BILLINGS – Cade Torgerson has gradually worked his way up.
From Little League in Shepherd to now with the Billings Royals, the 18-year-old continues to seek out the next challenge.
“Everything’s a little bit faster. You get better competition pretty consistently. Just makes you better, absolutely,” said Torgerson, a left-handed pitcher for the Royals. “That’s kind of the challenge. We knew it would be going to better competition, but never going to take down a challenge like that. I think that’s really what’s been fun about it, the fun of competition. You’re around better players, it’s exciting like that. Better pace of baseball, and I like it a lot. It’s been fun.”
Torgerson grew up in Shepherd, playing baseball and football in the Class B-sized community just outside of Billings. On the gridiron, he was a strong-armed quarterback for the Mustangs, who were a middle-of-the-pack team in District 3B in 2016.
Prior to his senior season, though, Torgerson moved to Billings Senior, joining the then-defending-champion Broncs. The 6-foot-2 signal-caller backed up Nolan Askelson, who helped lead Senior to another undefeated season and its second consecutive Class AA state title.
“Just being a part of the team was something really special for me,” Torgerson said. “They had my role on the team, and I embraced it as much as I could. Just being a part of the team was really special for me. They gave me a chance and just took the most I could of my opportunities, and it was really special being a part of that team. It was really awesome.”
Now, Torgerson is playing on another team with state-title aspirations. The Royals are the No. 3 seed in the American Legion Baseball Class AA state tournament, which begins Saturday at Kalispell. After a sizzling start to the season, which included an 18-game winning streak, Billings finished with a 15-7 conference mark, one game back of first-place Bozeman.
The Royals, though, bring the best statistical defense into the state tournament. They allowed just 78 runs in 22 conference games, thanks in large part to the arms of Torgerson and Tyler Frieders.
“Right now, I think some people try and – they see some guys in the MLB – they’re trying to get too fancy. If they see their stuff, you’ve got to master what you know and get better at that,” Torgerson said. “Location obviously. Over here, you can’t leave one across the plate. You learn that the hard way. Location, getting better. Always working. No days off when you’re playing in college. I think that’s kind of helped me when I moved up to Royals, went to Senior, that work ethic’s really been instilled in me, for sure.”
Once this baseball season concludes – whether that be at this weekend’s state tournament, the regional tournament or the World Series – Torgerson will get back on the football field. He’s committed to play both football and baseball at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. His brother, Cole, is also a pitcher for the Jimmies.
“He just told me about Jamestown, he was never trying to pull me over there. He wanted me to do what’s best for me,” Cade Torgerson said. “I think it will be really cool to get a chance to play with Cole for a couple more years, so I’m pretty excited about that. He’s been really supportive through the whole process. The first one to text me right when I said I was committing there, so he’s super excited about it. If he didn’t show it when I was thinking about where I was going, he showed it afterward, so it was really cool.”
The Royals will play sixth-seeded Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) in a first-round game at 4 p.m. Saturday. For full scores and pairings from the State AA tournament, please click the link below.