Five Generals named to All-Tournament team
By Thorn Compton
CASPER — Though the Rawlins Generals 17u American Legion baseball team wasn’t happy with being eliminated by Laramie in their fourth round of the state tournament last Friday, they can take solace in the fact that they earned quite a bit of recognition for their efforts.
Five Generals players were named to the All-Tournament team for their performance on the field and the attitudes they displayed during games.
Tristin Mikesell, Trysten Rathbun, Robert Flores, Damon Wagner and Bobby Bannon all took home All-Tournament honors, and Rawlins as a whole was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the tournament Sunday.
Generals head coach Tom Weed said he could not have been prouder of what his team accomplished this season.
“Look at where we started, look at how this team was playing at the beginning of the season and how we ended,” Weed said over the phone while in Colorado Springs Monday. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of success here in baseball for the past few seasons, and with us starting 2-9 it looked like it would continue. The kids are pumped about how we finished and are ready to start next season.”
After that 2-9 start and the subsequent schedule change and move down to 17u, the Generals finished 9-7 and made a name for themselves in Wyoming Legion baseball, Weed said.
Their final loss was almost a microcosm of their season, they started the game down 9-0 after four innings but made a furious comeback to take a 10-9 lead going into the seventh.
Laramie was too much for the Generals in that seventh, however, and the Generals dropped the game 13-10, ending their season with a bitter taste in their mouth.
“We just flat ran out of pitching,” Weed said about playing four games in a three-day stretch. “We battled back from down 9-0 and you hate to lose like that. It’s a rough way to finish but the kids were realistic about it. We came a long way and with both of our catchers hurt we did great to even be in position to win against Laramie.”
Now with a winning second half of the season and success in the state tournament, Weed said his team is excited to put in work during the offseason and be prepared to continue that success next year.
“Historically we haven’t had much interest from kids when it comes to offseason work and getting in the weight room,” Weed said. “They want to put that work in now though, we have an indoor batting cage and some indoor pitching mounds they can keep working in even during winter. Most importantly they need to get out and run, we need to get in better shape for next summer.”
When asked who the team’s MVP was this season, Weed wasn’t able to narrow down to one player. He said Rathbun, Mikesell and Wagner all deserved recognition for their efforts this season and their attitude.
“All three of them were great for us,” Weed said. ‘Their work ethic and ability to stay positive were inspiring. (Bannon) was also our most improved player this year. He was hard on himself earlier in the season, but really settled in well. In the state tournament he went 10-13, which is amazing considering he was only batting .220 coming in.”
One of the most important aspects of how the Generals finished their season is the respect they gained from other clubs around the state, Weed said.
“We finished on a positive note, even though it was a loss,” Weed said. “I tell you we shocked a lot of teams around the state over the last few weeks. We turned a lot of heads; the teams we beat did not like what happened to them. They now know Rawlins is a team to contend with come next season.”