SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Jets played deep into the night yet again Thursday. Unfortunately for the home team, the game ended differently than Wednesday’s victory over Laramie. Sheridan fell 5-4 to Evanston in the quarterfinals of of the Class B State Tournament Thursday evening at Thorne-Rider Stadium.
The Jets mounted a furious comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, plating two runs and getting runners on second and third base with two outs, but they ultimately fell short. Evanston advanced to the semifinals with the victory, while Sheridan must win two games Friday to keep its season alive.
“These are the unfortunate games that allow us to grow and become better baseball players,” Sheridan Head coach Austin Cowen said. “It’s a very bitter, sour taste in our mouths right now, but unfortunately a lot of times we have to go through these learning processes.”
The Jets struggled at the plate most of the night and had a poor fifth inning defensively, resulting in four unearned runs.
“They might have gotten away with one run, which we can live with,” Cowen said. “Four runs due to errors — that’s hard to overcome. That’s just our youth showing itself and letting the situation get the better of us.”
Luke Keller got the nod on the mound for Sheridan and did not disappoint, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits and only one earned run to go along with six strikeouts.
Keller’s counterpart, Gus Allred, was equally impressive. He went 6 1/3 innings for the Trappers and gave up four hits and two earned runs while also striking out nine batters.
Cowen said the Jets were a bit too eager in the batter’s box and added that Allred did an excellent job mixing speeds and keeping the Sheridan hitters off-balance.
“Our approach at the plate was not as good as it has been the past few weeks,” Cowen said. “We had a lot of strikeouts, which is uncharacteristic for us … We were trying to tie the game with one swing of the bat rather than just staying in there and hitting ground balls up the middle like we have all year.”
Allred reached his pitch limit with two outs left, which gave the Jets enough time to make things interesting.
Down 5-2 with two outs, Cody Kilpatrick knocked an RBI double to left center, bringing home Carter Dubberly. Two batters later, Dalton Nelson plated Kilpatrick with an RBI double of his own.
Nelson finished the night 2 for 4 with an RBI on the night, as did Michael Greer, who brought home Dawson Lee in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double to deep left field.
A rain delay halted the game for about 30 minutes after the top of the first inning. Another rain delay in the previous game between Rock Springs and Douglas caused the Sheridan-Evanston matchup to start more than an hour behind schedule.
The late ending meant an even quicker turnaround Friday for the Jets, who had to refocus and prepare to face Gillette at 11 a.m.
“[Gillette] would love nothing more than to end our season on our field,” Cowen said “(But) we still have a tournament to win.”