DOUGLAS – It took Torrington and Douglas an extra two innings to settle on who would punch their ticket to the Wyoming ‘A’ State Legion Baseball Tournament next week in Cody.
Ultimately, it was Torrington who capitalized in the top of the ninth to score the final two runs in a 6-4 victory over the Douglas Cats to secure one more week of baseball.
“It’s one of those games that they’ll remember forever,” coach Sam Firminhac said. “The intensity, playing Douglas on their home field at districts with a chance to go to the state tournament. Ayden throws an amazing game. It was awesome. It was a fun game.”
Starting pitcher Ayden Desmond went the distance for the Tigers on 104 pitches.
Desmond struck out five, walked two and surrendered nine hits.
“The biggest thing about that performance was he didn’t let things get him down,” Firminhac said. “He gave up two, I think, solo home runs, but he came right back and pounded the zone. He stayed in the zone, and that’s the difference to be able to go the length.”
Offensively, Torrington got the bats going in the top of the first. Aidyn Saucedo led off with a walk, and Deagan Keith doubled. Ben Firminhac drove in the game’s first run on a single, and Desmond’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Tigers.
It wasn’t until one out in the bottom of the second when Douglas hit the first of its two home runs of the game to get on the scoreboard.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the Tigers until the bottom of the fourth when a leadoff home run tied the game at two. Later in the inning, Douglas took advantage of Torrington’s lone error to take a 3-2 lead.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning when a two-out double by Matthew Hellus led to an RBI single by Landre Greiman.
The tie was short lived as Torrington second baseman Austin Short doubled in the seventh to put the Tigers back in front 4-3.
Douglas wasn’t going to go away quietly on their home field, tying the game with a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh, ultimately forcing extra innings.
In the top of the ninth, Firminhac led off the frame with a single, Ryder Hackbarth was hit by a pitch and Desmond’s single drove in the go-ahead run. Later in the inning, Douglas’ sixth error of the game gave the Tigers a two-run cushion going into the bottom of the ninth.
Desmond induced two fly balls to center field and recorded his fifth and final strike out of the game to record the final out.
Firminhac, Hellus and Greiman had two hits apiece to lead Tigers. Desmond drove in a team-high two runs.
“We had a lot of guys step up,” Firminhac said. “We left a lot of runners on early that we felt like we could have pushed across. In the end, they were able to get it done. Landre had a nice RBI single. Ben had a great start to the ninth.”
The win also advanced Torrington to the third-place game for seeding purposes for state.
They faced conference foe and the top-seeded Cheyenne Hawks an hour after the final out of the thrilling extra inning contest against Douglas.
The Hawks handed Torrington a 13-4 loss and a No. 4 seed for the state tournament. The Tigers committed eight errors in the six-inning, run-ruled loss.
“It’s tough after playing nine innings and then going back out,” Firminhac said. “We have to be better in that sense because might only play two games at state. We’ll be more prepared for state.”
Torrington’s first run came in the bottom of the second inning when a Cheyenne error led to a Tiger run.
The other two runs came in the bottom of the sixth as Torrington tried extending the game into the seventh inning.
Pinch hitter Mac Hibben singled, and Aidyn Saucedo hit into a bases loaded fielder’s choice to drive in the final two runs of the game.
Deagan Keith paced the Tiger offense with a 2-for-4 day. Torrington only had five hits for the game. Saucedo was tagged with the loss, striking out one over four innings.
Action at the state tournament begins Monday in Cody, and the Tigers will face tournament host Cody.
“They are always good. It seems like we match up with them every year at the state tournament,” Firminhac said. “We are excited to get to play them at their home field. It should be a good atmosphere. They’ll get our best guy, and we’ll get there’s.”