State team pic.JPG

The Wyoming Diggers show off their hardware after earning second place at this year’s state tournament in Lander. Team members include, front from left, Shaun Stone, Brayden Biondich, Chase Shelley, Saben Carlsen, Ethan Sholey and Owen Patterson; and back, coach Shane Patterson, coach Gordon Patterson, Ethan O’Brien, Aiden Walker, coach Mike Walker, Hudson Conrad, Kyle Cahill, Kaden Pluid and coach Kevin Cahill.

ROCK SPRINGS — The Wyoming Diggers, a local baseball team that just completed its first season in the Junior Babe Ruth division came one win shy of taking home a state title this past July in Lander.

After making it all the way to the championship game, the Diggers lost to the host team in extra innings by a score of 4-2.

According to Mike Walker, one of the coaches on the team, Lander tied the game at 2-2. In the top of the eighth inning, Lander scored two late runs to put the game away.

“It was a hard-fought game,” he said. “We had a chance to come back in the bottom of the inning, we just weren’t able to score again.”

According to Walker, the Diggers defeated Lander all five games they played throughout the regular season before losing in the state final.

“Lander is a talented team,” he said. “Every time we played them we won by just a few runs. Each game was extremely close.”

Although the Diggers didn’t get the end result they were hoping for, the team still has a lot to be proud of.

Next to closing out the regular season with an impressive record of 10-4, the Diggers went on to finish the season with 14 wins and only five losses, including three that came after playing up a level at a tournament in Rock Springs earlier in the year.

Walker said after deciding to opt-out of a tournament in Cheyenne where his 13- to 15-year-olds would have had to play against high school seniors, Rocky Rondinelli, the manager of the Rock Springs Sand Puppies organization, invited the Diggers to remain at home and play in an American Legion B tournament instead.

In the end, the Diggers still had to play up a level, but not nearly as high if they would have gone to Cheyenne.

Walker said the Diggers beat the Sand Puppies and ended up losing a few close games to Evanston, Jackson, and Bridger Valley.

“Overall, it was a great experience for our team,” he said. “We felt very fortunate to have Rocky invite us to play in that, especially after we had to cancel our trip to Cheyenne.”

Weeks later, the Diggers’ unforgettable season continued after getting off to a perfect 4-0 record to start the state tournament. In doing so, they outscored their first four opponents 55-18.

Before falling short in the championship game, the Diggers opened the tournament with a 9-7 win over Lander. A day later, the Diggers defeated Casper by a commanding 16-6.

That same afternoon, Gillette did everything it could to slow down the talented group from Rock Springs, but the Diggers closed out their third-straight win by a score of 18-3.

The team’s final win came on the morning of Sunday, July 19, after defeating Casper for a second time, this time by a score of 12-2. However, a few hours later, Lander did what every other team couldn’t and beat the Diggers to claim the title.

When asked how he would describe this year’s group, Walker said, “For me, what stood out most was the team’s mental maturity. ... That’s the one area where everyone really stepped up this year.

“In the past, if we ever got down during a game, it was easy for the guys to just give up. However, this year that wasn’t the case. Plenty of times we clawed and fought our way back this season.”

Next to Walker, the Diggers are also coached by Mike Wallace, Shane Patterson, Gordon Patterson, and Kevin Cahill.

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