Majors all-stars claim district championship

Stormy Jameson
The Big Horn County Little League Majors Division All-Stars brought home some hardware from the Wyoming District 1 Tournament in Riverton last weekend, sweeping the competition and going undefeated in both pool play and single-elimination bracket games to win the championship and advance to the state tournament in Rock Springs.

“We are so proud of these young men. They earned every single win this weekend and deserve the title of district champions,” head coach JT Mickelson said of his squad. 

On Wednesday, the Lovell all-stars faced Bridger Valley to begin pool play contests. The Mustangs took a 4-1 lead in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised to an 11-1 victory after five innings of play.

The Mustangs tallied an impressive 18n hits as a team, led by Dax Mangus, who went 3-for-3 at the plate. Mac Morgan, Bradley Mickelson, Hudson Morgan, Easton Morgan, Hudson Miller and Lukas Miller all had two hits each. Weston Hendershot, Kannon Owens and Jaxx May also added a hit apiece.

Owens got the start on the mound for the Mustangs, and the righty lasted 2.2 innings, allowing only three hits, one run and striking out five. Hudson Morgan provided middle relief for 1.1 innings and struck out three more before Mickelson closed out the final inning with a strikeout of his own. The trio didn’t walk a single batter in the game.

Thursday morning the Mustangs fought off the all-stars of Green River in an extra-inning thriller to round out pool play. After being down not only once, but twice, by a margin of three runs, the Mustangs answered back and the game was locked up at 7-7 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out and Mangus standing on second base, Mickelson ripped a fly ball to center field to score his teammate and win the game in walk-off fashion.

When asked about the final at-bat, Bradley Mickeson said, “I knew I had to just put the ball in play because Dax is fast and could make it home. When he crossed the plate, I couldn’t believe it. I was so proud of my team.”

Mickelson, Owens and Brooks Brost had the hot bats of the game as each had three hits at the plate for the Mustangs. One of those hits by Brost was an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mac Morgan added two hits, and Hendershot, Easton Morgan, May, Hudson Miller and Lukas Miller helped the cause with one hit each.

Easton Morgan was on the hill to start the game for the Mustangs and went 1.2 innings and struck out three. May and Mac Morgan provided two innings of relief during the game before Hendershot finished out the remaining 4.1 innings and got the win.

On Friday, the first round of bracket play had the Mustangs going against the all-stars from Lander. While Lander kept it tight early on, the Mustangs scored in every inning and pulled away for a decisive 11-2 victory.

Owens again had three hits to lead the Mustangs’ offensive efforts. Lukas Miller, Hudson Miller and Madden Cooley slugged two hits each, and the rest of the team combined for seven more connections at the plate.

Owens got his second pitching start of the tournament and went the distance on the bump, lasting all six innings, allowing only four hits, two runs and striking out 10 in the contest.

The win on Friday put the Mustangs against Riverton on Saturday morning. Lovell jumped out of the gates early and appeared to have it in the bag, up 12-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Riverton rallied and put five runs across the board before the Mustangs closed out the 12-8 win, sealing their trip to the state tournament.

The Mustangs continued their strong performances at the plate with a team total of 17 hits. Leading the way was Mangus, who went 3-for-3 in the game. Hendershot, Mac Morgan, Mickelson, May, Hudson Miller and Cooley connected for two hits each, and Owens and Brost added one apiece.

Easton Morgan was commanding on the mound, striking out 12 Riverton batters in the first 4.1 innings, and May finished the last 1.2 innings and had three strikeouts of his own. 

The win against Riverton put the Mustangs in the championship game against Green River, and the rematch lived up to the nail-biting expectations.

Green River was hungry for revenge and got out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The Mustangs clawed their way back and again found the score locked in a tie heading into the bottom of the last inning.

This time it was Hendershot standing on second base with two outs and Mac Morgan striding to the plate.

“Game is tied, two outs, runner in scoring position,” Morgan thought as he came up to bat. “This is what every kid dreams about. I just didn’t want to pop it up. I wanted to hit low and make it hard to field.”

That he did. Morgan hit a shot to shortstop that made its way to the outfield to score Hendershot and win the game via walk-off again.

Morgan also pitched 5.2 innings with six strikeouts, and Mickelson got the final out on the mound. 

“All-around, we played well and hard,” Coach Mickelson said. “We showed resilience and heart. We really came together as a team and supported each other all the way through.”

On Wednesday, July 26, the Mustangs will compete in the first round of the 

Wyoming State Tournament in Rock Springs against the second seed from District Two at 3 p.m.