POWELL – The Torrington Tigers split their first two rounds at the ‘A’ State Legion Baseball Tournament in Powell.
On Saturday morning, the Tigers fell to the Cody Cubs 5-0 before bouncing back with a 9-5 win over the Green River Knights on Sunday morning to advance in the consolation side of the bracket.
Cody 5, Torrington 0
The Tigers fell behind in the bottom of the first inning on a passed ball which catcher Gabe Mitchell struggled to locate after it got by him. It allowed a Cody baserunner to score from second base, and it proved to be the only scoring in the game until the bottom of the fifth inning.
During that stretch, the Torrington offense had five baserunners of its own.
“We have guys on and are threatening, but we come out on defense and things snowballed,” Torrington manager Rob Mortimore said. “If we stick our nose in it and make a play, the game is completely different.”
In the top of the fourth, Tiger outfielder Tristian Kingsley missed a home run by inches off the outfield fence that went for a two-out double, and in the fifth, the Tigers threatened again with two runners on and one out. Cody managed to get out of the jam, recording a double play on a lineout.
The Cubs’ big inning came in the home half of the fifth.
“We’ve had a that little bug all year,” Mortimore said. “The little details sneak up and get us, and then it snowballs in the fifth inning.”
With runners on second and third with one out, Cody tripled, driving in two. The Cubs pushed their lead on a squeeze and a double steal.
“Caeden (Riley) threw it well,” Mortimore said. “He made one mistake in the bottom of the fifth that bit us and aided the snowball.”
Torrington went down in order in the sixth but threatened again in the seventh.
Kingsley led off the frame with a single. He stole second and ended up on third courtesy of a based ball.
That proved to be as close as the Tigers came to plating a run in the opening round of the tournament.
“I’m proud of the guys. They came out and played hard. They put it all out on the field. We were certainly there. We had a shot,” Mortimore said. “We just didn’t put together enough at-bats together today.”
Kinglsey was 2-for-3 at the plate, while Gabe Mitchell and Blake Lofink added one hit apiece.
Tiger pitcher Caeden Riley was tagged with the loss, striking out 10 over five innings.
Following the loss, Mortimore remembered back to the previous year’s state tournament in Douglas.
“It is the same situation we were in last year,” he said. “We lost a 1-0 ballgame at state in the first round, and we were able to battle back. I fully expect these guys to bounce back and lock it back in.”
Torrington 9, Green River 5
The loss dropped the Tigers to a must-win game against the Green River Knights, a team they defeated 17-1 on July 11 at the Douglas wood bat tournament.
In the Sunday morning elimination game, the Tigers overcame an early 5-1 deficit for the four-run victory to keep Torrington’s state title hopes alive.
Green River pounced in the first inning with three runs, including a two-out double, scoring two.
“Definitely not the way we envisioned starting, but kudos to our guys,” Mortimore said. “They kept at it and had some solid at-bats in the third inning.”
Torrington got a run back in the bottom of the first courtesy of an RBI groundout by Sam Firminhac.
By the bottom of the third inning, the Knights had extended their lead to 5-1, but Torrington took advantage of a series of free passes issued by Green River.
The Knights walked five Tiger batters and hit one to draw Torrington back within one at 5-4.
Tiger first baseman Gage Correa tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Lofink tripled, putting Torrington in front 7-5.
“The guys had great at-bats that inning and put some pressure on them for once. Good things happen when you put pressure on the other team,” Mortimore said. “Then Blake gets the big triple to really open things up to get us some momentum which was huge.”
The Tiger pitching duo of starter Cameron Murphy and Firminhac didn’t allow an additional Green River run for the remainder of the game.
“He had the pitch count elevated the first three innings or so, but when the offense got rolling, you could see Cameron took a deep breath and settled in. Then he did what Cameron Murphy does – throw strikes and competes in the zone,” Mortimore said. “He got us to where we need to be, and Sam came in and did what Sam does.”
Meanwhile, Torrington got a third RBI from Lofink in the fifth, and a Firminhac scored on a passed ball in the sixth.
Lofink, Kingsley and Correa went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Tigers. Murphy was credited with the win, pitching five innings, striking out four, while Firminhac worked the final two innings, striking out two.
The Tigers faced the Powell Panthers in a 4 p.m. Monday matchup. Check back to Friday’s Torrington Telegram for the final recap from the state tournament.
“When you lose that first one, you scratching and clawing to survive and advance,” Mortimore said. “It’ll be nice to actually sleep in a little bit and not get over here so early in the morning. It’ll allow the guys to relax a little bit, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get going right away (Monday).”