Laramie Youth Baseball All-Stars Begin Action at Districts
Youth all-star baseball time has arrived for the summer of 2018, as the Laramie teams begin competing in the District 2 Little League Tournament.
This year’s event is in Gillette. The 11-12-year-old tourney runs through Saturday. It is a seven-team, double-elimination bracket. The 9-10-year-old tournament goes through Friday. It is a five-team, double-elimination bracket.
The top two teams in each age division advance to the Wyoming Little League State Tournament July 25-28 in Powell.
The Laramie 11-12 All-Stars have plenty of experience. Of the 13 players on the roster, 10 have been involved with all-star action before. That includes four returners from last year’s state runner-up team. They are Tripp Looney, Ben Malone, Jace Moniz and Tayton Moore.
The 11-12 All-Star manager is Brett Moniz, who has coached at the 9-10 level the last two years. Moniz knows it’s a lot of the same kids and believes they’ve just matured.
“With this team, our biggest thing is the depth in pitching. We’ve got, literally, out of the 13 kids, I’ve got 11 kids that can pitch. That sure is reassuring when you’re going into a five-day tournament to have that many kids that can throw.”
Moniz added his team is versatile in the field. He also feels they’ll be good offensively and defensively.
“They’re all leaders. You know I don’t have to worry about one kid to stand up and become a leader. They’re all leaders. They all trust each other and that’s huge.”
Moniz feels to qualify for state they don’t want to show all their cards early.
“We’ll ease into it and just play solid ball, and maybe not show some of our better pitchers right off the bat.”
The rest of the roster includes Max Alexander, James Darling, Omari Elias, Fisher Frude, Sam Hoyt, Trace Looney, Kaige Schriner, Colin Suloff and Grant Vigen.
The Laramie 11-12 All-Stars first game is versus Torrington at 4 p.m. Monday. The winner advances to face Rawlins at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The Laramie 9-10 All-Stars is pretty much a new group, from coaches to players. Only two of the 13 players on the roster return from last year. Those two are Carson Moniz and TR Richardson. This age level did not make the state tournament last year, so they’ll be looking to do so in 2018.
Matt Lehning is the manager of the 9-10 All-Stars and is being assisted by Aaron Frude and Josh Dorrell.
Lehning said he’s excited about this group of kids and their work thus far.
“They’ve had great attitudes these past couple of weeks. There’s a lot of excitement. I think the team’s actually ready to go.”
With this being his first foray into Laramie All-Star coaching, Lehning admitted he doesn’t know a lot about their opposition, but instead wants to focus on his group.
“We’re just trying to do what we do best.”
He also wants to keep in perspective what age he’s dealing with.
“I don’t know if you know exactly what you’re going to get from game-to-game, so I think there’s gonna be a lot of it that’s just gonna actually depend on like the game time decisions. We definitely have a lot of kids that can play a lot of positions, so I think we’ll have a lot of different lineups.”
The goal is to qualify for state next week.
Lehning said a lot of it’s going to come down to, “If we come out and have fun, I really actually think that these boys will come out and actually play well.”
The Laramie 9-10 All-Stars begin action Monday at 4 p.m. against Platte County. The winner moves on to face Gillette American at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.