SHERIDAN — Sheridan Troopers struggled early defensively against the Cody Cubs and dropped both games at Thorne-Rider Stadium Sunday.
The Troopers had five runs scored on them in the first inning before a pitching change came. Luke Keller was the first man on the mound for the Troopers. Keller was able to find the strike zone, but a strong hitting performance by Cody allowed the Cubs to gain an early advantage.
After seven hits, five runs and an out, Keller was replaced by Dalton Nelson. Nelson finished the inning, allowing one run.
“Luke Keller did a good job, he was throwing strikes, “ said Ben Phillips, Sheridan Troopers head coach. “There were a couple of hits that found holes in the defense.”
Nelson pitched the next five innings for the Troopers. Nelson found his rhythm in the second and third innings, striking out three batters in the process.
Troopers were able to get on the board during the third inning. Michael Greer struck out and Ayden Roush’s line drive was caught by the Cubs’ right fielder. Quinn McCafferty recorded a single base hit to get the bats going. Jacob Boint was hit by a pitch, moving McCafferty into scoring position. Eric Taylor hit one past the Cody defense, allowing McCafferty to round third base and put Sheridan on the board. The inning ended with a popup to Cody’s second baseman Justice Rees.
In the top of the fourth inning, Nelson saw one of his pitches sent over the wall and another run scored later in the inning. Nelson recovered in the fifth inning as three Cubs came up to bat, and all three were thrown out at first base.
Sheridan picked up another run in the sixth inning. Rees was able to make it home from a ground-out hit by Cody Kilpatrick.
The Troopers trailed 9-2 heading into the seventh inning after seeing another Cubs hit fly over the left field wall in the top of the sixth.
Kellen Mentock finished the game on the mound for the Troopers, striking out one batter. After a single base hit, the next two Cubs popped out and grounded out.
During his five innings on the mound, Nelson threw 101 pitches, finding the strike zone on 60% of his throws. Nelson had five strikeouts and nine pitches that were groundouts or flyouts.
Troopers had one final chance to rally. The pitcher walked the first batter, and the second popped out to right field. Quinn McCafferty hit a grounder to the second baseman, allowing the Cubs to turn a double play, ending the first game.
Troopers were able to make solid contact with the ball offensively, but most of their hits were caught by the Cubs.
“It was just one of those games,” Phillips said. “I was pleased with our hitting. Baseball is a funny game, you can hit the ball really hard and still get out. It was unlucky for us, but that is baseball sometimes.”
Phillips said he wants his players to keep hitting the ball and good things will happen as a result. Sheridan had five hits in the first game.
Taylor was the only Trooper to record an RBI during the game.
Troopers did not fare well in the second game of the doubleheader, falling to Cody 15-5. The game was called in the sixth inning. Mentock, Greer and Brewer pitched for the Troopers in the second game. In their combined efforts, the pitching trio struck out three batters and gave Cody 17 hits.
Offensively, the Troopers were able to accumulate 11 hits this game — an increase from the previous game — but were only able to score five runners.
Roush had four hits in four at-bats and Taylor knocked two runners home on his only hit of the game.
After the two losses, Sheridan drops to 25-19 on the season. They will travel to Laramie to face the Rangers Monday for a doubleheader. Game times are set for 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.