10Ubaseball

The Cody 10U All-Star team includes (front, from left) Griffin McCarten, Cohen Croft, (second row) Easton Hartley, Russell Underberg, Easton Johnston, Kaleb Ball, (third row) Tommy Sitz, Lane Stevenson, Grady Perry, Kanin Phillips, Cache McFadden, coach Jeremiah Johnston, (back) coach Jay McCarten and coach Brandon Underberg. (Courtesy photo)

The Cody 10U minors baseball All-Stars fell just short of winning the state championship, an accomplishment coach Jeremiah Johnston said left his team both proud, but also striving for more.

“You’re always happy to place in state,” Johnston said. “We got close, just didn’t get it. I think they feel like with a little more work they could win it.”

The All-Stars took second place at the state tournament in Torrington last weekend, winning two of their first three games before falling to Laramie in the championship.

Cody qualified for the tournament after dominating the field at the District 1 tournament the weekend before, going 4-0 and beating every team by at least 10 runs.

“The pitchers did a really good job keeping the other teams off the bases,” Johnston said. “Then the offense just took over. We were able to get lots of runs in different innings.”

The competition got much stiffer at state, but the All-Stars were not rattled. They opened the tournament with a 6-2 win over host Torrington. Johnston said Torrington had many fans in the house.

“There was lots of cheering going on,” Johnston said. “It was kind of an electric environment.”

After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead, Cody kept plugging, adding a run in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 6-0. Torrington did score two runs during its final at-bats in the sixth, but couldn’t bring down the boys in blue as Cody pitchers Cache McFadden, Easton Hartley and Lane Stevenson stole the show, holding Torrington to one hit the entire game.

Kanin Phillips led the team at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.

In the semifinals Cody fell to Laramie 5-3.

The All-Stars did continue their momentum from the Torrington game early, jumping to a 3-1 lead after the first inning. But those would be the last runs Cody would score. Laramie added runs in the third and fourth to go back up 4-3 and never looked back.

“Laramie is one of the most polished clubs in the state,” Johnson said. “They’re really aggressive on the bases, which they turned into runs.”

But Phillips did keep Cody close on the mound, delivering six strikeouts in 4 innings.

The All-Stars then avoided elimination in the sudden death game, bouncing back with an 11-1 win over Rock Springs.

“They did know they had to win that one,” Johnston said. “The pitchers did a nice job holding their batters to as few bases as possible.”

Cody scored early and often, taking an 8-1 lead by the end of the third inning. After adding another three in the fourth, the game was called due to the mercy rule.

Griffin McCarten delivered three strikeouts in 2 innings and Phillips finished, also getting three hits and four RBIs at bat.

After winning with their backs against the wall, the All-Stars gave themselves a chance at a state championship. But Laramie beat Cody 10-1 in the rematch.

“The kids, they were disappointed, but they felt good about the season,” Johnston said.

Johnston said his hitters were able to make contact with the ball, but could not find gaps in the Laramie defense.

McFadden and Stevenson pitched quality innings for the team but their defense did not help matters, plagued with eight errors in the game. Laramie took advantage at the plate, which it complemented with strong pitching to finish it out.

The All-Star team took the best players from the Cody minors baseball league this season. After beginning practice in early July, this bunch easily won a tournament in Riverton.

Johnston said his team quickly “jelled together” despite competing on different teams for months previous. He said building team chemistry wasn’t so much a challenge as figuring out where to put players in the field.

“As soon as we get them together we start figuring out who fits where,” Johnston said. “Just figuring out that mix.”

Nearly all of the players will move up to the 12U level next year.

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