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SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Troopers traveled to Cody yesterday for a doubleheader against the Cubs. The Troopers split the series, losing game one 15-11 and winning the second game 6-5.
In what Coach Ben Phillips described as just an off day for his team, the Troopers defense was the difference maker in game one of the doubleheader.
Although the Troopers hit the ball well, five errors led to five unearned runs for the Cubs. The Sheridan pitching staff struggled a bit on the mound, allowing the 15 runs for the opposing team.
Connor McCafferty and Blake Godwin split the time on the mound for Sheridan, but didn’t throw their best stuff.
“Being a former pitcher, I know that there’s just some days where you don’t have your best stuff,” Phillips said of his team’s pitching struggles in game one. “No pitcher in the history of baseball has ever had a 0.00 ERA; you have off days. It just happened that both of our guys had off days yesterday.
“They couldn’t keep the ball down in the zone, which resulted in a lot of hits,” Phillips added. “Especially when you play on the road, you have to adjust to different mounds. Some are flatter; some are bigger. We just didn’t seem to make those adjustments in game one.”
Despite Cody’s steady scoring, the Troopers kept themselves in the game by stringing together strong at bats throughout the ballgame. McCafferty contributed four runs for the Troopers, hitting 4-4 with two RBIs and two scores. Blake Godwin hit 1-2 with three RBIs.
Game two featured more trouble on the mound for the Troopers, but a strong outing from Kyle Atkinson gave Sheridan the win and the series split.
Tyler Stauffer got the start, but gave up five runs in his four innings on the mound before Atkinson came in to finish the game.
Atkinson threw three scoreless innings, which was a promising sign for his coach.
“Kyle is really our only high-velocity kid on the team,” Phillips said. “He’s a strikeout pitcher, and yesterday he was really pitching in the zone. That’s good for him and great for us.”
Despite coming home with a loss in the series, Phillips was pleased to see his team continue to grow and work together to battle through tough games.
“The last couple of weeks, I’ve really seen a change in attitude,” he said. “Guys are starting to hold other guys accountable. They’re not disrespectful, but they’re pointing things out; they’re communicating.
“They’ve been working hard in practice and they’re not shutting down halfway through games,” Phillips added. “If we lose, it’s not because of a lack of effort. Sometimes you have off days. That’s baseball. But they’re becoming a unit, a team.”
The Troopers held on to win game, 6-5, and split the series with the Cubs. They will be out working concession stands at the rodeo this week before facing off against Laramie next Monday.