There was baseball played in Wyoming over the weekend, and the Evanston Legion AA team was in the thick of it — the Outlaws traveled north for the Gillette Spring Classic, posting a 1-3 record in the first three days of play.
With a win over the defending state champion Casper Oilers on Saturday, the Outlaws earned a fifth game on Monday against Sheridan for third place — that game was still in progress when the Herald went to press on Memorial Day.
“We’re definitely green,” said Outlaws manager Chad Thompson of his team’s first four contests. “The first weekend out, we’re really worried about arms. We maybe had to put some kids in situations we won’t be putting them in further down the stretch. But it’s good for them to get out and compete.”
Gillette 11, Outlaws 3
The Outlaws opened the tournament Friday against Gillette and struggled early, spotting the host team a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Evanston halved the lead with three runs in the top of the second but were unable to get closer, as Gillette held the Outlaws scoreless the remainder of the game. The Riders plated five more runs to win 11-3, in a game that was closer than the score might indicate.
“We gave up six runs in the first, and that ended up killing us,” Thompson said. “It put us in a hole that we couldn’t dig out of. But we’re moving. We’re learning.
After going three up-three down to start the game, the Outlaws got the bats going in the top of the second, leading off with consecutive singles by Ryan Fisher, Guss Allred and Kendell Cummings; Cummings’ hit scored Fisher for the Outlaws’ first run of the season. With two on and two out later in the inning, Conner Peterson smacked a two-run double to cut Gillette’s lead to 6-3.
Evanston scattered seven hits over six innings, led by Peterson’s two-hit, two-RBI performance. Jagger Mitchell and Casey Periman each collected a hit in the contest.
Ethan Beus got the start on the bump for the Outlaws, and struggled a bit in his first outing, giving up six runs on seven hits in one inning of work. Jayden Schneider, Jordan Schneider and Brenden Thompson all pitched an inning in relief.
Outlaws 20, Casper 7
Shaking off Friday’s loss to Gillette, the Outlaws jumped out to an early lead against Casper Saturday and never looked back, pounding out 16 hits in a 20-7 rout of last year’s state champions.
“We came out on the right end of stroking the ball that game,” Thompson said.
Five Outlaws recorded multiple hits, led by a 3-5, 3 RBI performance by Jagger Mitchell; Clayton Moyles went 3-6 with 2 RBI.
Evanston plated a pair of runs in the first inning, with singles by Moyles and Periman and a double by Ryan Fisher. Casper answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first to knot it at 2-2.
After scoring another run in the top of the second, the Outlaws broke the game open in the top of the third, scoring three runs to take a 6-2 lead. Brenden Thompson, Conner Peterson and Jayden Schneider crossed the plate for Evanston in the inning.
The Outlaws continued the scoring onslaught in the top of the fourth. Fisher led off the inning with a single, followed by doubles from Gus Allred and a two-run double by Periman to make it 8-3. Evanston scored three more runs in the inning, led by a RBI single by Mitchell.
Down 11-4 in the bottom of the fifth, Casper plated three runs to cut the Outlaws’ lead to 11-7. But just as it seemed the Oilers were poised for a comeback, Evanston slammed the door with nine runs in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach, 20-7. Two-run doubles by Allred and Schneider and RBI singles by Mitchell and Thompson highlighted the inning.
Allred got the start on the mound for the Outlaws, and the lefty was dealing, at one point striking out seven batters in a nine-batter stretch. He picked up his first win of the season, allowing four runs on two hits, all earned, and striking out eight.
“Gus [Allred] threw really well for us,” Thompson said. “Plus we got the bats going, which was a really good combination that game.”
Mitchell, Moyles and Thompson all saw action in relief with Moyles striking out five.
Along with Mitchell and Moyles, Fisher, Allred and Periman had multiple hits with two apiece; Allred, Thompson and Schneider each finished with two RBI.
Cheyenne Post Six 17, Outlaws 2
After pounding out 17 hits the day before in a 20-7 win over the Casper Oilers, the Outlaws’ bats went quiet Sunday morning — Evanston managed just four hits against Cheyenne Post 6, and was undone by a disastrous fourth inning in a 17-2 loss.
“Cheyenne’s a good team, but we made a lot of errors — mental and playing errors,” Thompson said. “Just way too many. Then you have the inning that gets out of control, because the errors keep snowballing.”
The game was knotted at 2-2 through two innings, with an RBI double by Jagger Mitchell in the first and a RBI single by Clayton Moyles in the second accounting for the two runs. Cheyenne broke the game open with three runs in the top of the third, then exploded for 12 runs in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Jayden Schneider got the start on the mound for the Outlaws and had a solid outing, giving up two runs on two hits (zero earned) and striking out one in two innings of work. Talen Critchfield took the loss for Evanston, giving up five runs (two earned) on one hit and walking three. Derek MacDonald and Quiton Elmer also pitched in relief for the Outlaws.
At the plate, Reid Gross and Jordan Schneider joined Mitchell and Moyles with a hit apiece, and each scored a run in the contest.
Sheridan 3, Outlaws 1
Sunday afternoon’s game against Sheridan turned into a pitcher’s duel of sorts for the Outlaws, with Cheyenne doing just enough at the plate to eke out a 3-1 win.
Ryan Fisher got the start for the Outlaws and pitched a gem, giving up three runs on eight hits and striking out five in a losing effort.
“That was a really good outing for Ryan,” Thompson said. “When you have a pitcher that throws that well, it’s a little frustrating when the bats aren’t there. When your pitcher gives up three runs, you win most of those games.”
The game was scoreless through two innings before Sheridan broke the stalemate in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs; they added their third and final run in the bottom of the fourth.
The Outlaws looked like they might get something started in the top of the sixth, after Conner Peterson led off by getting hit by a pitch. Reid Gross followed with a single to advance Peterson to second; with one out, Jagger Mitchell scored Peterson on a shot to right field to cut Sheridan’s lead to 3-1. Mitchell tried to stretch his hit to a double and was called out, and with two out and a runner on third, Fisher struck out to end the inning and the threat.
The Outlaws collected five hits on the day, led by a 2-for-3 effort by Casey Periman. Mitchell was 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Reid Gross and Gus Allred had a hit apiece.
“Our goal this weekend was to get a fifth game — that was our goal going in,” Thompson said. “We achieved that goal, so we’re pretty happy. Now we’ll get ready for Rock Springs.”