CHEYENNE – Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 had one final chance to tie or walk away with a dramatic victory.
It never came to fruition.
Post 6 had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and trailed by two runs to the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Andrew Johnson led off with an infield single and advanced all the way to third. He never made it home.
Dawson Macleary grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to hand the Oysters a 5-3 victory on the final day of pool play of the Continental Amateur Baseball Association wood-bat tournament Saturday at Powers Field.
Post 6 (44-18) takes on the Rocky Mountain Lobos at 9:30 a.m. today in a semifinal at Powers Field.
“That was kind of our night in a nutshell right there in the seventh,” Sixers manager Ty Lain said. “Get runners out there, put yourself in position to have a big inning, and they just didn’t quite execute in those critical at-bats and came away with nothing. We’ve just got to be better at that moving forward.”
A game that, for the most part, featured crisp defense changed directions for Post 6 in the fourth inning. Working with a 1-0 lead, the Sixers’ defense committed two blunders – both throwing errors – that came back to haunt them.
Rocky Mountain shortstop Trevor Myers chopped a grounder to third baseman RJ Prince, but his throw sailed high to first, allowing Myers to scoot to second. Myers later scored on an RBI single off the bat of left fielder Cole Klinzman.
“That was huge,” Prince said. “That guy scores, and then they gain a little momentum after we just took the momentum. They ran with it, so that hurt us a lot.”
The second error of the inning cost the Sixers two more runs. After Julian Chambers reached on a fielder’s choice, John Wampler tapped a ground ball to second baseman Grant Redman, but his throw went wide of first.
What once was a one-run lead for Post 6 quickly turned into a 3-1 deficit.
Cheyenne inched back within a run in the fifth. Nico Vite dropped a bunt down the third-base line and Rocky Mountain pitcher Will Gabriel’s throw to first rolled into right field. Vite sprinted all the way to third base and scored on Max Pedroza’s bloop single to shallow right to cut the margin to 3-2.
“We had a couple key at-bats where all we had to do was execute in those at-bats – nothing special – and we didn’t execute,” Lain said. “We just weren’t very timely offensively (Saturday), and we made a couple mistakes defensively that cost us.”
Gabriel bounced back and struck out Macleary to end the threat. The Rocky Mountain hurler bellowed in excitement as he walked toward his dugout.
His teammates fed off that energy in the sixth.
The Oysters strung three consecutive hits, including an RBI double from Chambers to help extend the lead to 5-2.
Cheyenne starter Trenton Rodriguez did his best to keep his team within reach. The right-hander worked six innings, allowed five runs, two earned, struck out three and walked two.
“He threw outstanding (and) gave us a great chance to win,” Lain added. “Three of those runs of their five we handed to them defensively. But he just battled and kept throwing strikes and keeping them off balance with mixing pitches.”
A wild pitch cut the margin to 5-3 in the sixth, but the Sixers couldn’t crack the Oysters’ defense, despite racking up hits. Prince finished with a team-best three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI. Vite went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
“We gave away a lot of things,” Prince said. “The good thing is, we still found a way to fight back at the end. We had bases loaded, one out. It didn’t up our way. Usually (10 hits) produces more runs, but we just didn’t play clean in the field and that hurt us in the end.”
ROCKY MOUNTAIN 5, CHEYENNE 3
Rocky Mountain … 000 302 0 – 5 10 2
Cheyenne …………. 001 011 0 – 3 10 2
Rocky Mountain pitching: Powlaske, Gabriel (4), Scheer (6) and Myers/Boone (4). Cheyenne pitching: Rodriguez, Macleary (7) and Johnson.
W: Powlaske. L: Rodriguez (4-3).
2B: Rocky Mountain 1 (Chambers), Cheyenne 2 (Prince 2).