Laramie Rangers Experience Highs and Lows in Last Two Games of Dooley Oil Classic
The Laramie Rangers reached the championship game, but were soundly defeated in that game at the 10th annual Dooley Oil Classic at Cowboy Field last weekend.
Laramie (22-12) saw their 13-game winning streak come to an end Sunday afternoon. Prior to that, it took a seventh inning rally to extend the streak and make the title game.
Saturday night, the Rangers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 victory over Green River. Will Yates had the game-winning RBI infield single on the first pitch of his at-bat. It was a hard chopper over a drawn in third baseman.
Laramie manager Brandon Ruckman said the plan had been for a suicide squeeze, but that was supposed to change.
“I saw the catcher (for Green River) give a thumbs up, like throw the ball high. Obviously, they had thought that we were going to squeeze there, and I didn’t want to pop it up. So, I wiped it (the sign) off, and Caleb (Eaton) missed it and went home. Will (Yates) hit the high pitch for a single and got the run, so great job by Will.”
Four batters earlier, Eaton smashed an RBI triple to deep left-centerfield that scored Michael Schutterle and tied the game at 4-4. After a pair of intentional walks and a strikeout, Yates became the hero.
Ruckman was relieved his squad rallied for the victory.
“I commend the team on persevering and coming out and getting those big hits at the end. It’s just that I thought we had a lot of opportunities tonight (Saturday) that we missed.”
Ruckman referred to nine runners left on base by the Rangers and six were in scoring position.
“It’s something we’ve been good at most of the season. It was a little frustrating to leave to the last play of the game.”
Blake Moore got the win in relief and also drove in three at the plate with a two-run single and an RBI sacrifice fly.
That narrow victory over the Knights put Laramie into the championship against Spearfish (SD). The Rangers were dominated Sunday afternoon, 14-1 in four innings.
Spearfish took all the drama out of the game with a seven runs in the first inning, as they sent 12 batters to the plate. They scored another three runs in the second for a 10-0 lead. Spearfish added one in the third and three more runs in the fifth.
The Rangers managed only one run in the third. After a single, Will Yates stopped at third base, but an errant throw to the infield allowed him to score, as he beat the tag by the catch at the plate.
Ruckman felt his team lacked focus in the title game.
“(There were) a couple errors that they scored runs on and got on base, and we didn’t capitalize defensively. Anytime you walk and hit 11 batters in four innings, it’s tough to win a ballgame doing that.”
Ruckman admitted it was a rough one for them.
Moore started, but last only an inning-and-a-third. He allowed nine runs, only four earned on five hits. Moore walked one and hit four batters. Logan Pickard and Caleb Eaton also threw.
Connor Glasford was the winning pitcher for Spearfish. He gave up one unearned run on three hits with one walk. Glasford threw only 49 pitches in the four-inning victory. He helped himself at the plate with two hits, two RBI’s and three runs scored.
The Rangers have a busy week ahead with three doubleheaders and a tournament coming up. They play at Wheatland Tuesday in a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Laramie is home on Wednesday and Thursday. They host Mountain View from Loveland, CO for a twin bill at 5 p.m. Wednesday, followed by another doubleheader Thursday against Alliance, NE at 4 p.m. Then it’s off to Fort Morgan, CO for tournament play July 1 and 2.