The Blue Jays' vision going into the this weekend's state tournament in Laramie was to beat rival Cheyenne Extreme and take home the state championship. But they will have to wait one more year for that.
For the past couple of years, coach West said the Gillette Blue Jays fastpitch softball team has beaten Cheyenne early in tournaments, but not in big games to end those tournaments.
It was the same story at state softball.
Gillette won both of its pool play games against the two other B teams Friday, a dominant 16-1 win over Laramie and then a tight 5-4 win against Cheyenne.
In bracket play, the Extreme turned the tables in another close game, this time edging the Blue Jays 6-4. But Gillette had one more chance in the double-elimination format.
The Blue Jays walloped Laramie again 17-0 in their bracket game, which set up a third game with Cheyenne in the championship. Gillette would have needed two wins in a row over the Extreme to secure the title, but fell 10-1 to finish the state tournament in second place.
Ali West, Maddy Piercy and Dakota Jones were the standouts at the plate for the Blue Jays during their wins. In the 16-1 win over Laramie, Jones and Piercy each drove in four runs, and West had five RBIs in Gillette’s final win of the weekend.
This 18U team had won the 14U and 16U state championships together, so Jim West said the Blue Jays were focused on coming home with the first-place trophy. But Cheyenne got the best of them in the big game again.
“That's probably a 25-year rivalry and Cheyenne, at their 18U level, they've won a lot of state championships," the coach said. "The last two years we've split games with them. ... But the problem is they've beat us in the game that counts."
The Gillette Blue Jays also had some success in the younger divisions. The 10U B team took second with a 6-3 loss to Laramie in the championship and the 12U fell 3-1 in the title game. The Gillette Wicked 307 also placed second in the 16U B bracket.