ALLIANCE, Neb. – The Torrington senior Legion baseball team went 2-1 over the weekend at Alliance’s Clair Conley Baseball Tournament.
The Tigers swept pool play on day one, defeating Bridgeport, Nebraska, 10-7 and Sidney, Nebraska, 7-3 on Friday. Torrington wrapped up pool play with a 7-3 loss to host Alliance on Saturday evening.
The loss kept Torrington out of the tournament’s championship game on Sunday.
In the team’s win over the Bridgeport Bombers, the Tigers overcame a 5-1 deficit.
“We came out a little bit sluggish to get started on Friday with Bridgeport. We managed to battle back and do just enough in the later innings to get a win,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said.
An RBI groundout by Ryder Hackbarth put the Tigers on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning, but it wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth when the Tigers’ bats came alive.
Short got the offense going with a leadoff double but reached third on an error. A sacrifice fly by outfielder Aidyn Saucedo cut into the Bridgeport lead.
Hits by Deagan Keith, Caeden Riley, Ben Firminhac, as well as Jackson Jones reaching on an error, tied the game at five heading to the sixth inning.
In the top half of the inning, the Bombers plated two runs of their own to go back in front, but the Torrington bats picked up right where it left off in the fifth.
Hackbarth’s leadoff single, followed by Short’s and Saucedo’s singles, a Bryce Hager walk and a double by Riley gave the Tigers a 9-7 lead, their first of the game.
Firminhac drove in the final run of the inning and game.
Firminhac and Matthew Hellus went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Riley went 2-for 3 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
Hager picked up the win in relief of Jones. Hager struck out three in 1 2/3 innings of work.
“Jackson (Jones) struggled to find the strike zone early, but found it a couple innings in,” Mortimore said. “Then our offense got things rolling and pushed across some runs and put some pressure on them.”
Later in the afternoon, the Tigers defeated Sidney Raiders 7-3 in a weather-delayed contest.
“We talked about it in between games,” Mortimore said. “We have to get a faster start. We have to get out of the gates and be ready to play.”
That’s what the team did in game two.
Sidney grabbed an early 1-0 lead, but Torrington’s offense got going in the top of the second inning.
Riley worked a leadoff walk. Singles by Firminhac and Hellus and an RBI groundout by Short gave the Tigers a 2-1 advantage.
Torrington plated three more runs in the third before Mother Nature put a brief halt to the game.
Leading 5-2 when play resumed half an hour later, the Raiders got a run back in the bottom of the fifth, but the Tigers only produced two base runners over the next two innings.
“They put up some runs early, but the lightening delay, the half of an hour, took the momentum we had out,” Mortimore said. “Sidney responded and put up a couple runs, but we allowed them to get those runs. They didn’t earn them. We threw the ball around a little.”
Torrington put the finishing touches on the Raiders with two runs in the seventh.
A Jones triple, Firminhac double and a Hellus single capped off the win for the Tigers.
“It was nice to come away with two wins on Friday,” Mortimore said.
Hellus went 4-for-4 at the plate, while Firminhac and Jones went 2-for-4 with a combined four runs scored.
Riley earned the win, striking out 11 Sidney batters in 4 2/3 innings.
In the final game of the weekend, Alliance exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth en route to the 13-7 victory.
“We played well enough to win on Saturday,” Mortimore said. “It was a lot closer game than the 13-7. We battled hard. We were a week removed from getting 10-run by Alliance. We gave up 11 runs with two outs, which you aren’t going to win baseball games doing that.”
Hager’s triple and a passed ball gave the visitors an early 2-0, but Alliance responded with four runs in the home half of the first.
The Tigers got those runs back in the second with an RBI double by Saucedo and a Keith single tied the game at four.
Alliance got runs across in the second and third to go back in front 6-4.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning when Torrington once again tied the game.
RBI singles from Riley and Firminhac knotted the game up at six apiece, but in the bottom of the sixth, Alliance poured on seven runs to put the game out of reach.
All seven runs came with two out on the scoreboard. In fact, 11 of the 13 runs Alliance scored in the game, came with two outs in the inning.
“Alliance is a good team,” Mortimore said. “They are going to capitalize on the mistakes, and that’s what they did.”
Saucedo went 3-for-3 at the plate, while Firminhac went 2-for-4 for two RBIs. Short was tagged with the loss in relief.
“Deagan threw the ball well, and Austin came in and threw the ball really well too,” Mortimore said. “We got what we wanted from the pitching staff, but just some untimely errors and miscues on defense led to some runs.”
The Tigers (8-8) return home this week, hosting Douglas at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Laramie at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Dean Bullock Field.