Laramie Rangers Host Cheyenne in Home Opener
The Laramie Rangers are making their home debut at Cowboy Field with a doubleheader against Cheyenne Post 6 tonight. Action starts at 5 p.m.
It’s been nearly three weeks since Laramie began their 2017 season with a pair of losses to Post 6 in Cheyenne. Scores of those games were 13-3 and 14-2, and both were stopped in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Manager Brandon Ruckman is in his third season at the helm. The Rangers return six full-time players and two others that were part of the state tournament roster from 2016. Veterans Reid Baty, Blake Moore and Albert Steiner will be counted on to lead the way. Moore was named AA All-State in 2016 after he led Laramie in hitting average at .362. He had 51 hits (second on the team), 25 RBI’s and 10 stolen bases last year. Baty hit .277 last season with 33 RBI’s, while Steiner was a. 309 for the year and drove in 25 runs.
Steiner was one of the regulars in the pitching rotation. He went 4-4 last year with a 4.60 earned run average. He threw 48.2 innings with 10 starts and 14 total appearances. Both Moore and Baty also threw last season.
As a team, the Rangers are trying to improve upon last year’s 20-28 mark. They ended the season with a 9-game losing streak.
Ruckman said he utilized the first two game against Cheyenne three weeks ago to further assess his team. His main goal is the same for this doubleheader, though they’ve had more time to prepare. These games were originally scheduled for April 23, but weather forced them to be rescheduled for tonight.
While they have had more time, Ruckman said the weather has cooperated as much.
“Overall, we’ve been fine-tuning some of the hitting that we haven’t been able to do. The cages finally got up, so we’ve been doing a little bit more hitting; and just approaches at the plate; working on that.”
Ruckman added they’ve been adjust on defense, as well, with work on situations like first and third, bunt defense and getting better reads on balls hit to the outfield.
After tonight’s double dip, Laramie is back on the diamond Sunday in Casper. They will face Cheyenne Post 6 and the Casper Oilers starting at 11 a.m.
With all this action, Ruckman says his strategy on the mound will be to use everyone.
“We still haven’t seen a lot of the kid’s throw, so we’re going to use this as an opportunity to get see the pitchers a little bit more over the next four games… So, short innings; just need them to work on control; reduce the walks; let them put the ball in play and let the defense help them.”
After tonight, Laramie next home game at Cowboy Field will be May 17.