WHEATLAND – The Torrington Tigers wrapped up ‘A’ Southeast Conference play Tuesday evening with a pair of road losses to the Wheatland Lobos.
The Tigers fell 7-2 in game one and 15-9 in game two in their first action in nearly a week.
“We keep saying this, but the games were a lot closer than the scoreboard showed,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said.
Torrington gave up three runs in two innings in game one and gave up six runs in the fifth.
“We fell apart defensively. We really hurt ourselves tonight, throwing the ball around a little bit and the pitchers struggled to get ball in the zone,” Mortimore said. “Give Wheatland some credit, they swung the bats very well.”
In game one, Torrington let a 2-1 lead slip away in the middle innings.
Wheatland was first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, scoring courtesy of a Tiger error, but the visitors tied the game at one in the top of the second inning.
Ryder Hackbarth came around to score after a leadoff single. Aidyn Saucedo also singled in the inning. He also stole second, forcing a throwing error, scoring Hackbarth.
The game remained tied at one until the top of the fourth.
In the inning, Hackbarth tallied his second hit of the contest and came around to score after hits by Deagan Keith and Jackson Jones.
It proved to be the final run of the game for Torrington, and the lead also proved to be short-lived.
In the home half of the fourth, Wheatland scored three, adding three more runs in the sixth to pull away for the five-run victory.
Hackbarth and Saucedo paced the Torrington offense. Both players went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Relief pitcher Bryce Hager was tagged with the loss, working three innings, striking out two.
In game two, Wheatland jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings.
Keith came on in relief of starter Caeden Riley and quieted the Wheatland bats.
“We’ve gotten into the habit the last couple of years, I always follow Caeden with Deagan – a soft throwing lefty who throws a ton of strikes,” Mortimore said. “He came out and was efficient. They timed him up a little bit, and we made a couple errors behind him.”
Finally, in the top of the fourth, Jones’ leadoff single jumpstarted the Tiger offense. It was the start of a four-run frame for Torrington.
The Tigers continued to chip away at the deficit into the fifth inning.
Keith led off the frame with a double. The Tigers also got a hit from Ben Firminhac, while Hager was hit by a pitch, while Hackbarth and Caeden Riley reached on errors.
By the time Wheatland recorded the third out, Torrington had cut the Lobo lead to 7-6.
“We battled back,” Mortimore said. “We were down 7-0 after two innings in game two. They stuck in there with the mentally to get after it.”
It proved to be the as close as the Tigers came to seeing the lead in the game.
Wheatland exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to fend off the comeback attempt by the Tigers.
Jones went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored as Torrington combined for only six hits in the loss.
Caeden Riley was tagged with the loss, striking out one in three innings of work.
Torrington committed five errors in the loss.
“We are going to have errors. We are going to make mistakes,” Mortimore said. “It’s the team that mentally overcomes those quicker that are going to have a shot to win.”
The Tigers (12-12 overall and 1-7 in the ‘A’ Southeast) returns to action this weekend in Douglas at the Bolln Memorial Tournament. Torrington opens the weekend on Friday evening against Douglas at 8 p.m. On Saturday, they will face Green River at 3 p.m. Sunday’s game time is to be determined based on how the first two games go.”
“Some winnable games and some good competition. We’ll see some other teams from the other side of the state,” Mortimore said. “It’ll good to see them before we head to districts. It’s important for us to go up and play solid baseball and set the tone for (districts).”