SHERIDAN — Sheridan positioned itself in a precarious situation before any Trooper stepped into the batter’s box Wednesday in game one of a doubleheader against Cody. The Cubs put up a crooked number in the top half of the first inning and the Troopers, wanting desperately to respond, perhaps tried a little too hard to remedy the situation.
“[Getting down early] gets in your head,” Sheridan’s Ayden Roush said. “[Cody] is hitting the ball around in the first inning, and then sometimes you go up there, and you grip the bat really hard. You go up there and you’re like, ‘I’m going to get a hit.’ Baseball is all about relaxing. The harder you try, probably, you’re not going to do as well.”
The Troopers pressed and pressed in a 9-5 loss in game one. But Sheridan flipped the script and put the pressure on Cody in the nightcap, scoring first and many times thereafter en route to a 16-6 victory in six innings.
“It’s tough to get that energy to fight back when you have to put up several runs in the first few innings just to win the game,” Sheridan head coach Ben Phillips said. “… I think scoring some runs early (in the second game) helped us to get that energy up and to get the bats going. We’ll take a split any day.”
Game two saw all but two players in Sheridan’s lineup boast a multi-hit game. Roush had four hits — two doubles — and four RBIs. Eric Taylor slapped four singles and plated a total of three runs, while Quinn McCafferty logged four hits — two doubles — and an RBI. Kellen Mentock recorded a couple hits and a couple RBIs, and Race Johnston had three hits to go alongside his RBI.
“We are starting to hit the ball,” Phillips said. “We’ve played so many games now that they’re just seeing the ball, picking up spin, starting to hit some gaps. Some of our guys are figuring some things out. I love the way we are swinging the bats.
“I love our defense and pitching too. We just have to be more consistent.”
Roush’s game two start was a microcosm of that. He didn’t surrender a hit through the first two innings; however, quite a bit of wildness led to a few walks, some runs and a tad bit of fatigue just five innings deep.
“Not my best start, of course,” Roush said. “I’m usually able to pound the zone. I was unable to pound the zone. I had trouble finding my landing spot on the mound, and I was slipping a lot.”
Roush still got the win, lasting 4 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Austin Borzenski came on in relief and held Cody to just one run the rest of the way.
McCafferty trotted out to start the opener. He went all seven innings but struggled, yielding nine runs on 14 hits with four strikeouts.
Jacob Boint and Roush both had two hits apiece, and Boint, Borzenski and Gentry Lattin all logged an RBI.
The Cubs tallied four in the top of the first inning and plated a pair in the second to take a 6-1 lead. Sheridan plated two of its own in the fourth frame, but that’s as close as it drew.
Sheridan, which moved to 16-28 on the season, hosts Rapid City Post 320 in a doubleheader Friday with game one getting underway at 5 p.m.