Down 5-0 in the first inning, the Laramie Rangers rallied for a 14-5 victory over Cody Saturday night and will play for the championship in the Dooley Oil Classic.

Laramie (16-16) won its seventh consecutive game and got back to .500 record-wise for the first time this season. The game was stopped in the fifth inning after an eight-run mercy rule was reached.

Cody came out swinging. The first six batters reached safely, as they sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning. The Cubs scored five runs on seven hits. Rangers’ starter Albert Steiner threw 35 pitches in the first inning and was nearly pulled according to manager Brandon Ruckman.

“When things happen like that, you’re always nervous. You weren’t expecting that at all, and then you’re trying to think quickly what you’re going to do. Luckily, we had Logan (Pickard) ready to go. He was seriously, maybe, a hit away from coming on the field.”

Despite the rough start, Ruckman said they didn’t panic.

“It was almost like a little bit of fire, like how dare you do that to us, come ready to go? We haven’t really seen that a lot. They came back more focused, ready to run. They had some good aggressive base-running. I was happy to see them come back.”

Laramie responded quickly with six runs on six hits and two walks and took the lead for good, as they also sent 11 batters to the plate in the first. Blake Moore had the go-ahead RBI-single.

Ruckman went on to say they would have been okay with getting three runs back, but was very pleased with six runs and to see that type of response.

Then the Rangers scored a run in each of the next two innings for an 8-5 lead.

The offense came alive again in the fourth when Laramie sent 11 more hitters to the plate. They tacked on six more runs. The Rangers had just three hits in the frame but took advantage of two errors, two walks, and a hit batter.

David Coulthard and Caleb Eaton led the offense with two hits and three RBI’s apiece, while Moore and Baden Jordan added two hits and two RBI’s each.

Steiner settled in after the rough opening frame. He allowed only one hit after that. Steiner went four and two-thirds for the victory. He had one walk and two strikeouts.

Steiner said, “That first inning did not go the way I would hope for it to go, but I think I did a good job on the mound of staying calm, throwing strikes, and my team they didn’t give up on me.”

He admitted his off-speed pitches came together and that’s what saved him.

Logan Pickard struck out the lone batter he faced.

Keegan Brown had two hits that led Cody. His brother Cooper Brown took the loss, as he gave up seven runs on seven hits in just two innings.

The Cubs suffered just their fourth loss all season. They fall to 28-4 overall.

Laramie will have a chance to win their tournament. They will face Fort Morgan, CO in the Dooley Oil Classic Championship at 4:45 p.m. Sunday. The start time was pushed back an hour after rainstorms overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. In fact, all games times were moved back an hour for Sunday’s match play.

KOWB will provide live coverage of the championship game at 4:30 p.m.