TORRINGTON – The Torrington senior Legion baseball team went 3-1 over the weekend at the annual Dean Bullock Memorial Tournament.
The Tigers scored wins over Green River, Buffalo and Douglas, while the only setback came in Friday evening’s loss to Alliance, Nebraska.
“It was a great weekend for us. Would have like to finish 4-0, obviously, but 3-1 is a pretty good weekend with the level of competition we had in here,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said. “You could see the confidence, by Saturday, build as we went from Buffalo into Douglas. We had some mental and physical errors against Douglas, but we were able to rebound from those and finish on a high note.”
On Friday, the Tigers opened the weekend with a 9-2 win over the Green River Knights.
Bryce Hager and Ben Firminhac got the Tigers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with RBI hits.
Two innings later, Hager doubled for the second time in the game, driving in another Tiger run.
The score remained 3-0 until the bottom of the fifth when Torrington exploded for four runs.
A leadoff triple by infielder Jackson Jones sparked a four-run frame.
Two wild pitches drove in runs in the inning, while a double by Firminhac, single by outfielder Matthew Hellus pushed the Tiger lead to 7-0.
Green River scored its only runs of the game in the top of the sixth, while Firminhac’s groundout and wild pitch brought in the two final runs of the game.
Hager went 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs, while Jones went 3-for-3 with four runs scored. Firminhac and Hellus collected two hits apiece.
On the mound for the Tigers, Keith went 4 2/3 innings, striking out five in the win. It was his first start in two years.
“It was nice to get him up on the mound and get him stretched out a bit,” Mortimore said. “As per Deagan in the past, he just pounds the strike zone, puts the ball in play and allows our defense to work.”
In the night cap, Alliance got the best of Torrington 15-2 in the run-ruled contest.
The visiting Spartans scored at least one run in each inning, with the big inning came in the top of the sixth with five runs cross the plate.
Torrington’s lone runs came in the bottom of the fourth, already trailing 7-0.
A wild pitch and a single by Keith plated the only runs of the game.
“Alliance is a pretty good baseball team. They aren’t far removed from back-to-back state championship appearances in the state of Nebraska. They’ve got some good kids and are well coached,” Mortimore said. “We just let things get out of hand late in the game. I think the score was not quite as indicative of how the game went.”
Keith went 2-for-3 at the plate as Torrington tallied only four hits in the loss.
Hager was tagged with the loss, striking out one in three innings of work.
The next day, the Tigers rebounded with an 18-0 victory over Buffalo.
Torrington scored early and often with five in the first, six in the second and seven in the third.
In the third, Jones smacked a three-run home run, pushing the team’s lead to 18.
“Jackson has been seeing the ball very well. It came into fruition Saturday when he hit a three-run home run,” Mortimore said. “He’s a leader offensively and has been a sleeper for us in the two-hole. He gets on base and finds ways.”
The Tigers had 10 batters tally 16 hits in the win. Aidyn Saucedo paced the team with a 3-for-3 at the plate, while Keith, Jones and Ryder Hackbarth added two apiece.
“They were running short of arms just like everyone else when you get into the second day of four games. We took advantage of it. Granted, we swung the bats very well on Saturday, all the way around. We were selective at the plate and found ways to get on base,” Mortimore said. “For us to put up 18 runs in four innings is indicative of how productive we were at the plate.”
On the mound, Jones went four innings, recording 12 strike outs, while giving up only four hits in the shutout.
“It was typical Jackson,” Mortimore said. “He was in the strike zone. He changed speeds. He got ahead.”
In the final game of the weekend, the Tigers overcame a 3-0 deficit to score an 11-6 victory over the Douglas Cats.
Down 3-0, Hager drove in Torrington’s first run of the game in the bottom of the third.
The Tigers took the lead in the fourth off three runs.
Saucedo’s RBI single cut into the deficit, and he later stole home to put Torrington in front 4-3.
The Tigers never trailed for the remainder of the game.
The home team got five runs across in the fifth and two in the sixth before fending off a brief rally in the top of the seventh by the Cats.
Douglas scored three, but Saucedo recorded the final two outs to end any hopes of the rally.
“He’s going to be a huge asset on the mound,” Mortimore said.
Riley was credited with the victory, striking out nine over six innings, giving up only one earned run on 105 pitches.
“Caeden came out and did what Caeden does,” Mortimore said. “We pushed him to the max, which is the first time we’ve done that this year. He handled it pretty well.”
Austin Short and Hackbarth went 3-for-4 at the plate, combining for four RBIs.
The Tigers are now 6-7 on the season, and they travel to Alliance for the Clair Conley Baseball Tournament June 18-20.
“We return the trip to Alliance, and we’ll see a couple teams we normally don’t see in Bridgeport and Sidney on Friday,” Mortimore said. “Then we’ll get a rematch with Alliance on Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing some teams we normally don’t get to see.”
The Tigers will face Bridgeport, Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. and Sidney, Nebraska at 2 p.m. on Friday and will cap off pool play with Alliance at 7 p.m. Saturday.