Tigers win Bolln Tourney
DOUGLAS – The Torrington senior American Legion baseball team have lost 11 games this season. Of those 11, five of them have been by one run.
Over the weekend, the Tiger ‘A’ team reversed those fortunes, winning two one-run games en route to the Bolln Wood Bat Tournament championship on Sunday afternoon in Douglas.
“Inside our dugout, we know we can compete with anyone in the state,” Tiger coach Jackson Jones said. “We knew we needed to make some adjustments in closing out games. This weekend, we were able to do that. It’s huge for our momentum going into the last week of the season. We did what we needed to do to win games no matter how it was done.”
In the opening game of the tournament on Friday, the Tigers scored a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Wheatland Lobos.
Torrington trailed 4-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth when the bats finally started clicking.
Austin Short got the bats going with a one-out single. Ayden Desmond and Ben Firminhac followed it up with singles to load the bases. An error on ground ball hit by Landre Greiman put the Tigers on the scoreboard, cutting the deficit in half. Mac Hibben singled and Grady Shields grounded out to tie the game at four. Ryder Hackbarth capped off the big inning with a single to put the Tigers in front 5-4.
Wheatland tied the game in the top of the sixth, and it was the last run scored until the game reached extra innings.
With the extra inning rules, Wheatland began the top of the eighth with a runner on second, and the Lobos scored to take a 7-6 lead. However, in the bottom of the seventh, Short quickly tied the game back up with a leadoff single, scoring Drew Kramer. Short stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, and Firminhac capped off the game with a walk-off single.
“Ben has been so huge for us this year,” Jones said. “It seems like he’s always making a clutch play when we need him to. He’s a leader for this team. Guys got on base in the top of the eighth inning and were able to put him in a position to do his thing.”
Firminhac and Short ended the game 3-for-4, while Hibben was 2-for-4. Desmond picked up the win, pitching two innings and striking out four.
On Saturday, the Tigers fell to the Powell Pioneers 9-1.
Torrington struggled to hit the ball, recording only four hits.
The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, when Desmond hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing a run to score.
Powell answered with three in the home half of the inning. They added one in the fourth, four in the fifth and one in the sixth.
“Powell is a really good team,” Jones said. “We knew they were going to hit the ball. A lot of those guys can hit for power.”
The Pioneers hit three home runs off Torrington pitching.
“We just weren’t able to hit the ball as well and get any momentum,” Jones said.
Hibben, Kramer, Moorehouse and Short had one hit apiece. Hibben was tagged with the loss, striking out three over two innings of work.
On Sunday’s bracket play, the Tigers opened the day with a 7-1 win over Green River.
After a scoreless first inning, four consecutive walks issued by Green River handed the Tigers a 1-0 lead. An RBI ground out by Desmond, and an error on a fly ball by Firminhac propelled Torrington to a 4-0 lead.
The Tigers added two more runs in the fourth and one more in the sixth. Green Rivers’ lone run came in the bottom of the sixth.
Torrington had only three hits in the game – two by Firminhac and one by Short. However, the Tigers had seven batters walk, and Green River committed four errors.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as could have,” Jones said. ‘We had good at-bats and put the ball in play, but they went right to their guys. We found ways to manufacture runs and put us in a position to win the tournament championship.”
Greiman picked up the win, striking out three, pitching 3 1/3 innings.
The win advanced the Tigers to the championship game – a rematch with Powell.
Torrington managed to avenge their loss with a 5-4 victory.
“That was a fun game to be a part of. It felt like a state tournament game,” Jones said. “It was high intensity. We knew if we could keep it close maybe we could do something with it.”
Torrington opened the game with three hits in a row. Desmond singled, Firminhac doubled and Greiman singled, giving the Tigers an early 1-0. Hibben also drove in a run despite hitting into a double play.
Powell cut into the Tiger lead with a run in the bottom of the first, and the Pioneers added three in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
It wasn’t until the top of the fifth when another run was scored. A Powell error led to Firminhac scoring, cutting the deficit to one run.
Torrington took the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Desmond walked and Firminhac tripled to tie the game at four, and Hibben singled, scoring Firminhac to put the Tigers back in front.
“Ben had a big hit, and then Mac came up with a big hit to drive Ben in,” Jones said. “It was a great job of doing what we needed to do in manufacturing runs to win.”
In the bottom of the seventh with a Powell runner on first and one out, Long induced a ground ball to the Tiger short stop. Torrington was able to turn the double play to secure the victory.
Tigers upend Buffalo
Torrington also wrapped up a suspended conference game against the Buffalo Bulls on Friday afternoon.
When a thunderstorm put a halt to an 8-0 Torrington lead back on June 22, the two teams were left scrambling to find a time and date to finish the conference game. Since both teams were taking part in the Bolln Tournament, they met in Douglas prior to the start of the weekend tournament to finish the game.
Both teams scored three runs in the fourth, and it proved to be the only additional runs of the game in the 11-0 Tiger victory.
Greiman went 3-for-4, while Desmond went 2-for-4. Desmond also picked up the victory, striking out four over three innings.
The Tigers 21-11 wrap up the regular season this week at home against the Sheridan Jets on Tuesday and the Douglas Cats on Friday, June 14. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
“If we can get those four wins and get that No. 1 seed, it would be huge for us so we can get a bye in the first round,” Jones said. “Since Sheridan is hosting, they get an automatic bid. It’s a scenario where you have about four good teams fighting for three spots. We need to put ourselves in the best position possible.”