Knights earn their spot at American Legion State Tournament
July 27, 2023
The Green River Knights played their first game in the Wyoming West "A" District Tournament in Lovell against the Lander Legends on July 19. It was an amazing game for the Knights. They scored two runs in the first inning and seven runs in the second and third inning. Their defense was on point too, as they only let the Legends score one run in the second inning and three runs in the third inning. The Knights walked off the field with their first win of the tournament with a final score of 16-4.
Leading the team was Ashton Eldredge, driving in four runs on three hits, with one of his hits being a home run to center field. He was also the starting pitcher, allowing four hits and runs, striking out six and walking two players. The entire team contributed to the win, as they had 13 hits during the game and collected seven walks. Skyler Lee, Jace Paoli and Dallyn Bushelman each stole two bases during the game.
"The boys played awesome against Lander," said Head Coach Ben Lail. "It was a good day for us for sure."
On July 20, the Knights played the Cody Cubs in the Winner's Bracket of the tournament. It was a low-scoring game, as the Knights and the Cubs were both very strong on the pitcher's mound and both teams were playing hard for the win. Neither team scored in the first three innings and there was tension in the air, while Cody scored one run in the fourth inning. The intense game continued as Green River scored one run in the fifth inning and Cody scored two more runs. In the sixth inning, Green River was able to bring in another run, but it wasn't enough to take the lead away from Cody. Green River had six hits compared to Cody's five and still unfortunately lost the game with a final score of 2-3.
Leading the team were Chris Reinig and Dawson Peterson with one run each. Skyler Lee was on the mound for the Knights. Lee allowed five hits and three runs, while striking out two and walking four players.
"Cody was a nail-biter," explained Coach Lail. "They are one of the best teams in the state. We competed really good against them and I think we set a tone for what we can accomplish in the state tournament."
The Knights played their second game of the day against the Evanston Outlaws. This was a very important game for the Knights. If they won the game they would ensure their spot to compete at the State Tournament. With neither team scoring in the first inning, the second inning was a strong turnout for Green River as they scored six runs to Evanston's three. Evanston scored one run in the third inning and Green River was unable to bring a runner home. Green River came back strong in the fourth inning, scoring another six runs while Evanston was unable to score. Evanston scored one run in the fifth and sixth inning, which wasn't enough to take the lead away from Green River. The Knights earned their spot at State, winning the game with a final score of 12-6.
Karson Hanson started on the mound for the Knights, allowing six hits and five runs, striking out four and walking one player. Dallyn Bushelman pitched relief.
Jace Paoli went 1-for-4 at the plate and led the team, bringing in three while hitting a home run to left field. The Knights had 13 hits during he game with Brackin Lail, Bushelman and Eldredge each collecting two hits. Leading the team in runs were Eldredge, Bushelman and Brackin Lail with two runs each.
"Evanston was the best game of the tournament for us," said Coach Lail. "All of our guys hit the ball really well."
On July 21, the Knights played the Lovell Mustangs in the consolation bracket of the tournament for third/fourth place. It was a tight first inning with neither team scoring. In the second inning, Lovell pulled ahead of Green River with two runs and Green River brought in one run. The third inning was upsetting for the Knights as they were unable to bring in any runs and Lovell started to pull away with eight runs. Lovell continued to bring in runners with three more runs. Green River scored one run in the fifth inning, but the game was over and Lovell won the game with a final score of 13-2.
Brackin Lail was on the mound for the Knights, allowing five runs on four hits and striking out two players. Bushleman, Zane Kovich and Ryker Dane led the team with one hit each. Leading the team in runs were Jace Paoli and Dawson Peterson with one run each. The Knights earned fourth place at the tournament and will be the number four seed at the State Tournament.
"We came out a little bit tired and little bit flat and it wasn't a good day for us," said Coach Lail. "But we accomplished what we needed to to qualify for state."
The Powell Pioneers won first place in the Wyoming West "A" District Tournament, the Cody Cubs earned second place and the Lovell Mustangs earned third place. The Lander Legends, Evanston Outlaws and Rawlins Generals were eliminated.
The Knights had six players that were awarded All-Conference honors. The first team players were Ben Lail, Jace Paoli and Lander Welch. The second team players were Brackin Lail, Q Liebelt and Chris Reinig. Coach Lail was awarded West Conference Coach of the Year.
Coach Lail was pleased with receiving the award and feels it's a big accomplishment. "Being Coach of the Year is about how hard our team has worked and how great my coaching staff has done," he said. "From where we were at the beginning of the year to now, it's like night and day. I couldn't have done it without Brandon Peterson, Kole Marquez and Nathaniel Liebelt, so I'd like to give them all the credit, they deserve it," added Coach Lail.
Coach Lail and the Knights look forward to competing at State and taking on Douglas for their first game. They beat Douglas a couple weeks ago, so if they show up and give it their all, they should be successful.
The Knights traveled to Sheridan to compete in the Wyoming American Legion "A" State Tournament that takes place July 26-30.