by nathan oster
The Greybull Geckos took an undefeated record into the Powell Tournament, and while the weekend ledger showed three losses in four starts, their manager feels the weekend spent in Powell was a success.
“I was really pleased with how we competed, considering we didn’t have a full roster and were missing key position players,” said Joe Forcella, who manages the squad along with assistants Dusty Hill and Todd Zeller.
The Geckos were 4-0 going into their tourney opener against Powell, but they were plagued by “pregame jitters,” according to Forcella, and surrendered two runs in the first and another in the second to fall behind 3-0.
Powell put the game away in the top of the fifth, plating seven runs and eventually winning 12-2.
Riley Hill, who gave up four runs in three innings, took the loss, although Powell did most of its damage against reliever Justin Bacus. The defense let Bacus down however, as just two of the eight runs he surrendered were earned.
Dawson Forcella was the hitting star, going 3 for 3 with a run batted in. His brother, Calder Forcella, knocked in the other run for Greybull, which was limited to just six hits in the five-inning contest.
Greybull played a better all-around game later in the day on Friday in a 7-5 loss to Riverton, a team that advanced all the way to the championship game. Four errors proved costly, according to Forcella.
“We gave them all they could handle,” said Forcella. “We just had two crucial errors at the wrong time … and that was the difference in the game.
“We eliminate those two errors and we win by two instead of losing by two.”
Greybull plated three runs in the top of the first and a single run in the second to take a 4-2 lead before Riverton pushed across four in its half of the second to move in front 6-2.
Losing pitcher Calder Forcella deserved a better fate. While Riverton knocked him around a bit, collecting nine runs in four innings, just two of its seven runs were earned runs. Forcella was around the plate, too, with 73 percent of his pitches being strikes.
Greybull finished with five hits. Oscar Gomez had two hits. Calder Forcella had one, but it was a big one — a triple that plated two runs. Riley Hill also had two RBIs for the Geckos, who stole seven bases.
The Geckos finally got in the win column when they topped Worland 7-1 on Saturday.
Hill and Calder Forcella each worked three strong innings on the mound. Hill gave up a run on two hits, while Forcella gave up just a single hit, while fanning four, during his tour of duty on the hill.
After being silenced in the first two games, the Greybull bats came alive with nine hits.
Fabian Davila had three of them — two singles and a double — while Bacus and Calder Forcella each had two. Gomez and Dawson Forcella had the other RBIs.
“We learned to play in a tight situation and finish a game when we needed to,” Forcella said, whose team broke open a tie game with four in the fifth and two in the sixth.
The momentum from that win didn’t carry over into the next game, however.
Forcella said he tried different pitching and catching combinations and it “turned sour quick.”
Cody plated five in the first, one in the second and six more in the third en route to the win.
Dawson Forcella worked just a third of an inning before giving way to Calder Forcella, who went the final three-and-two thirds. The combined to give up 12 hits and nine earned runs while walking five and striking out two.
“We made the adjustments but couldn’t get over the hump to come back,” Forcella said. “We played right with them for the rest of the game, but couldn’t gain any to close the gap.”
Bacus went 3 for 3 and knocked in two of Greybull’s four runs. The other two hits were credited to Davila, who scored three of the five runs from his leadoff position.
With the weekend’s results, the Geckos saw their record dip to 4-3 overall.
“It was a great experience for the kids and they learned a tremendous amount by playing quality teams,” said Forcella. “They also realized that we can play with anyone; we just need to work hard and improve on eliminating the errors that shouldn’t happen.”
The Geckos will take this week off and aren’t scheduled to return to action until June 21 when they travel to Worland for a 6 p.m. start. The next home game is set for June 28 against Cowley.