Knights compete in first state tourney

The Glenrock Knights inaugural team poses for a photo prior to their first game at the state tournament vs. Riverton July 19. The Knights played valiantly in their first tournament and will look to build on the experience next season.
By: 
Ryan Mitchel Collins

None of the players on the Glenrock KnightsLegion baseball team had ever competed in the state tournament - now they can check that one of their lists. The Knights traveled to Rock Springs to take part in their inaugural state tournament, facing a tough Riverton Raiders team in the opening game.

The intensity of both teams and the desire to win was evident right away, according to Elias Orozco, who will return next season for the Knights.

The Raiders jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, never letting up as they eventually won the first game of the double elimination tournament 12-0.

“I think the big thing for us was getting a feel for how the game-flow at state goes,” head coach Allen Jennings said.

“Everyone on the team stepped it up, but is was our first trip there and none of us had competed at this level before.”

After the opening loss, the Knights were matched to play Gillette Prep, who were coming off a victory over Sheridan in their opening game.

Gillette jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and added six more runs in the second inning on their way to a 15-1 victory over the Knights, who were then officially eliminated from the state tournament, ending their inaugural season. It was a learning experience for both the players and coaches and it’s something they can learn from and carry over into next season.

“All the teams brought their A game and stepped it up and played hard,” Jennings said. “We weren’t as prepared as we hoped we’d be going into the tournament. It was all about leaving it all on the field and we did that.”

After the Gillette loss, the Knights held their heads high, knowing they did their best throughout the season.

The Knights can take comfort in the fact they tied the eventual state champions, Casper, in the game prior to the state tournament that dead ended in a tie due to inclement weather. They hung in there with the best team in the state and that is something not easily done for a team that was playing in their inaugural season.

The two losses were hard to swallow, but all the players and coaches can do is get better and work hard in the offseason for next year, something many of the players are already doing to prepare themselves for next year.

The Knights will field most of the same team next season, only losing two seniors on the roster.

“We didn’t do as good as we thought we were going to do,” Bryston Jennings said. “That’s alright, we are young and will grow.”

Jennings is one of the returning starters for the Knights and will be one of the leaders heading into the next few seasons.

“We’re going to go to a camp down in Arizona over Christmas break,” Bryston Jennings said. “We’re going to do some fund-raising to go to the camp and off-set the cost for the trip.”

Now the Knights have a taste of the level of competition they are up against, one of the main themes heading into next year will be to get better and improve upon some of their successes in their inaugural
season.

“For myself and the entire coaching staff and the boys on the team, they understand now where they will need to be,” coach Jennings said. “The exciting part for me after the Gillette loss was that heads were held high, the guys were asking, ‘When are we going to start working toward next season? What are we going to do in the off-season, what are we going to do between now and then to get ready for next season?’”

The will and talent is there, and now the team will need to focus on the little things needed to succeed next year, and with such a young roster, there is no reason to believe they will not to continue to get better. Now they have the experience and the knowledge of what it takes to win, and that’s half the battle.

“I couldn’t be prouder of them,” coach Jennings added.

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Glenrock Independent

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