Opening day brings wins for majors, seniors

Nathan Oster

Saturday's lineup consisted of T-ball, coach-pitch, minors, majors and, for the first time ever, seniors. 

So if you had the time and were willing to brave the wind and chilly temperatures, you could have seen all levels of Little League baseball being played on the fields of the Art Schutte Sports Complex in Greybull.

It was Opening Day for the South Big Horn Little League and every team was in action.

After a morning of T-ball and coach-pitch, the competitiveness ratcheted up as the day progressed. 

In minors action, A.W. Hunt beat Pathfinder 15-5 in the season opener for both clubs.

The majors game followed.  Sponsored by Big Horn Federal, the Greybull-Basin squad knocked off Otto, 6-4.  Brendyn DeShazer got the start on the mound and pitched well before giving way to Marshall Brown, who locked down the win.

Corbin Stewart led the team in hits.

The Senior Little League team, made up of 13- to 15-year-olds and sponsored by The SHACK, hosted Otto in the nightcap.  The two teams had met just three days earlier on the same field — and the outcomes couldn't have been more different.

Otto won the first one, 11-4.

Daryl Shiplet, who is managing the team along with William Levine, called the five-inning game a learning experience. 

"We're a very young team and have only two kids who are 15 — Caden Hunt and C.J. Fink," he said. "The rest are either 13 or 14."

The Otto team that it faced "was definitely older and more experienced," said Shiplet.

William Harlow got the start for The SHACK, throwing three quality innings and exiting with a 4-3 lead. Caden Hunt and later Bennett Sanford relieved, but couldn't hold off the Rattlers, who capitalized on walks and errors in the field.

"First game jitters ... the game just kind of got away from us," Shiplet said of the contest.

Sanford led with a pair of hits.  Fink and Jaxon Hunt had the others.

The rematch was far different affair, as The SHACK rode the pitching and a 3-for-3 effort at the plate by Bennett Sanford to a 7-2 win over the Rattlers.  Sanford pitched a complete, five-inning game, allowing only one earned run while fanning 10.

The difference between the two games, Shiplet said, was that, "We got the bat off our shoulders, hit the ball and played good defense."  

In addition to Sanford, the leading hitters for The SHACK included Jaxon Hunt, who went 2-for-2, and Harlow, who "had a key hit that got a big inning started for us," according to Shiplet. He further credited Jesse Brown for being a menace on the basepaths, walking twice and stealing three bags. 

Defensive stars included Caden Hunt, who caught the entire game, and 13-year-old Briston Craft, whose stellar work at shortstop allowed Sanford to stay on mound and the team to not miss a beat.

With a 1-1 record, the seniors will head to Thermopolis today (Thursday, May 18) for a 6 p.m. game.