Outlaws 2-2 at Green River Wood Bat Tourney
Wins over Rawlins, No. 1 Powell highlight weekend
The Evanston Legion A baseball team celebrated the 4th of July Weekend on the road, posting a 2-2 record at the Green River Wood Bat Tournament.
The Outlaws (16-17) opened the tournament Friday morning with a 7-2 win over Rawlins, though faltered Friday afternoon against the Post 4 Razorbacks out of Pocatello, Idaho, dropping a heartbreaker, 6-5.
The Boys of Post 41 bounced back in a big way Saturday, coming from behind to knock off the top team in Class A in the Powell Pioneers, 4-3. Unable to carry that momentum into the final day of the tournament, Evanston was brought back to Earth Sunday afternoon, falling in a rout to Torrington, 13-4.
“It turned out to be a pretty good weekend,” said Outlaws skipper Nick Small. “I think it was probably one of our better tournaments of the year for us, so that was good.”
The Outlaws will be back in Green River Wednesday for a conference doubleheader against the Knights, followed by a doubleheader Friday at Rawlins. Despite his team being a game under .500, Small said he likes where the team is at headed into the final month of the season.
“I wish we would have showed up Sunday against Torrington – we seem like we’re always a team that goes two steps forward, one step back,” Small said. “I think we took three big steps forward against Powell, then went right back to Jekyll and Hyde – never know what we’re going to have. I’d like to see a little bit more consistency, but overall, I like where we’re at. The pitching staff is coming along well, and I think we’ll be alright heading into the postseason.”
Led by a dominating performance on the mound by starting pitcher Ryan Hoover, the Outlaws opened the Green River Wood Bat Tournament Friday morning with a 7-2 win over Rawlins.
Hoover allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out 10 in the complete-game win, his second of the season.
“Ryan pitched extremely well for us,” Small said. “That was kind of a hard game for us – we had just played them earlier in the week and run-ruled them pretty easily. I think we went into that game a little over-confident. It doesn’t matter who you play – you have to go out and put your best foot forward. But overall, the boys got the job done. That’s all that matters.”
The Outlaws cranked out 10 hits in the contest, with multi-hit games turned in by Walker Wilson, Hoover, Brecken Rich and Damian Kaman; Ryder Wilson and Jacson Osborne rounded out the hitting with one apiece. Osborne and Rich each had a double, while Ryder Wilson and Kaman led the team in RBI with two apiece.
Post 4 Razorbacks 6, Outlaws 5
Game two of the Green River Wood Bat Tournament saw the Outlaws go back and forth with the Pocatello Razorbacks, designated the home team by a coin flip prior to the start of the game.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh and Evanston clinging to a one-run lead at 5-4, Outlaws shortstop Gavin Oliver appeared to throw Pocatello base runner Kudter Stucki out at the plate for the second out of the inning. When the dust settled on the play, however, Stucki was called safe, which brought the game back to even at 5-5; the Razorbacks would go on to win the game with a run in the eighth inning, 6-5.
“We have a pretty good relationship going with Pocatello – we’ve gone up there for their tournament, and we went over for a couple of games earlier this year,” Small said. “It’s a good group of kids – they’re very well-disciplined, very well-coached. It’s a good team to play. You’re not going to get away with slop – you gotta play good baseball to compete with those guys, they get a lot of baseball in. It’s good competition for us.”
Walker Wilson took the loss on the hill for the Outlaws, allowing five runs on seven hits, though only two of those runs were earned; he also struck out three. Damian Kaman pitched an inning in relief.
Evanston managed just two hits in the contest, led by Braxton Bauer, who went 1-for-3, with a double and 3 RBI; Osborne was responsible for the team’s other hit.
“Those are the games we’re seeking out – wanting good competition,” Small said. “Walker pitched excellent for us – kept us in the ball game by eliminating walks, and the defense played for him. If we’re the home team, I think we come out on top of that one.”
Not content to dwell on the previous afternoon’s loss, the Outlaws chose to take out their frustrations on the top team in the state in Legion A, clipping the Powell Pioneers in come-from-behind fashion, 4-3.
“We’ve been losing a lot of one-run ball games – I wanna say we’ve lost six or seven of them,” Small said. “I don’t know if the boys believe me when I tell them that those games are going to pay dividends when it counts, but we finally punched one through with the win in a close game. I’d rather win that game than the six or seven that we lost.”
Brecken Rich had a game to remember for the Outlaws, giving up just two runs on seven hits and striking out two over five innings of work for his third win of the season; Rich also helped his own cause at the plate, hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“It’s good to see that the kids have it in them to win a close game like that,” Small said. “Brecken probably had the game of the season for him so far as far as pitching – he was very efficient on the mound for us. He’s been struggling with control, but he controlled that game very well for us.”
Ryder Wilson and Gavin Oliver pitched in relief for the Outlaws. Ryan Hoover led the team at the plate, going 2-for-2; Oliver, Braxton Bauer and Jacson Osborne collected a hit apiece, with Bauer and Osborne driving in a run.
“We put the ball in play, and left the outs on the field,” Small said. “Good things tend to happen when we do that.”
The Outlaws closed out the tournament Sunday with a game where nothing seemed to click, losing to Torrington 13-4.
“The Torrington game was a bit of a trap game,” Small said. “Coming off that big win against Powell, I think the kids were still riding that high a little bit. I think we had more walks and free bases in that game than we had in our last 10 games combined. That really hurt us – it’s hard to win baseball games when you’re not throwing strikes.”
Gavin Oliver took the loss for the Outlaws on the bump, giving up six runs on three hits (two earned) and striking out two in two innings of work. Braxton Bauer, Damian Kaman and Ryder Wilson pitched in relief, with Bauer giving up two runs on two hits and striking out three; Wilson gave up four runs on four hits. Kaman gave up just one run on no hits, and struck out five.
The Outlaws had four players with multi-hit games, led by Oliver’s 2-for-4, 2 RBI performance. Walker Wilson (2-for-4, 1 RBI), Brecken Rich (2-for-3) and Damian Kaman (2-for-3) also had multiple hits. Bauer rounded out the hitting, going 1-for-3, with an RBI.