Rangers Conclude Cheyenne Firecracker Tournament With 15-2 Win
Reid Baty hit a grand slam and Logan Pickard added a three-run shot that propelled the Laramie Rangers to a 15-2 victory over Poudre Sunday in Cheyenne.
Laramie (24-22) finished the Cheyenne Post 6 Firecracker tournament with a 4-1 mark. The victory over the Impalas was in consolation action on the final day of tourney play.
Manager Brandon Ruckman summed up the weekend by saying it was bittersweet.
"A great record for us (on the weekend), and I thought we did a great job, other than that one game when it really mattered to keep us in the single elimination tournament (championship bracket), but overall a good day at the park or good weekend."
After starting with a pair of wins in pool play, the Rangers ended as the top seed thanks to a 12-2 victory Friday night over the Cheyenne Hawks. Down 1-0, Laramie tied it in the second on an RBI-single by Ramon Gomez. Caleb Eaton’s two-run double in the third gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead. They added eight runs on six hits and two Hawks errors in the fourth. Eaton got the win on the mound and led the offense with two hits, both doubles, and three RBI’s.
Ruckman said they didn't get going as early as he would have liked, but they came around.
"We had that one really big inning. When you have those big innings, they really help you."
He added, "It was great to see our club really kind of focus up, put it to 'em, and I think that does show how far we've come in the last month."
Saturday was cross-over play against the fourth-place team from Pool A, the Parker, CO Lightning Blue team. Parker went 0-3 in their side of round robin action.
Laramie lost to the Lightning 5-3 Saturday afternoon. After a 2-0 lead in the first, the Rangers offense was held to two hits the rest of the game.
Baty hit an RBI sacrifice fly followed by Pickard’s RBI-double in the first. Parker answered with a run in the third and took the lead in the fourth with two. Baty drew a walk in the sixth, which was followed by a three-base error on Eaton’s fly ball to center field that was misplayed. That tied it at 3-3.
Laramie threw out a runner at the plate for the second out in the seventh, but a dropped fly ball and an RBI-single led to two runs for the Lightning. The Rangers got a one-out triple by Blake Moore in the seventh, but a pop-up to the catcher in foul territory and a fly-out to the second baseman ended the game.
Moore had two of Laramie’s four hits. Albert Steiner was the tough-luck loser. He went six and two-thirds innings and gave up five runs, only one earned, on seven hits. Steiner walked one and struck out four while throwing 110 pitches. Five defensive errors hurt their chances.
Ruckman admitted it was a tough game.
"We got out-hit today (Saturday), and then the errors definitely didn't help. We weren't dominating the baseball like we know we should. You know you've always gotta anticipate throws that aren't perfect, and you gotta take good routes to the baseball. You know we didn't do that today. A couple times we did, as we had some good outfield play, but anytime you have that many errors in a game, it's going to be tough to win."
That defeat put the Rangers in consolation action Sunday with a second game against Poudre. Laramie jumped out early with nine runs in the first highlighted by Baty’s grand slam to right-center on a 3-1 pitch. Reston Morehouse, Moore, Will Yates and Eaton all added RBI-singles. Poudre got a run in the second and third and trimmed it to 9-2. The Rangers came back with six more runs in the third. Baty smacked a two-run single, which was followed by Pickard unloading a three-run home run to deep left-center. An error added another run and Laramie finished it off early thanks to the 10-run mercy rule.
Baty got the win on the mound. He also led a 14-hit attack with two hits and six RBI’s. Moore and Eaton had three hits apiece. Morehouse had the first multi-hit game of his Rangers career. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Ruckman knew it was going to be tough coming out with an early start, but they let go of Saturday's loss.
"We got focused today. It was good energy for a 9:30 (in the morning) game, which we don't typically have, so it was great. We got the bats going. Obviously, Reid (Baty) helped us out there early in the first and then Logan added to it. We had hits top-to-bottom (in the line-up), so a good day at the plate."
Laramie returns home Tuesday and Wednesday for doubleheaders versus North Platte, NE, and Wheatland. The twin bill Tuesday against North Platte starts at 3 p.m. The two versus the Lobos begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday.