TORRINGTON – There was a consensus among the Torrington Tiger players after one day of practice: They were glad to be back among friends and back on the field competing, getting ready for the 2020 season, despite the restrictions in place.
“As of right now, we all know what we want to do. We are all super excited. I think we all have that one goal in mind,” Tiger infielder and pitcher Caeden Riley said.
Despite the excitement of finally getting to begin practice, there is still a different feel in the air this year.
“We can’t share bats, gloves or helmets,” Tiger catcher Gabe Mitchell said. “It’s a big difference because we are so used to, at practice, being right next to each other in a big group, doing everything as a whole team. Now that we are cut down into two teams, it’s a little bit different.”
The Tigers were split into infield and outfield groups due to the restrictions set in place by the Wyoming American Legion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One group starts at the main field working on fielding and throwing, while the second group is on the opposite side of the Torrington Sports Complex, hitting in cages.
However, despite being split up, they are making the most of the added reps they are getting.
“We got a lot of hitting done, which is good,” Mitchell said. “We would switch back and forth so we would have a group hitting at one time and a group in the field. We got some conditioning done and did some outfield drills and caught some balls.”
Because of the team being split into two groups, players won’t always have a coach looking over their shoulders.
“We have to hold ourselves more accountable because we are all split up,” Torrington utility player Sam Firminhac said. “We aren’t always going to have a coach right there watching and making sure you are doing the right thing. We have to make sure we are getting better on our own.”
Even though the timetable for being able to practice as a team and when games will actually begin is unknown, expectations are running high throughout the team.
“Basically, everyone is back. We feel like we turned the program around last year and we have an opportunity to go pretty far this year,” Firminhac said. “We are pretty optimistic.”
“We are super excited to get going,” Mitchell said. “Everyone has beared down, and we really want to get out and go.”
“We have gotten so close,” Riley said. “I think we want to finally put that one run together and go get it.”