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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Worland 12U Baseball keeps it rolling


July 22, 2017

Alex Kuhn

Jorey Anderson makes the throw to first from third during a game against Sheridan on June 25 at Newell Sargent Park.

WORLAND - Coming off their home tournament win on June 25 the Worland 12U baseball team has kept their season rolling along with an impressive showing at the Firecracker Tournament in Heber City, Utah, and a dominating outing at the Riverton tournament.

At the Firecracker Tournament on June 30 and July 1, Worland went 2-2 and just missed out on playing in the championship bracket.

"We ran into some pretty good competition, learned some valuable lessons and had a fun trip. After the tournament we took them to the Lagoon Amusement Park then went and saw a Salt Lake City Bees [Triple A affiliate to the Los Angeles Angels] game," said Worland 12U coach Jerry Leyva.

Worland's two victories came against the Cache Wolverines (13-10) and Team Mateo (13-5). Their two losses were at the hands of the Riverton Outlaws (7-5) and the Utah Devils (15-3).

The higher quality of opponent at the Firecracker Tournament was something new for Worland but also a good opportunity for the team to gain valuable experience. Specifically, Worland's game against the Devils, who were coming off a fifth-place finish at the 104-team tournament in Cooperstown, New York, showed the team from them to take that next leap they will have to master the off-speed pitches.

"They were out of the Salt Lake area, we started out 2-0 on them then they started to crush the ball on us. They had a pitcher that didn't throw hard at all but we just could not figure him out. He had an off-speed pitch that we really struggled with. He wasn't a big kid and didn't throw hard but could really place the ball well. Then at the plate, they were just good hitters," said Leyva about the Devils team.

While the team fell short Leyva and assistant coach Gary Gilmore used the opportunity to teach their younger players on the lessons learned from defeat.

"All in all it was a good tournament. It was really competitive; they had nice facilities and baseball complex. It's a tournament we look forward to going back to next year when we move up to 13U," said Leyva.

Added Leyva, "After the tournament we told them this was a good lesson for us. It was good to see someone who doesn't throw hard but uses those off-speed pitches very well. We talked about how the pitchers throughout the tournament were better than what we've seen. You'll have to make an adjustment in the batter's box so that you're able to hit the ball."

Worland shook off the disappointment of missing out on the bracket in Heber City and turned their focus to the Riverton tournament on July 7-8. The team rolled through pool play beating Rock Spring 12-2, Green River 13-1, Riverton 14-5 and Bridger Valley 13-0. Then in the championship took down Riverton once more, 14-7, winning tournament with an unblemished record.

"We went into Riverton thinking that no one was going to beat us. We went in there and took care of business. We put runs on the board just like we did in Lovell and played tough defense. It was a good bounce back after Heber City and gives us something to build on heading into the Billings Tournament," said Leyva.

Both tournaments were excellent learning lessons for Worland, yet, perhaps the best take away from the two tournaments was the team's boost in confidence.

"We had our hope of making the championship round in Heber City but that didn't happen. But the boys never got down they stay focused and went right back at. Last year when we went to these bigger tournaments and we'd get beat bad you could see the frustration start to show. But this year they know they've improved and that they belong out there and can compete with anyone," said Leyva.

Next up for Worland will be another weekend tournament, this time in Billings.

"We're coming down to the end of the season and have a few more tournaments left and the boys are just as excited as they were when we started the season. Which is great to see, usually around this time they're ready to pack it in, but they're still pumped up and want to play," said Leyva.


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