TORRINGTON – It was not the way the Torrington senior American Legion baseball team wanted to end the regular season, going 1-3 over the final games against Douglas and Casper.
The Tigers’ lone win came in the second game on Saturday against Casper.
“For sure not the way we saw our regular season ending but getting that last win against Casper on Saturday is big for our mindset going into this weekend,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said. “We know we didn’t play well last week. We are a better team than what we showed.”
Despite that, Torrington had chances in the three losses but were unable to get it done.
In game one on Wednesday, the Douglas Cats pounced early with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed, handing the Tigers an 11-6 loss.
“I don’t know if it was a little bit of a hangover coming from the weekend,” Mortimore said. “We had a really good weekend the weekend prior. We were a little flat, and that’s on me. That’s my responsibility to make sure they are ready to go.”
In the top of the fifth inning, Torrington trimmed a 7-2 deficit to two runs, but the rally was short-lived.
“We came out a little flat in game one against Douglas,” Mortimore said. “We gave up some runs early, but we answered right back. We went through the motions and had opportunities to execute and get guys across the plate, but we just didn’t get it done.”
Cameron Murphy, Tristian Kingsley and Jackson Jones singled in the frame, but Douglas plated four runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to push the lead back to six.
Nick Sherbeyn, Murphy, Kingsley, Deagan Keith and Jones tallied two hits apiece in the loss, while Dylan Dreiling was tagged with the loss. He worked 2 1/3 innings, surrendering five earned runs.
In game two, the Tigers let a 4-1 lead slip through their hands in the bottom of the seventh in a 6-5 loss.
Torrington broke the stalemate in the top of the third.
A leadoff walk by Sherbeyn, singles by Murphy and Sam Firminhac and a sacrifice fly by Caeden Riley gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.
Torrington held on to the lead until the bottom of the seventh.
A triple and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Douglas. The Cats tied the game with a hit batter and another walk. Then C. Spence lined a shot just over the outreached glove of Kinglsey to give Douglas a 6-5 walk-off victory.
Murphy went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Firminhac went 2-for-3 and a walk.
Jones was the losing pitcher of record, striking out two and giving up five runs.
On Saturday, the Tigers played their final home doubleheader of the season, splitting with the Casper Crush.
Once again, Torrington dug itself an early deficit, falling behind 5-0.
The Tigers battled back to tie the game at seven heading to the sixth inning, but the visiting Crush pulled away with four more runs over the final two innings.
Murphy and Blake Lofink went 3-for-4, combining for two RBIs and three runs scored.
Keith was tagged with the loss, pitching 1 2/3 innings.
In game two, Torrington exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to score an 8-4 victory over Casper.
“Being able to bounce back and get game two was big for us,” Mortimore said. “Cameron threw well, and we came through with the bats when we needed to. We continued to stick with it, and before you knew it, our bats came alive in the sixth to take the momentum away. We did a good job of grinding it out and finding ways to get runs across.”
Up until the big inning, Casper led 4-1, but Jones got the bottom of the sixth off on the right foot after being hit by a pitch.
Gabe Mitchell reached on an error, while Ben Firminhac, Murphy, Sam Firminhac and Jones tallied hits in the inning. Lofink and Sherbeyn also reached base as the Tigers poured on seven runs to take control of the game.
Jones went 2-for-2 at the plate as Torrington tallied half of its hits in the sixth.
Murphy went the distance for the Tigers, striking out two over seven innings on 99 pitches.
The Tigers head to the postseason with a 23-13 record.
“Looking at the district tournament, there are six teams going in and only four get to come out,” Mortimore said. “Right now, it’s up in the air. Any of the six teams can be the ones going to state.”
The Tigers earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of Douglas and Wheatland at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinal round at Mike Lansing Field.
“We are definitely going to have to come out and play our best baseball to give ourselves a chance,” Mortimore said. “It’ll be a battle no matter what across the board. We’ll have to go in with the right mindset to get the job done in game one and go on from there.”