EVANSTON — The Evanston Outlaws took their 16-8 record on the season into a tournament in Jackson and came away 17-12 after facing stiff competition. It goes without saying that the American Legion team “is in it to win it” every time they take the field, but sometimes there’s more to it than the results of the win-loss column, such as allowing players to gain experience in different positions and situations to bolster the team’s overall strength and versatility before entering the state tournament. That is where the wins truly matter.
“We were in every single game,” coach Jason Lloyd told the Herald.
“Everyone got in some good reps and we pitched some athletes who needed time and experience to get them ready for state. We put our kids in different situations against some really good competition, which we hope will pay dividends down the road at the right time,” the coach added.
Evanston was defeated by the Hillcrest Knights of Idaho Falls, 7-2, to open tournament play on Thursday, July 5.
The team rebounded and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against Park City in their second Thursday game, only to witness the opposition come back to tie the game and pull ahead as the Park City bats really came to life in the bottom half of innings four through six. Park City claimed an 8-4 victory.
In action on Friday, July 6, the Outlaws took an early 1-0 lead over the Idaho Rockies before the Rockies scored four unanswered runs in the fourth and sixth innings to pick up a 4-3 win over Evanston, as the Outlaws’ seventh-inning comeback attempt came up short.
On Saturday, a defensive struggle ensued against PCH, the pitch-catch-hit club team from northern Utah, whom Evanston had previously beaten earlier this season. Neither team could manage to score through six innings of a pitchers’ duel. PCH scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning and the Outlaws could not answer in the bottom-half, resulting in a 0-2 loss.
“We ended on a good note with Seth Lloyd pitching a no-hitter on Sunday against a tough Billings Halos team,” Lloyd affirmed.
The Outlaws exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the third inning to seal the 9-1 triumph over the Montana team.
The Outlaws used the weekend to enrich and enhance team unity. They camped outside of Jackson rather than staying in a motel and also went river-rafting together.
“It was a great team-bonding experience and we really enjoyed the weekend together,” Lloyd said.
“We kind of treated it as a mid-season break which allowed us to spend quality time together.”
The Outlaws will venture to Park City this Thursday-Saturday, July 12-14, for more tournament action, with a 6 p.m game on Thursday, and will play at 1 and 3 p.m. on Friday, with games scheduled for Saturday, as well.
Next week, the team will travel to Rock Springs for conference games against the Sand Puppies. The Outlaws will then host the Jackson Giants in conference play the week following for their final home appearance of the season, prior to rolling into the state tournament in Cheyenne, in early August.