‘9er all stars drop heartbreaker in Powell

by nathan oster

Carlos Rodriguez, Cale Wright, Jake Schlattmann and the rest of the Big Horn County All-Stars were one strike away from beating Riverton in the opening round of their district tournament before letting it slip away in a 15-7 extra-inning loss in Powell.

“It was a game we probably should have won,” said Ken Wright, an assistant coach for the team.

Through five-plus innings, it looked like they would. With Rodriguez on the hill and Schlattmann behind the plate, the ‘9ers built a lead and were up 5-4 in the sixth. There were two outs and a 2-2 count on the batter when Riverton got a clutch hit to tie the game. They proceeded to win it in the extra frame, when “things fell apart on us a little bit,” said Wright.

“We felt like we outplayed them,” he said. “Through six innings, we outhit them and we had fewer errors.”

With it being a double elimination tournament, the loss didn’t end the ‘9ers season.

They faced a do-or-die situation Wednesday morning in Powell, where they were scheduled to play an 8 a.m. game against Green River. If they win that contest, the ‘9ers will advance in the tournament to play either Kemmerer or Bridger Valley. The tournament wraps up Saturday.

“I’d like to see the kids win a few more games,” said Wright. “But overall, it’s been a fantastic experience for them. The level of play, in this tournament, is a little higher than you see during the regular season. It’s very well organized and the umpiring is very good.”

Wright said he’s proud of the ‘9ers for holding their own against teams from much larger communities with well-established baseball traditions.