Zack Virtue

Zack Virtue watches intensely as a Casper batter takes an at-bat in the semi-finals of the Bolln Tournament. “. . . You know he’s always giving it everything he’s got,” said Mortimore of Virtue. “He loves being out there on the field.”

Throughout Douglas’ unforgettable 2021 season, they’ve been the ones to count on.

They’re the leaders in the dugout, the steady hands guiding the shoulders of those beneath them in age. They’ve spent countless hours in batting cages and on the bump, but they’ve allotted just as many to building relationships with teammates and gaining trust from their coaches.

So Friday night’s opening game of the Bolln Tournament? That was their moment, one they’d traded in years of hard work and devotion to earn.

It was the senior Cats’ night to shine. And they didn’t disappoint.

Douglas seniors Carson Selk, Zack Virtue, Jordan Bobrowski and Marcus Mongiello were honored before the game for their commitment to the program.

Manager Travis Mortimore still remembers their earliest days as Cats.

“When I first got here, I had this group of guys when they were 14 and 15,” he said. “I got to help mold them into what they are right now. And to see the gains that they’ve made from back then to being the 18 year olds that they are now is just awesome.”

“They help spark us, whether they see it or not. Because when they go, the rest of the team picks up, too. We build off them.”

Friday night’s 8-0 thwarting of Torrington served as evidence to reinforce Mortimore’s statement.

Carson Selk pitched a complete game shutout of the Tigers, tossing five innings of three-hit baseball without allowing a single walk. It was Selk’s second complete game of the season following his dominant 1-0 win over Casper Crush earlier in the season.

The opening night of the Bolln Tournament, explained Mortimore, typically gets the Cats “amped” up and “ready to go.” The team gets to wear special U.S.A.-themed jerseys, while the crowd on hand is often one of the largest of the season.

And in such an important game, Mortimore knew exactly who to call on.

“There was never a doubt I was going to pick Carson to start that game,” Mortimore said. “He’s earned it. I can’t think of anyone who deserved to start that game more than him.”

The remainder of Douglas’ senior cast, per usual, delivered.

Zack Virtue went 2-2 with an RBI and a run. His first-inning double to deep left field brought fellow senior Marcus Mongiello – who hit 1-2 on the day with an RBI – safely home, putting the game out of reach early at 5-0. Jordan Bobrowski crossed the plate in the same inning, as well.

Mortimore spoke of what he will remember most about each of his seniors when they hang their cleats for the final time.

“They’re all just tremendous,” he said. “Marcus, he’s a dog. He’s just going to get after it no matter what. I’ll never forget the fire that he brings. When we’re down and quiet, he’s not afraid to speak up and get a spark going in us.”

“With Carson, his dedication is unmatched. He’s a really coachable kid. Super easy to get along with. Great team player who absolutely loves the game.”

Mortimore smirked as he moved on to Virtue.

“Zack, well, he’s my funny guy. I love his personality. He’s very laid back, but you know he’s always giving it everything he’s got. He loves being out there on the field.”

“And lastly, Jordan. I would say he’s our backbone. When he goes, we go. He’s kind of a silent leader.”

Mortimore paused to collect his thoughts on Bobrowski, a player perhaps more well-known by his nickname.

“I’ve had Jojo for a while, and he’s been one of the most pure contact hitters I’ve ever seen. I’m going to miss his ability to put the ball in play.”

The Cats went on to produce a come-from-behind win over Green River in their second Bolln Tournament match to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the semi-finals, before ultimately falling 5-2 to Casper, cutting their run short.

Next up for Douglas is the Legion A District Tournament in Wheatland from July 16-18. Should the Cats place in the top four, they’ll earn a birth to the Legion A State Tournament in Cheyenne.

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