DOUGLAS – The Green River Knights American Legion baseball team opened state play in Douglas on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to the Gillette Rustlers.
After being sent down into the elimination bracket, the Knights were forced into a must-win game Wednesday against the Wheatland Lobos. Unfortunately, due to some pitching struggles, Green River had a hard time containing the Lobos offense, losing by a final score of 10-7 and tying a ribbon on what was a roller-coaster season for the Knights.
WHEATLAND 10, GREEN RIVER 7
Green River fell into an early hole when Wheatland scored the game’s first run in the top of the first inning. After Joe Schultz walked the very first batter, Weatland hit a double deep to center field, sending the leadoff runner home for the first score.
After giving up an early run, Green River found the rhythm it was looking for until the bottom of the second inning. Michael Richardson stepped up to the plate first for the Knights. In only one pitch, Richardson smacked the ball into play and reached base after an error by the Lobos’ third baseman.
Five pitches into Ramsay Taliaferro’s at-bat, Richardson stole second. He then advanced to third base after another error by the Lobos. Three pitches later, Taliaferro crushed a line drive single to left field, allowing Richardson to tie the game at 1-1.
With Taliaferro now at second base, Dallan Serrano kept the momentum going. Serrano singled deep to center field, allowing Taliaferro to race in and give the Knights their first lead of the game.
Green River started to feel more comfortable, and Jax Peterson gave his team a 3-1 lead after grounding out and allowing Serrano time to score.
However, in the top of the third inning, Wheatland crawled back. Schultz gave up a single, allowing a Wheatland runner time to race in all the way from second base and cut the lead back to one.
Not long after, the Lobos offense was back for more. Green River’s defense allowed the Lobos to tie the game in the fourth inning after an error by catcher Taliaferro. Fortunately for Green River, Taliaferro redeemed himself with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving Knights their second lead.
In the top of the fifth, Wheatland’s offense showed no quit. Three batters into the inning, the Lobos tied the game at 4-4 after replacement pitcher Peterson gave up back-to-back singles.
With the score tied for the third time, Wheatland’s offense continued to hit the gas. Four batters later, the Lobos regained the lead after Peterson allowed his fourth single of the inning.
One bat later and with the bases loaded, Peterson hit the following batter, allowing the Lobos to take a 6-4 lead.
With a two-run lead, Wheatland showed no signs of slowing down in the top of the sixth inning. With the decision to replace Peterson on the mound with Kadan Wilson, Green River head coach Ben Lail’s decision wasn’t enough to stop the Lobos’ attack.
Wilson allowed a double and a single, and later walked a batter, allowing Wheatland to take a 7-4 lead.
With time running out, Green River’s defensive struggles continued. Just one batter later, Wilson’s wild pitch extended the Lobos’ lead to 8-4 after a runner raced in from third base.
Lail replaced Wilson on the mound with Korbin Serrano, but this wasn’t enough to contain the Lobos. Three pitches in, Korbin Serrano threw another wild pitch, giving Wheatland a five-run lead.
Green River’s offense went into the bottom of the sixth looking to strike back. After Taliaferro was walked, Tayler Jensen cut the deficit to four after grounding out to a fielder’s choice and allowing time for Taliaferro to score from second.
Two bats later, Korbin Serrano smashed a hard ground ball into play and later reached base after error by Wheatland’s second baseman. The Knights’ rally started to fall into place, and Korbin Serrano’s hit allowed Jensen time to race in for another Green River score.
Unfortunately, the Knights’ pitching struggles continued in the top of the seventh inning. Korbin Serrano walked his first two batters and gave up a single, allowing Wheatland to extend its lead to 10-6.
With one last trip to the plate, Green River went into the bottom of the seventh inning. Due to a ground out from Marcos Molina, Kunkle scored the Knights’ final run of the year, closing out the game 10-7.