SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Troopers were two innings and a five-run deficit away from the end of their 2013 season.
But now they’re one long day away from a state championship game berth.
Sheridan defeated the Cheyenne Hawks 12-10 then beat the Jackson Giants 11-4 Friday, working back through the consolation bracket of the Wyoming American Legion ‘AA’ State Tournament to a state semifinal berth.
Against Cheyenne, a two-run eighth and a five-run ninth got them through their first game Friday afternoon and earned them their second game with the Jackson Giants this week.
Trailing 10-5, Will O’Dell hit an RBI double and Mark Munson poked a grounder that scored O’Dell. In the ninth, with the bases loaded, Connor McCafferty singled to score two runs. Munson added a sacrifice fly and Matt Mullinax tacked on two more with a single to left field.
Sheridan was held up by McCafferty and Kevin Bakkehaug who combined for the nine-inning effort on the mound, allowing 13 hits and just five earned runs.
Down 8-1 after five innings, Sheridan outscored the Hawks 11-2 in the final three frames. Sheridan, who has struggled with command at times in 2013, has limited walks in each of its three wins at state.
The pitching, even after a three-hour game against the Hawks, improved against Jackson.
Kaul Eisele gave the Troopers just what they needed if they wanted compete Saturday, as he pitched the full nine innings over Jackson, allowing three earned runs in a quick two-hour nine inning contest. Sheridan eliminated Jackson from the tournament singlehandedly after beating them 17-2 in the first round Wednesday.
Today at 1 p.m., Sheridan will play the loser of Cheyenne Post 6/Casper matchup — a game that was not finished by press time Friday night. Casper and Cheyenne have set themselves apart as the top two squads in ‘AA’ ball this season, but Sheridan has contended with its two fellow North District squads at times.
Sheridan is 1-2 this year against Cheyenne. Post 6 beat Sheridan 16-8 Thursday night in the tournament’s second round. Sheridan is 0-3 against Casper.
If they can win at 1 p.m., Sheridan would have to beat their championship game opponent twice, due to the double-elimination tournament and Sheridan working out of the consolation bracket.
The title game is at 6 p.m. Saturday and the extra game would be played Sunday, if necessary. Follow The Sheridan Press online at this weekend for updates.
Sheridan 11, Jackson 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 3 0 3 0 1 0 4 11 18 1
0 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 4 10 2
Troop offense: 2B: C. Mcafferty, W. Odell RBI: D. Adriaens, W. Odell 3, R. Munson, E. Hoopes 4, K. Eisele ROE: W. Odell HBP: W. Odell SB: W. Odell CS: E. Hoopes. Pitching: Eisele 8 IP, 10H 3ER, 3 BB
Sheridan 12, Cheyenne Hawks 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 1 0 4 0 2 5 12 14 4
3 0 1 2 2 0 2 0 0 10 13 2
Troop offense: 2B: W. Odell 3B: C. McCafferty RBI: S. Holwell 3, D. Adriaens, C. Mcafferty 2, W. Odell, R. Munson 2, K. Eisele, M. Mullinax 2 SAC: W. Odell SF: R. Munson FC: D. Adriaens, R. Munson HBP: T. Mort, D. Adriaens, C. Mcafferty, W. Odell GIDP: M. Mullinax SB: D. Adriaens CS: T. Mort, D. Adriaens