TORRINGTON – After starting the season with three straight losses, the Torrington Tiger senior Legion baseball team swept the Dean Bullock Tournament with four wins in two days.
The Tigers opened the game with a run-ruled 15-5 victory over Laramie.
Laramie scored one run in the first and second innings before Torrington exploded for 15 runs over the final four innings.
“We came out a little flat in game one. We made a couple mistakes early that cost us some outs,” Tiger coach Sam Firminhac said.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Ryder Hackbarth got the offense going with a leadoff walk. Austin Short doubled, and Tiger C-NE team callup Mac Hibben drove in the Tigers first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.
A wild pitch tied the game at two, and singles by Landre Greiman, Aidyn Saucedo, Ben Firminhac and Matthew Hellus put the Tigers in front 4-2.
“We were short-handed, and the young guys stepped up after only practicing with us once,” Firminhac said. “Landre did a great job. He played great in the infield, hit the ball well, ran the bases well.”
Torrington poured on six runs in the third before added three in the fourth and two in the fifth to wrap up the team’s first victory of the season.
The top half of the Tiger lineup did most of the offensive damage. Firminhac went 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs, while Saucedo, Hellus and Ayden Desmond had two hits apiece. In all Torrington collected 14 hits.
Nolan Long earned the win, pitching four innings and striking out two, and Shields came on in relief to close out the game.
“Nolan did a great job of throwing in game one,” Firminhac said. “Grady Shields has been throwing well all year at practice.”
In the night cap, Torrington took an early lead, but in the end, it took a walk-off single down the first base line by Hibben for the Tigers to knock off the Green River Knights, 4-3.
Saucedo got the offense going with a leadoff single and eventually came around to score on a single by Austin Short.
It was the only run scored in the game until Green River plated three in the top of the fifth. All three of the Knight runs came with two outs on the scoreboard.
Torrington got one of those runs back in the home half of the inning. Saucedo walked to lead off the inning. After stealing second base, Saucedo also stole third, but a throwing error brought him around to score.
Green River threatened again in the seventh, but the Knights left runners at second and third base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Saucedo led off the inning with a single. A pair of passed balls put Saucedo on third. Firminhac’s sacrifice fly tied the game at three. Desmond singled before ending up on third due to another passed ball. Hackbarth walked putting runners at the corners with two out.
Hibben was due up in only his second game at the senior Legion level, and on the second pitch of the at-bat, Hibben singled down the first base line, driving in Desmond in the walk-off victory.
“Mac came through with a big hit at the end,” Firminhac said. “I was trying to give him a sign, and he wasn’t looking at me. He wanted to hit, so I let him be. He did it.”
Hibben and Saucedo tallied two hits apiece to lead the Tigers.
Saucedo was also credited with the win, pitching two innings in relief and striking out three. He and Desmond combined to strike out nine Green River batters.
“Desmond through one of the best games he’s thrown all year,” Firminhac said. “Then Saucedo came on. He’s only thrown one bullpen at practice. We needed him to get six outs and did just that.”
Firminhac said the two wins were a big confidence booster for the team, especially since the team was short-handed missing two players due to the Shrine Bowl.
“It does a lot,” Firminhac said. “That was a good team over there. I was happy how we didn’t get down on ourselves. We had some good, long at-bats that got his pitch count up.”
The next day, Torrington outscored Buffalo and Rock Mountain (Colorado) by a combined 25-10 in a pair of victories.
In game one, jumped on Buffalo early in the 13-5 win, but ultimately had to overcome a one-run deficit to get the victory.
The Tigers grabbed the early lead on Firminhac’s triple drove in a pair of runs, and Desmond drove Firminhac home to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Buffalo scored the next four runs, with three coming across in the top of the second and one in the third to tie the game at three.
In the fourth, Torrington went in front for good as Hackbarth scored on a fielder’s choice. It was the first of three runs the Tigers scored in the inning. The home team added three in the fifth and sixth innings to pull away for the win.
Short was 3-for-3 at the plate, while Firminhac and Hibben went 3-for-4 and combined for six RBIs. Desmond added two hits and three RBIs.
In the final game of the weekend, Firminhac reached on a Rocky Mountain error, scoring Saucedo. It was the first of 12 runs the Tigers scored in a 12-5 victory.
Torrington never trailed in the win as the Tigers plated five in the second inning.
Short, Firminhac and Greiman had two hits apiece. Short was also credited with the win in 3 2/3 innings of work, striking out two.
The Tigers (4-3) host Sheridan County (Nebraska) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 at Bullock Field.