CASPER – The Torrington Tigers punched their ticket to the ‘A’ State Tournament in Powell on Saturday, splitting with Douglas and Cheyenne.
“It wasn’t how we envisioned this weekend going at all, but the ultimate goal was to go to state,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said. “Now, we are one of four teams from this side of the state who will have a shot at a state championship. That’s all we ask for, and that’s been our goal all year.”
In the morning’s semifinal round contest, the Tigers fell 12-9 to the Douglas Cats.
Douglas jumped out to a 6-0 lead heading to the third inning before Torrington bats started to wake up.
Sam Firminhac’s one-out single drove in the Tiger’s first run, and Tristian Kingsley’s sacrifice fly drove in a second run.
Torrington added another run in the fourth on a single by Nick Sherbeyn.
Douglas added three more runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but Torrington matched the Cats run for run.
Torrington trimmed the deficit to 9-7 with four runs in the sixth with all four runs coming with two outs.
Torrington only got two back in the seventh before Douglas ended any hopes of a Tiger comeback.
Sherbeyn, Cameron Murphy and Firminhac tallied two hits apiece and combined for four RBIs and six runs scored.
Murphy was tagged with the loss despite striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings of work.
The loss dropped the Tigers to a Saturday evening matchup with conference foe Cheyenne with the winner locking up the No. 3 seed.
“Most of them are upper classmen and have to carry the horn and come out and get ready to go,” Mortimore said. “They know they didn’t come ready this morning. They realized it after the game and put it on themselves.”
Things were much different Saturday night.
“It was a completely different atmosphere in the dugout. They understand what they have to do and they recognized it and made the adjustment,” Mortimore said. “We had fallen into a rut the last week, week and a half of going through the motions and relying on our season to date to carry us. That can’t be the case when you get to postseason baseball. You have to come out with the same mentality that you have when you are in the middle of a winning streak.”
The Tigers scored all seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to hold on for a 7-4 win over the Hawks.
After a scoreless first inning, a one-out single by Jackson Jones sparked the big inning.
Blake Lofink, Murphy and Firminhac singled, while Deagan Keith doubled. Sherbeyn and Kingsley walked, while Gage Correa reached on an error in the frame.
Cheyenne countered with three runs in the top of the third.
The score remained 7-3 until the top of the seventh.
Cheyenne tallied a trio of singles, but only managed to score once.
Lofink and Kingsley tallied two hits apiece for the Tigers, while Riley struck out nine over six innings.
“Caeden came out and threw well,” Mortimore said. “We were worried about him and wanted to see where he was at with this finger. He came out and threw the ball well, and he did what he had to do to get the job done.”
The win secured a Tiger berth into the state tournament, which beings Saturday in Powell. Torrington drew the Cody Cubs in the opening round. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.
“As long as we stay upbeat and don’t let things snowball into more mistakes, we’ll be alright,” Mortimore said.