TORRINGTON – The Torrington Tigers coaching staff has been stressing the importance of “bringing it from pitch number one.”
The Tigers struggled in the first game each day at the first ever Dean Bullock Memorial Tournament on the field named after Bullock.
“We’ve been harping on bringing it from pitch No. 1 and have the attitude that we are going to win the game from the first pitch,” coach Kyle Nighswonger said.
On Saturday, Torrington fell 10-1 to the Laramie ‘AA’ Rangers.
Laramie scored at least one run through the first five innings of the contest, grabbing a 9-0 lead.
At the plate, Torrington had runners in scoring position in the first three innings and a leadoff single in the fourth from starting pitcher Caeden Riley.
In the fifth inning, the Tiger bats started to find their groove.
Nick Sherbeyn led off with a single. Cameron Murphy reached on a Laramie error and Sam Firminhac reached on a single, loading the bases with one out. A double play ended the inning without Torrington getting the first run of the game across the play.
The Rangers pushed their lead to 10-0 with a run in the top of the seventh, but Murphy’s two-out double led to Torrington’s only run of the game, courtesy of another Laramie error.
Murphy ended the game 3-for-3 at the plate. Riley was tagged with loss, striking out six and surrendering 11 hits over four innings of work.
“There were definitely some cob webs that needed to be broke off. The score was quite a bit worse than the game actually played out to be,” Nighswonger said. “åWe weren’t as efficient on the mound as we would have like to be for the majority of game.”
In the second game on Saturday, the Tigers recorded five straight outs prior to Wheatland getting its first baserunner of the game.
Torrington won the first of seven meetings between the two teams, 16-6.
Offensively, Torrington didn’t waste any time getting the bats going. Sherbeyn led off the home half of the first with walk. Murphy doubled and Jackson Jones drove in Sherbeyn on a groundout.
The Tigers blew the game open in the second with six runs.
Over the next two innings, Wheatland inched its way back into the game, scoring six runs cutting the Torrington lead to 8-6.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers polished off the Lobos, reaching the 10-run rule
Wheatland loaded the bases with an intentional walk. A Lobo error allowed the first of eight Torrington runs. Sherbeyn capped off the game with an infield single, driving in Tristen Kingsley.
Sherbeyn was 3-for-4 at the plate with four runs scored, while Murphy, Firminhac, Dylan Dreiling and Riley added two hits apiece.
Jones picked up the win, striking out two and allowing only four hits over five innings.
“They really couldn’t hit Jackson (Jones) that well. I don’t recall one ball that they absolutely struck,” Nighswonger said. “Pitching was great. Defense was pretty solid. It was just a few little miscues here and there.”
This time, the Lobos got the best of the Tigers as Wheatland returned the favor with a 13-3 run-ruled victory.
Torrington sent eight batters to the plate before Kirk Kay reached base on a Lobo error in the bottom of the third inning. By that point, Wheatland had a firm grip on the game, leading 10-0.
Deagan Keith reached on an error of his own, and Ben Firminhac doubled, driving in a pair of runs. Murphy added an RBI triple before Wheatland could record a third out.
That proved to be the only offense of the game for Torrington.
The Tigers recorded only five hits for the game. Dreiling was tagged with the loss.
“I don’t like the coming out and basically being flat and not competing like we should,” Nighswonger said. “It’s encouraging that we can come out after a game of absolutely not having it, comeback, compete and have a chance at a win.”
That’s exactly what they did despite coming up short 9-8 against Laramie.
Laramie jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Torrington answered with three runs in the first and second innings.
Jones’ sacrifice bunt put Sherbyen and Murphy in scoring position, and Sam Firminhac drove them in with a single.
In the second, Murphy’s two-RBI triple and Jones’s RBI groundout pushed the Tiger lead to 6-2.
Laramie countered with two runs in the top of the third and tied the game at seven in the top of the sixth.
Torrington regained the lead in the home half of the sixth courtesy of a double from Sam Firminhac.
In the top of the seventh, a leadoff walk came around to score for Laramie and a two-out single put the Rangers in front for the first time in the game.
Laramie quieted the Torrington bats, retiring the side in order to complete the come-from-behind victory.
“There were a lot of good things in that game,” Nighswonger said. “We manufactured runs when we had to. We moved guys over. We took a lot of steps forward. We didn’t get the win like we wanted to, but we are taking sets forward and heading in the right direction.”
Sherbeyn and Sam Firminhac combined for four of the teams seven hits. Firminhac was also tagged with the loss.
“It’s early. We’ve got plenty time to improve,” Nighswonger said. “We are starting to finally understand what coach Rob (Mortimore) and I are expecting. It’s not ideal to go 1-3 on the weekend, but that second game, even though we lost to a AA team, I’m still happy with what happened. We are better at playing situational baseball in that game than we have all year.”
The Tigers (3-4 overall and 1-1 in the ‘A’ East) postponed Wednesday’s home doubleheader against the Laramie Deputies. Torrington will now turn their attention to the Gillette Rustlers (10-11 and 1-1) on Saturday, June 8. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
” Nighswonger said. “It’s like I told the boys, we aren’t trying to peak right now. We are hoping to peak at the end of July. As long as we continually get better, and keep doing the small things, games like this that were one-run losses are going to turn into one, two-run wins.”