SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Troopers played two solid games last night against the Casper Drillers but were unable to score when they had chances, losing both games of the doubleheader.
The first game of the night was a nine-inning conference game that came down to runners left on base.
The score was close for most of the game, with the Troopers only down two runs after seven innings. Tyler Stauffer got the start for the Troopers, throwing five innings before Connor McCafferty closed out the game.
“Tyler and Connor both pitched great,” coach Ben Phillips said. “We’ve been focusing on throwing strikes, and both guys did that.”
The Troopers, who have shown some inconsistency at the plate throughout the season, were able to get some runners on base but were unable to bring them around to score.
“There were five innings in a row where we had a runner left on base,” Phillips said. “If we bring in a run or two in a couple of those innings, it’s a different ballgame. If it’s tied later in the game we have a much better shot.”
The Drillers’ pitchers were able to maintain their pitch speed throughout the nine-inning game, keeping the Troopers from scoring when they needed it.
The runners left on base proved to be costly for Sheridan, losing the first game 9-4.
The strong defense continued for the Troopers in the second game of the night, but they still struggled to produce runs, losing 6-4.
Blake Godwin pitched six of the seven innings for Sheridan and followed suit of his game-one teammates, hitting the strike zone on most of his pitches.
“When you have a young team, you have to continuously be good at the things you are good at,” Phillips said. “For us, that’s defense and throwing strikes. Our guys fielded well and found the strike zone tonight.”
“We struggled at bat a little bit,” Phillips added. “We’re seeing some improvements, which is encouraging, but it’s a long process.”
Hitting has been something Phillips and the coaching staff has focused on this season, but Phillips says it’s not something that is going to come easily.
“Baseball is a game where it’s hard to make big improvements overnight,” Phillips said. “It takes a lot of games to make adjustments. That’s why the season is so long.
“It’s good that these young kids are starting to improve; that’s good for me to see,” Phillips added. “I would be concerned if they weren’t showing any signs of improvement.”
Despite the strong pitching and signs of improvement at the plate, it wasn’t enough for the Troopers to climb back from to the early deficits against the Drillers in what was an eventual two-loss night for Sheridan.
“We played pretty well tonight,” Phillips said. “It just wasn’t enough, but we’re getting there.”
The Troopers weekend tournament in Gillette has been canceled. Their next game will be a conference game at home against Jackson on Monday at noon.