Little League district play begins; Lander out for more successJul 14, 2014 By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor
In the past two years, the same group of Lander Little League all-stars won back-to-back district titles in the 9- and 10-year-old age divisions.
Now, Lander does battle in the 11- and 12-year-old division.
Lander faces Powell at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the opening round of the district tournament at the Ron Saban Baseball Complex in Riverton.
"We are still a young team," Lander manager Tom Massey said. "Out of 13 players, we only have five 12-year-olds and eight 11-year-olds."
Riverton beat Green River Saturday in the first game of the district tournament.
After Tuesday's game, the district double-elimination bracket will be played in Bridger Valley.
The top two teams from the district advance to the state tournament.
"Everybody has high expectations," Massey said. "We hope that we can compete for the district championship."
During practice games, Lander beat Rock Springs in a doubleheader.
Lander split with Riverton.
"Everybody is excited to start playing in Riverton on Tuesday," Massey said.
The official district bracket wasn't set until Thursday.
"It was kind of difficult to find out when we were going to be playing," Massey said. "It might have been better to play them on Saturday like Riverton did."
The winner of Lander-Powell moves into Thursday's matchup vs. the winner of Kemmerer-Big Piney in Bridger Valley.
"Looking at teams from past years, we are on the good side of the bracket," Massey said. "We are away from Riverton and Cody."
Cody plays Bridger Valley on Wednesday in the opening round.
Cody won the 11-12-year-old state title last season.
The district championship game is set for Saturday.
"There's a chance that we would play every other day," Massey said. "That really helps on the pitching."
The top two from district make the state tournament.
Pitching is key
"We are hoping that are pitchers can get in there and throw strikes," Massey said. "It's hard to defend a walk."
On Lander's roster are Connor Carey, Max Mazurie, Ryan Brinda, Ridge Barrett, Eli Mazurie, John Fawson, Gavin Dixon, Preston Plaisted, Jaren Calkins, Dominic Yates, Sawyer Hitshew, Ty Massey and Jack Sweeney.
"We hope that we can field the ball when we need to, limit the base hits, and not give up the big inning," manager Massey said.
Lander needs to be consistent at the plate when the postseason begins.
"One game we are hitting the ball really good, and the next one we are not," Massey said.
Massey wants his players to be smart on the bases.
"Our league isn't as strong, and some kids can get away with baseruning blunders," Massey said. "In the all-stars you can't."
Massey is assisted by Vic Mazurie and Rodger Hitshew.