SHERIDAN — Pardon the pun — and alliteration — but the 406 Flyers threw the Sheridan Troopers a curveball Wednesday at Thorne-Rider Stadium. The visiting team put forth a bullpen game, sending seven pitchers to the mound in all, forcing the Troopers to adjust their approach at the plate numerous times.
“It’s different because every guy throws different,” Sheridan’s Jaron Brewer said. “Every arm angle is different, whether he’s a lefty or a righty, and their stuff looks different. … It’s kind of like being a leadoff hitter at the beginning of game but four times five times throughout the game.”
And while it proved challenging at times, the home team still managed to plate enough to earn a win. Sheridan scored six runs and won its second game in as many days, toppling the Flyers 6-4 in a nine-inning affair.
Some of the Troopers’ scoring came as a byproduct of the bullpen game from the Flyers. The first five innings saw five different pitchers from the road team and some of those arms struggled to consistently find the strike zone.
“While it’s tough for a hitter, it can also lead to guys who can’t throw strikes,” Sheridan head coach Ben Phillips said. “They took that chance, and that happened. They walked a lot guys for us, had a lot of passed balls and without those, I don’t know if we would have won the game because we weren’t driving the ball at all.”
The Troopers plated three runs on wild pitches and passed balls, helping them build a 4-1 lead at the end of the fourth inning. Cody Kilpatrick made it 5-2 with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning, and that was necessary cushion.
The Flyers answered back with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning, however, Justice Rees — much like Kilpatrick — gave Sheridan some breathing room with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.
Eric Taylor came on to work a scoreless ninth to earn the save for Luke Keller who recorded the win. Sheridan’s starter went seven innings, yielding two earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.
“He was great,” Phillips said. “He didn’t walk too many guys, got ahead in the count, threw his off-speed for strikes and kept us in it.”
Quinn McCafferty registered the other RBI for the Troopers, while Taylor had the lone multi-hit game for Sheridan. The Troopers had opportunities to blow the game open numerous times, but exiled 14 runners on base, 11 of which were in scoring position.
Sheridan will enjoy a four-day break from baseball — a hiatus during which Phillips won’t even have his team practice — which comes at a good time as it has played 15 games in the last 18 days.
“It’s huge,” Brewer said. “You have to get away from baseball. It’s an extremely mental sport. If you get too hard on yourself, it just doesn’t get any better. Having a little break, where you can get away and get away from the game of baseball and let your body rest up, is huge.”
Sheridan will return to action Tuesday at home against Riverton.