SHERIDAN — July 25th had reached its 24th hour when the final pitch made its way across home plate. The sun had slipped below the horizon long before, the traffic lights in Sheridan had transitioned into their blinking phase, and the sprinklers couldn’t wait any longer.
The Sheridan Jets played deep into the night to record a 7-4 victory over Laramie during the opening round of the Class B State Tournament at Thorne-Rider Stadium.
“That’s all I reiterated to them before the game, ‘I know it’s not an ideal game situation, but, hey, we got a game to win,’” Sheridan head coach Austin Cowen said. “‘Let’s come out and play our game. Pick up that intensity, find that energy and let’s go get it done.’”
The game pitting the North’s No. 1 seed against the South’s No. 4 seed didn’t begin until after 9 p.m., more than two and half hours after its scheduled start time. The day’s third game between Cody and Evanston — a game Evanston won 17-16 — lasted much longer than anticipated.
This left the Jets, who arrived at the ballpark at 4:30 p.m., with a surplus of time in which the adrenaline of hosting the state tournament rose in many of the players.
That proved counterproductive to Sheridan starter Carter Dubberly — at least initially.
Dubberly couldn’t locate his pitches in the first inning and a couple walks sandwiched around a base hit had the upstart Deputies looking to draw first blood.
“It was probably me just being a little too amped up,” Dubberly said. “I was excited. I was ready to go. After I calmed myself down, found my motion, I just tried to pound the strike zone all night.”
He did so just in time, working out of the jam in the top of the first inning to set the stage for a strong outing. Dubberly lasted six innings, surrendering one run on three hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.
He worked deep into the game, which allowed Cowen, who only had to throw one other pitcher, to save many of arms for later in the tournament.
“It was very important and it sets ourselves up nice with the quarterfinals [Thursday],” Cowen said. “It was big time for Carter to come out and do a heck of a job.”
Dubberly’s run support came in the bottom of the second when the Jets scored four runs off three hits. Michael Greer provided the big blow with a two-out, two-run single, which capped the inning.
Sheridan put up another crooked number in the fifth, scoring three more, as Luke Keller provided a two-run single.
“My guys, they executed perfect,” Cowen said. “If we got into a two-strike count, they battled, and they made [Laramie] make a play. Sometimes we got cheap hits or made them make an error, and we had guys come through in the clutch.”
Brock Steel came on to close the game and had to battle more than just the Laramie bats. After walking the first two and giving up a single to load the bases, the sprinklers came on and delayed the game for more than five minutes. Steel returned and navigated his way through the inning, yielding three earned runs on two hits but still helped the Jets advance to the next round.
Sheridan battles Evanston, the South’s No. 2 seed, Thursday at 6:30 p.m — at least that’s when the game is schedule to start.