by nathan oster
The Bandits from the South Big Horn Little League put up a valiant fight at a tournament last week in Lovell that attracted some of the top minors teams in the region.
Riverton, Sheridan, Lovell, Cody, Worland and Powell all sent either all-star or traveling teams to the tournament, which easily made it the most difficult test of the season for the Greybull-Basin squad coached by Ken Wright.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Wright. “Lovell took their five teams and split them into two, Worland brought its all-star team…and the Cody Stampede team which plays 40 to 50 games a summer was there too.
“We just had our regular team, but I sure was proud of how the kids played.”
That was particularly true in the opener.
Greybull-Basin gave one of the Lovell teams “a good run for its money” before losing 12-11.
That turned out to be the team’s closest game, as the Bandits proceeded to lose to the other Lovell team, 12-4, and get 10-runned after four by the Cody Stampede.
When asked about statistical leaders, Wright said Dante Terry “had his best hits of the year” at the Lovell tournament.
“But more than anything, we told the kids afterwards that we saw a lot of positive things from each of them,” said Wright. “People who didn’t see them at the beginning of the year might not have noticed what we as coaches noticed (during the weekend tournament). The score didn’t always show it, but … we saw some encouraging things.”
The team figures to benefit from the experience next year, when “seven to eight” of this year’s players will be eligible to return. “Anytime you have the same group of kids working under the same coaching staff you are going to see some benefit from that,” said Wright, adding that he hopes to get some new players moving up from coach-pitch as well as some new recruits.
The tournament marked the end of the Little League and baseball season in south Big Horn County. Wright called it a successful first season.
“We started planning this in June and July last year, things started getting ramped up in January and from February until now a lot of people have worked tirelessly in support of the baseball program,” said Wright. “I think we had a solid first year. The way I see it, on Saturday mornings there for three or four weeks last month there were maybe a couple of hundred people up there, watching and playing baseball. I think that’s not only a sign of good things to come, but also a sign that baseball is something the community wants and will support.”