Tigers split regular season finale with Douglas
Torrington earns three seed for District Tournament
TORRINGTON – Friday marked the final home games of the 2023 season for the Torrington Tigers, and it also marked the final home games in the careers of Austin Short, Nolan Long, Ben Firminhac, Ryder Hackbarth and Jonathan Bloom.
“Those seniors that we honored tonight have done an amazing job of representing this program for all those years,” coach Jackson Jones said. “I had a chance to play with three of them and then coached them for the rest of their careers. Hats off to them for doing what they did in their careers and especially having such a special season like they had this year.”
The Tigers split the final home conference doubleheader against the Douglas Cats to earn the No. 3 seed for this week’s ‘A’ East District Tournament in Douglas.
In game one, the Tigers came up short 4-3.
Torrington got on the scoreboard first in the opening inning. Ayden Desmond and Firminhac recorded back-to-back singles. Landre Greiman advanced the two runners into scoring position, and Mac Hibben drove in Desmond to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the top of the fourth inning when Douglas got two runs across. The Cats added one more in the sixth to extend their lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Greiman led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and later came around to score on a single by Long.
In the top of the seventh, Douglas pushed its lead back to two runs with a two-out triple, but Torrington wasn’t done yet.
Short led off the inning with a walk before Douglas recorded two consecutive outs. Short stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Greiman walked again, putting runners at the corners. Hibben singled, driving in Short, but Greiman was caught stealing third to end the game.
Torrington tallied five hits in the loss – one each from Desmond, Firminhac, Hibben, Long and Short.
Long was tagged with the loss. He struck out six in a complete game effort.
The Tiger defense committed four errors in the loss, aiding in Douglas scoring multiple runs in the game.
“We needed to clean it up,” Jones said. “We knew Ayden was going to go out and throw strikes like he usually does, and we knew we were going to have to back him up. Nolan threw well in the first game. We just didn’t do as good of a job.”
Game two started much like game one – with Torrington holding a 1-0 lead en route to a 6-4 victory.
“The second game was huge, punching the three seed for us,” Jones said. “We didn’t want to drop to the four.”
Firminhac’s one-out triple led to the game’s first run courtesy of an RBI from Greiman.
Torrington held onto the lead until the top of the fifth inning.
Douglas plated two runs in the top half of the inning, but the visitors lead was short-lived.
Drew Kramer walked and two batters later, Desmond tripled, tying the game at two. Firminhac followed it up with a single, putting the Tigers back in front.
The Cats got one run back in the sixth, but Torrington kept the bats offense rolling in the bottom half of the inning.
Hibben led off with a double, and a Douglas error drove in Hibben. Kramer walked, and Short doubled, driving in two more runs.
In the seventh, the Cats loaded the bases with no one out. Greiman came on in relief of Desmond and recorded three consecutives to secure the victory.
“When you are in that situation, up a couple runs in a game this late in the season, you don’t want to have to send a kid in there with the bases load,” Jones said. “He did a great job keeping his composure and throwing strikes.”
Firminhac went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and run scored.
“We trust those guys in the top of the lineup to do their thing,” Jones said. “Ben and Ayden both had triples today which is huge. Ayden had one late in the game to jumpstart that late run we had.”
Desmond picked up the win, striking out six in six innings.
“Those are our dudes,” Jones said of the pitching performances of Long and Desmond. “Those are the guys we are going to go to when we need to win games. They do a great job for us. Landre came in and closed things down. He did a great job of throwing strikes and letting the defense work.”
The Tigers head to the ‘A’ East District Tournament as the No. 3 seed. They will open against the No. 6-seeded Wheatland Lobos on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Douglas’ Nida Field.