(PHOTOS) As state champions, Gillette Little League team will first play Utah at regionals

Gillette Little League beat Rock Springs 10-0 for the state championship. (John Copping)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Gillette Little League 11-12 year old AllStars will represent the state of Wyoming in the Little League Baseball Mountain Region tournament in San Bernardino, California.

They’ll first play the Utah state champions at 1 p.m. Mountain Time Aug. 7. If they win, their next game will be at 7 p.m. MT Aug. 9. ESPN is recording the games.

The Little League World Series will take place Aug. 17 through Aug. 28 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Manager and coach John Copping said that while this is the first time several of the players are going to regionals, the team has more experience compared with past teams he’s managed. All but one of the players also plays on traveling baseball teams, so they have played about 60 games instead of the typical 20 games played through just Little League, he said.

They also are good hitters, he said. But talent alone won’t win them the championship. They just have to stay focused and keep their morale high, he said.

“If they play their game, then they’ll beat Utah,” Copping said. “They’ve got to keep their heads on a swivel. They’ve got to beat the mental game of it first.”

He said keeping that morale high is challenging for boys around that age since they have such a great desire to be successful.

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“They’re their own worst enemies,” he said.

They have to remember that everybody makes errors, and everyone strikes out, Copping said.

“I don’t think you’ll be able to beat them if they figure that out,” he said.

The team at L&H batting cages making the 21,000 swings club Aug. 3 Player Beck Miller was not present. (John Copping)
Gillette Little League beat Rock Springs 10-0 for the Wyoming State Little League Tournament. (John Copping)
The team became District 2 Champions after they beat Douglas’ team twice. (John Copping)

With the help of their families, County 17 also collected photos of the players and responses to the question “Why are you looking forward to regionals?” Here are families’ responses.

Lorenzo Piña (Heymeyer/Piña family)

Lorenzo Piña: “He is looking forward to sharing this experience with his teammates and playing some baseball!”

Corey Basinger (Krystal Basinger)

Corbin Baysinger: “I am excited for the experience and to win with my team!”

 

Caleb Hess (Lori Hess)

Caleb Hess, Gillette WY- 11Y/O “I am really excited to see the stadium and just getting to be there and meet players from the other teams, oh, and to be on ESPN too.”

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Ryder Hess (Lori Hess)
Ryder Hess, Gillette WY- 12Y/O ” I am happy we get to go down there and play some good teams and get to play on a different field.”

 

 

Nathan Clifford (left) with his son Jaycob Clifford after the team won state. (Nathan Clifford)

Jaycob Clifford: “I’m excited to go and play more baseball and to meet other kids from other states and to make new friends.  I’m excited to see California and to play in an awesome tournament”.

Dylan Moore hugs his aunt, Tonya Stahl, after they won the state championship, sealing the deal for California. (Tonya Stahl)

Dylan Moore: “I’m looking forward to representing Wyoming, having fun and playing baseball!”

The Barnette family celebrates after Braylen Barnette’s team wins state. Greg Barnette is a team coach. (Greg Barnette)

Greg Barnette, one of the team coaches: “It’s very exciting to me to take this group of boys to California for this experience. They have put in an amazing amount of work to get to this point. Being able to coach my son Braylen and experience it with him makes it even more enjoyable! He is looking forward to the whole experience and meeting all the other teams. In the state championship game he pitched a 1 hitter and allowed no runs to help get us to this point. As a whole team I am very proud of them all and couldn’t ask for better coaches!”

Logyn New after hitting a home run in a game. (Krista New)

Logyn New: “I am excited for regionals because now I get to play more baseball, and I get to be on TV (ESPN)!”

Lager Little and Corbin Baysinger are team captains. Jerrod Driskill is also on coaching staff.