Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Blue Jays host Sr. Babe Ruth state tournament

First games today will be vs. Casper at 3:30 p.m. and Lander at 6 p.m.

 

June 29, 2017

DAILY NEWS/ Alex Kuhn

Elijah Leyva brings the heat during a game against the Jr. Babe Ruth team on May 30 at Newell Sargent Park.

WORLAND - Sr. Babe Ruth team, the Big Horn Basin Blue Jays, are hosting and competing in the Sr. Babe Ruth State tournament starting today and ending on Sunday at Newell Sargent Field.

The Blue Jays will compete against Buffalo, Belle Fourche, Casper, Gillette, Lander and Newcastle for the state title, and open the tournament with a doubleheader, first against Casper at 3:30 p.m. then against Lander at 6 p.m.

Led by seniors Coy Larkins and Kyle Lamb as well as having a never-give-up attitude, the Blue Jays can be a dark horse to win the tournament.

"Those guys bring a lot to the table. They're great leaders and the younger guys look up to them," said Blue Jays coach Robert Cardenas about his senior leadership. "This team never gives up. That's one thing I preach to these guys is not giving up whether we're down or up. That's what we bring to the table, we're gritty."

With seven teams competing, originally the tournament was slated for bracket play. Instead, the bracket was ditched in favor of pool play through Saturday. On Sunday the third- and fourth-placed teams will play for third place at 9 a.m. while the top two teams in pool play will matchup with the title on the line following the third-place game.

The switch in format does add a new wrinkle, but for the most part the Blue Jays will run things as usual.

"It changes a little bit, but we always planned on pitching Coy (Larkins) against Casper. We can do the same thing we just have to throw a couple other pitchers in there with the other games," said Cardenas.

Buffalo, Casper and Newcastle will be the favorites to raise the championship trophy, but the tournament is wide open for the taking.

"There's some good teams coming here and any one of them can win at any time. Casper is a good bunch of kids and have been playing for most the year," said Cardenas, "What I told our guys as long as we're playing our style of ball, with stingy defense and good offense, we can beat any of these guys."

Larkins has led the team this season with consistent production and strong leadership to which they Blue Jays have benefitted from. The Blue Jays have also seen their inexperienced players make strong improvements as well.

"Coy Larkins is an all-around good baseball player and he's the leader of the team. Also I have to give props to Kendrick Kapptie. The guy has never played baseball before and he's progressed phenomenally throughout the season. He's gained experience and is a good ball player now," said Cardenas.

Having the state tournament in Worland looks to give the Blue Jays a slight edge over the over six teams.

"Definitely, we all get to sleep in our own beds and that's a big deal. We also get to do our normal routine and it has given us an edge. We practice on this field all season long and we definitely have the advantage on that," said Cardenas.

As for the keys to winning the tournament, Cardenas believes his team just needs to be their usual scrappy selves to go with some timely hitting.

"We do a good job of hitting we just need to start hitting the gaps to go with smart base running. Most importantly we can never give up because anything can happen," said Cardenas. "Anyone can have a good inning and anyone can have a bad inning, and we need to be gritty because that's what separates us from the rest."

The schedule for the Sr. Babe Ruth Tournament is as follows.

Thursday

10:30 a.m. Buffalo vs. Gillette

1 p.m. Newcastle vs. Belle Fourche

3:30 p.m. Worland vs. Casper

6 p.m. Worland vs. Lander

Friday

8 a.m. Casper vs. Newcastle

10:30 a.m. Casper vs. Gillette

1 p.m. Belle Fourche vs. Gillette

3:30 p.m. Worland vs. Belle Fourche

6 p.m. Buffalo vs. Lander

Saturday

8 a.m. Newcastle vs. Buffalo

10:30 a.m. Worland vs. Buffalo

1 p.m. Belle Fourche vs. Casper

3:30 p.m. Lander vs. Newcastle

6 p.m. Gillette vs. Lander

Sunday

9 a.m. Third-place game third-place team vs. fourth-place team

Following third-place game, championship game first-place team vs. second-place team

 
 

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