Tiger baseball falls in delayed opener

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The Torrington Tigers ‘A’ team opened the season with a 14-7 loss to the WestCo Zephyrs in Scottsbluff on Tuesday evening.

The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead after Ben Firminhac walked and Bryce Hager was hit by a pitch. They both came around to score later in the first on a wild pitch.

In the home half of the first, Torrington recorded two quick outs, but after a meeting between coaches and the umpires, the game was put in a delay. The stands and benches were cleared due to safety concerns over a shooting which took place in the neighborhood just blocks from Cleveland Field, leaving one person dead.

As a result of the delay, the scheduled doubleheader was changed to a single game.

The delay lasted for just over 30 minutes, but once play resumed, Torrington looked to pick up right where it left off.

“We came out pretty well after that,” Tiger coach Sam Firminhac said. “It’s hard to readjust after a delay like that. They did a good job of getting back into the zone.”

Making his first start at the ‘A’ level, Ayden Desmond recorded a strike out to finally end the first inning.

“He threw well in practice and was lighting up the zone,” Firminhac said. “We decided to give him the start game one, and he showed why we should. He’ll be throwing a lot for us moving forward.”

In the top of the third, Austin Short walked with two outs but came around to score on a wild pitch, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

A bases loaded double by Westco in the bottom of the third tied the game at three apiece.

Offensively, it wasn’t until the top of the fourth when outfield Matthew Hellus tallied the first hit of the game for the Tigers.

The Zephyrs added a run in the fourth and two in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead into the sixth inning.

Torrington got two runs back in the sixth when Desmond’s single to center field drove in Ryder Hackbarth and Hellus to cut the deficit to one at 6-5.

WestCo did most of its damage in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on three Tiger errors, three singles and three walks.

The Tigers scored two more runs in the top of the seventh courtesy of two more wild pitches by the Zephyrs.

It proved to be as close as the Tigers would get to regaining the lead for the rest of the game.

Torrington tallied five hits in the loss – one each by Firminhac, Hellus, Hackbarth, Desmond and Grady Shields. The Tigers committed six errors for the game. The Tigers also stranded 12 runners on base, including leaving them loaded in the first, two in scoring position in the third and fourth innings.

“It was a tough for the first game of the year. It looked like it with some first-game mistakes,” Firminhac said. “We left a lot of runners on. It’s good we are getting runners on base, but it would have been nice to get them across. We had some sloppy play defensively, but that’s something we’ll clean up at practice as move forward.”

Desmond struck out three over four innings of work. Hager was tagged with the loss in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

The Tigers (0-1) open the conference schedule on Monday against the Douglas Cats (3-5). First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 5 p.m.


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