TORRINGTON – The Torrington senior Legion baseball team wrapped up the home portion of the 2021 schedule with a sweep of the Chadron (Nebraska) Nationals on Tuesday evening at Dean Bullock Field.
The Tigers also celebrated the final home game of two seniors – Jackson Jones and Caeden Riley – both of whom pitched the team to the sweep.
“It’s go-time now,” Tiger manager Rob Mortimore said. “It’s nice to come out here and get two wins for the last home games of the season.”
In game one, on 78 pitches, Jones pitched six innings, striking out five and giving up only four hits in a 12-2, run-ruled contest, and in game two, Riley struck out 13 over seven innings also giving up four hits in a 9-3 win.
“You just put your two 19s up there and let them go. It worked out really nice where you don’t put them on a pitch count, and they can just go,” Mortimore said. “Both of them turned out great performances tonight.”
In the run-ruled contest, Torrington exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the second inning, breaking a scoreless tie.
All eight runs crossed the plate with two out on the scoreboard.
Ben Firminhac with two walks in the inning. Ryder Hackbarth, Deagan Keith, Jones, Bryce Hager and Riley collected hits, while Matthew Hellus also walked in the inning to give the Tigers a commanding lead.
“We had the one big inning in the first game which set the tone for game one,” Mortimore said.
A Hager sacrifice fly made it 9-0 in the third, but it wasn’t until the fifth inning when the Chadron offense put up its only runs of the game.
A two-RBI single by Firminhac pushed the Torrington lead back to nine at 11-2, and in the bottom of the sixth, Keith’s single pushed the Tiger lead past the run rule, ending the game with one out in the inning.
All nine Tiger batters tallied at least one hit, while Austin Short, Hager and Keith recording two hits apiece.
In game two, Torrington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, cruising to the six-run victory.
“We battled and pushed three runs across in the first which is huge,” Mortimore said. “Offensively, we did some good things. We moved some runners over. We did what we had to do and are going to have to do over the next three weeks to get to state.”
After a one-out walk to Jones, a Hager triple, a Riley sacrifice fly and a double by Short, gave the Tigers the early advantage.
It was a lead which Torrington never surrendered in the win.
The Tigers added three more runs in the third off an error, a bunt by Short and a RBI groundout by Hellus.
In the top of the fourth, one swing of the bat, cut the Torrington lead in half with a three-run home run. It was only the second hit of the game for Chadron.
The Tigers got the three runs back over the final two innings, while allowing only one additional Chadron base runner for the remainder of the game.
Firminhac paced the Torrington attack went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and three runs scored. Riley and Hager also collected two hits apiece and accounted for five runs scored.
The sweep also marked the final home games for Jones and Riley as a member of the Tiger program.
“They were two of the leadership group last year, but for them to take it on by themselves and lead by example on the mound, at the plate and in the dugout is great,” Mortimore said. “They are a part of the group that brought baseball back to Torrington. We definitely own it to them to go out and finish it this way.”
Torrington (10-10 overall and 1-5 in the ‘A’ Southeast) wrapped up their week of baseball on Wednesday at Buffalo. Torrington then wraps up ‘A’ Southeast conference play against the Wheatland Lobos (16-10 and 5-1) at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6 in Wheatland.
“Hopefully, we’ll continue what we did tonight, playing solid baseball, moving the ball around and getting the job done,” Mortimore said.