SHERIDAN—The Sheridan Troopers returned home from a disappointing weekend of baseball in Omaha, Nebraska, and got a bounce-back win against the Summit (Colorado) Tigers last night at Thorne-Rider Stadium.
After losing three of four in Omaha, the Troopers turned the tables on their opponent, pounding the Tigers at the plate on the way to a 12-2 victory.
It was Kris Clark’s night, as an RBI double off the wall got the Troopers off to an early lead in the first inning.
The double was just the beginning of Clark’s big night at the plate, as he ended up hitting for the cycle.
“Kris came in and had a great performance and hit for the cycle,” Trooper coach Ben Phillips said. “Without him who knows where we would have been tonight.”
The Troopers jumped to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, but it was the team’s pitching that really impressed Phillips.
Tyler Stauffer pitched five scoreless innings for the Troopers, finding the strike zone and not walking a single batter. Phillips said finding the zone was a point of emphasis for his pitchers after their tough weekend in Omaha.
“We walked a lot of guys when we were in Omaha,” Phillips said. “When you’re walking two or three guys in an inning, they’re going to make you pay.”
“We don’t hit the ball extremely well, so we’ve got to have good pitching and good defense,” Phillips added. “The main emphasis was throwing strikes, and they did a good job tonight.”
Strong pitching was important for the Troopers on Thursday night, as they hit a slump at the plate after their two-run first inning.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that the Troopers scored again, but they made it count, scoring seven runs in the inning.
Clark pounded a fastball over the center field fence for a solo home run to start the inning. Back-to-back errors by the Summit outfield put runners at first and third for the Troopers, then Turner Martini hit a double, scoring the runner from third.
Matt Mullinax followed immediately with another single that scored two. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases, but not for long.
Clark made it back through the order and to the plate, where his triple to right field scored all three runners.
“It seems like when you get on a streak like that in an inning, they all seem to go off of it,” Phillips said. “It was good to see them come alive. We were kind of dead there for about a four-inning stretch, so we really needed that to kind of open it up.”
Although the seven-run inning put the Tigers away for good, coach Phillips said he wants to see more consistency from his team at the plate in the future.
“I’d like to see that from the start,” Phillips said. “I’ll take it in the end if it means we’re kind of getting adjusted in the fifth or sixth inning, but I’d like to see it more consistent.”
The Troopers gave up two runs in the seventh inning, but scored another two of their own in the bottom of the eighth to end the game.
Brian Kjerstad’s pinch-hit single scored the 12th run for the Troopers, giving them the win by 10-run rule, 12-2.
The Troopers take the field again Sunday for a doubleheader against Ranchester at Thorne-Rider Stadium. Game one begins at 1 p.m.