Coming off a runner-up finish at the District Tournament, the Laramie 11-12 year old All-Stars have their sights on another state championship.

The 2017 Wyoming Little League Baseball State Tournament begin today in Laramie and continues through Saturday. Laramie is the defending champions.

Manager Conrad Chavez said they learned they’ve got some good pitching, which he believes will give them a shot to defend their title.

“This week it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a new start, and we really hope to utilize our pitching to its fullest.”

Chavez admitted their youth showed in a pair of losses to Gillette at the District Tournament. Errors defensively played a large role in those defeats, and that’s something Chavez is hoping to turn around.

“We have to support our pitchers, and we can’t depend on our pitchers to just strike everybody out. We have to make plays (defensively)… If, defensively we can keep things rolling, I think we’ll be in every game that we play.”

The Laramie All-Stars open up against Riverton, the top seed from District No. 1, at 7 p.m.

Chavez said Riverton has three guys back from last year just like his squad.

“Doing a little bit of research, they put up a lot of runs during their District Tournament. Hard to tell what they were facing, but we have to worry about ourselves and doing what we can do best, and that’s pitching. Our hitting’s coming along, we had some guys come alive at the end of the week, and hopefully we see that continue this week.”

It is a four-team double elimination bracket. Gillette plays Cody in the other first day game at 3 p.m.

Chavez said they will tweak their strategy because it’s a different set-up than districts. They also need to be cognizant of how they use their pitchers.

As for trying to get back to the top and make a second straight trip to California for the Northwest Regionals, Chavez said there is a belief amongst the kids they can accomplish that goal.

“They have the ability, and a state tournament with four teams, anything can happen. The biggest thing is just worrying about ourselves, like I said before. If we can do that, take care of what we can do, who knows what’ll happen.”

All the action is taking place at the Laramie Youth Baseball complex on Armory Road.

Courtesy: Tracy Malone