles and error. The final single found open space in between two Tigers, scoring the games’ lone run.
“We killed a lot of their momentum swings to keep it even keel. Just a little bloop single to walk it off is the difference in that one,” Nighswonger said. “Cameron threw great. The defense was great. Just needed the bats to get going, but we didn’t quit have it.
“It’s a four-seed competing against a one-seed, you really can’t ask for anything else more.”
The loss dropped Torrington to a must-win situation on Wednesday morning against Powell.
The Pioneers struck first with a two-out bases loaded walk, but in the bottom of the second, Torrington finally got its bats going.
Jones reached on an error, but Kingsley and starting pitcher Caeden Riley collected back-to-back singles to tie the game at one each.
In the bottom of the third, Torrington kept the offensive momentum going.
Catcher Gabe Mitchell and Murphy got things going with walks to lead off the inning, while Jones made it 2-0 with a single. Kingsley backed up Jones’ RBI with a two-RBI double to make it 4-1.
Torrington added one more in the fourth with an RBI from Sherbeyn to push the Tiger lead to 5-1.
In the top of the fifth, things got interesting for Torrington.
A passed ball made the score 5-2, but a bunt and kicked ball by the Powell batter led to a Tiger error and two more runs for the Pioneers, cutting the Torrington lead to 5-4.
Torrington quickly put a halt to the momentum swing with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“That’s the key. You have to limit the momentum,” Nighswonger said. “A no-call happens in a situation that probably shouldn’t have happened, which led to a couple runs. After it all, we settled right back down and got right back in the ballgame.”
In the inning, first baseman Gage Correa’s bases-loaded single scored Jones and Kingsley, pushing the Torrington lead back to three, and Torrington added one more in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Powell wasn’t going to go away quietly in the seventh.
A leadoff double, and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no one out.
Jones came in to close out the game, and the Pioneers got runs on a fielder’s choice and an error to cut the deficit back to two.
Mitchell ended the game with a diving catch behind home plate, securing the win and another game for the Torrington Tigers.
Riley picked up the victory, while Jones got the save in the win over Powell.
“We came out, just absolutely had to have it and we did it,” Nighswonger said.
The Wyoming ‘A’ State Tournament continued Thursday and wrapped up Saturday. The Tigers faced the loser of the Gillette and Douglas game from Wednesday evening. Check back to Wednesday, Aug. 7 issue of the Torrington Telegram for the wrap-up coverage from the tournament.