CHEYENNE – Craig Jackson played at Mike Lansing Field while coming up through the Cheyenne Mustangs system.
So when Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Colorado Springs CageRats was moved from Pioneer Park to Mike Lansing Field – a natural grass field with a dirt infield – Jackson was comfortable.
“Yet again, since we (are) playing on turf most of the time, it was a little bit different, since the grass slows the ball down,” he said.
The grass didn’t slow Jackson, though. The Cheyenne extra hitter’s two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning helped cap an 8-2 victory in the first game.
“I was just trying to put the ball in the outfield,” said Jackson, who scored a run and drew two walks. “I knew there were two outs, so I was just trying to get the ball to the outfield and on the ground so they could score, and we’d have a couple more runs.”
The Mustangs (20-19) were efficient in every area.
Logan Homar worked six strong innings on the mound, while the offense produced runs with two outs and stole a few bases. The Mustangs took advantage of two walks in the second inning when left fielder Orry Davis poked an RBI single to left. The second walk of the inning forced home Chance Miller to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
“We took advantage of pretty much everything that they gave us,” first-year Mustangs coach Sheldon Baxter said. “They made a couple sloppy plays, and we were able to take advantage of that. We ran the bases pretty well, got a few stolen bases to get us some extra guys in scoring position. Some guys had some big hits there.”
Even though the Mustangs were ahead, they stranded the bases loaded in the second. They knew they left some runs on the field. They continued chipping away.
Ryan Chamberlain punched a single up the middle to lead off the third. He then stole second and third, and eventually scored on a throwing error by the Colorado Springs catcher. Jackson also scored to double the lead to 4-0. Chamberlain added an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth to score one of two more runs for Cheyenne.
“We always have that mindset of it’s never enough,” Baxter said. “We want to continue to score, keep putting our pedal to the metal and try and finish the game early.”
Meanwhile, Homar was in control. The right-hander needed just 47 pitches to get through four innings. He retired eight consecutive batters at one point and allowed just four hits. His ability to get ahead in the count often allowed him to go deeper into the game.
“I was just throwing all my pitches for strikes,”
Homar said. “They weren’t hitting me too hard. They were hitting nice ground balls, and my infielders were getting outs for me. First-pitch strikes are important, because once you get up in the count, you have more advantage over them, and the batter has to have a different mindset going up there. And you have an advantage over them. You can throw more strikes, and you have more options for throwing your curveball, too.”
Homar did his part on the mound, and his teammates followed his lead by providing the run support he needed to get the win.
“Any time our pitchers are throwing well, the offense knows if we just give them a couple runs, we’ll get an easy win,” Baxter said. “That’s what we were able to do.”
CHEYENNE 8, COLORADO SPRINGS 2
Colorado Springs...… 000 011 0 – 2 5 3
Cheyenne.…………… 022 202 X – 8 8 0
Colorado Springs pitching: Denson, Cummins (6) and O’Connor. Cheyenne pitching: Homar, Pena (6) and Connell.
W: Homar (3-0). L: Denson.
Colorado Springs 3
Ryan Chamberlain drove in three runs to help lift the Cheyenne Mustangs to a 9-3 win over the Colorado Springs CageRats in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Mike Lansing Field.
Chamberlain was 3 for 3 with a double, a triple and two runs scored. Xander
Jarosh was 2 for 4 with
two runs scored for the Mustangs.
Cheyenne broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the second inning to take control of the game for good. The Mustangs led 6-2 after the second and added runs in the third, fourth and sixth to pad their lead.
Cade Connell earned his first win of the season after pitching four innings, allowing two runs, one earned, off four hits and striking out two.
CHEYENNE 9, COLORADO SPRINGS 3
Colorado Springs...… 110 000 1 – 9 8 4
Cheyenne.…………… 151 101 0 – 3 8 2
Colorado Springs pitching: Shepard, Lynch (7) and Davis. Cheyenne pitching: Connell, Davis (5) and Jackson.
W: Connell (1-0). L: Shepard.
2B: Colorado Springs 2 (Walsh, Denson), Cheyenne 2 (Brain, Chamberlain). 3B: Colorado Springs 3 (Palmer, Lynch, Gooch), Cheyenne 1 (Chamberlain).