The sun was shining bright all weekend as teams from across Wyoming converged at Nida Field for the Annual Bolln Memorial Wood Bat Tournament this past weekend.
The Riverton Raiders and Green River Knights made the trip to Southeastern Wyoming to compete with the Torrington Tigers, Wheatland Lobos, Cheyenne Hawks and the Douglas Cats for the last tournament of the regular season.
Douglas kicked the tournament off by finishing off a game against Riverton that was previously postponed, then got the win in the first official game of the tournament against the Raiders 6-3.
The win began a trend of low-scoring tournament games for the Cats, who have won their games with their bats all year, regularly scoring 10+ runs per game.
Jordan Bobrowski, Luis Lepe and Ransom Ollie combined to hold Riverton to just six hits and three runs in the win, with Cam Spence and Sam Renner leading the way offensively, bringing in two runs apiece.
The team lost its second game to Green River 6-2. The game was 3-2 going into the sixth inning, but a couple of big errors led to the Knights pulling away in the sixth and seventh innings, relieving the Cats of their chance to win the tournament.
The Cats responded with two straight victories to end the tournament in third place, including a victory in extra innings against Cheyenne and a revenge game against Green River, winning both games by a total of three runs. Finishing close games is something the Cats have struggled with all year, and Andrews said that the wins will help their confidence in those situations heading into the last week of the season and the playoffs.
“It couldn’t have hurt, that’s for sure,” Andrews said. “We really needed to get those wins, because when you get down to it in districts and state every team and every game will be fairly close. If you want to advance you’re going to have to win those one, two and three run ball games.
“Playing in those and getting that experience gives us a chance moving forward. We held off Riverton in the first game with a two run lead, then we were able to bounce back with a win in extra innings against Cheyenne and held off Green River that last game. When you get three wins by a total of five runs that moves forward with you.”
Andres Robles was the star of the team’s final game of the tournament on Sunday, winning in a pitchers duel with Knights thrower Jax Peterson.
Robles got his stuff working and never looked back, regularly painting corners and getting movement on his pitches resulting in his best start of the year. He was only two outs away from the shut out when a Green River batter hit a home run just over the left field fence.
“Losing to them on Friday gave me a lot of motivation to get the win when I faced them Sunday,” Robles said. “I was locked in and focused and it helped that I had really good command of all of my pitches that day.”
Robles allowed just four hits and the one run in his complete game performance, while striking out five. He also contributed at the plate and on the base paths, knocking in one run and stealing a base.
Spence drove in the only other two runs in the victory.
The Cats will finish off their regular season this week, with two double-headers at home against first-place teams.
The Bolln Memorial Tournament Champion Tigers will come back to town Wednesday, currently atop the A Southeast division with a 22-10 (6-2) record. The teams have played three games thus far, with Torrington winning two of those three.
Finally, the Cats will close the season against the Casper Crush, who sit atop Douglas’ division with a 24-10 record. The Crush defeated the Cats in their only two matchups this season.
Even though the A Northeast division is out of reach for Douglas, the games will be important to show the rest of the league they can beat anyone and have a serious shot at the state championship.
“(Those games) will be really big because they are teams we will most likely see at districts,” Robles said. “If we can get some wins against them leading up to districts it will be a big confidence boost.”
“If we can take a couple games this week it’s going to go a long way.” Andrews said. “These are the best two teams on our side. Torrington and Casper can both take (state), so if we can beat them heading into the playoffs it will be a really big boost for us. I really think we can take state as long as we’re throwing strikes and keep our defense clean. We have enough guys on this team to hang with anybody.”