Capping an up-and-down campaign with a top-four finish is what the Laramie Rangers did to wrap up their 2023 American Legion Baseball season.

Laramie went 2-2 at the 2023 Wyoming American Legion Baseball AA State Tournament last week in Jackson.

Six seniors helped the team reach the fourth day of the state tournament.

Manager Aaron Lozano felt they were the impetus to the team’s run in Jackson.

“They really fought hard, and those six seniors set an example for what the standard is for this program. Going out and playing for each other, playing hard, holding your heads up, and doing it the right way. Being good young men. That’s what I think of when I think of this group of seniors.”

The Rangers lost their first game to the Casper Oilers, 7-3. Casper broke that game open with a 6-run fourth inning. Laramie stayed alive in game two with a come-from-behind, 6-3 win, over the Rock Springs Stallions. With a 2-1 lead, Ben Malone smashed a grand slam that pushed it to 6-1 in the sixth inning.

Still facing elimination, the Rangers took on the host Jackson Giants in their third game of the state tournament. An early 1-0 lead turned into a 2-1 deficit. Laramie took the lead for good on Sam Hoyt’s two-run double in the second. A Mason Branch 3-run home run in the fifth pushed the Rangers’ lead to 8-2. Jackson answered with five runs in the bottom of that frame, but Laramie held on for an 8-7 win.

On day four, Laramie took on eventual state champion Cheyenne and lost to the Sixers, 8-3. Cheyenne took a quick 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Rangers responded with three runs in the bottom of the first. The Sixers came back with three more in the second and led 7-3. One more in the sixth created the final margin for Cheyenne.

Lozano added, “This team is one of the ones I’m most proud of. Of all the teams I’ve coached, I’m very proud of this group of young men.”

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Laramie concluded the year with a 28-32 record.

Lozano said, “We were a very streaky team, and some of that was our inexperience with guys on this team. It takes a while when you think about some of these guys’ first full year on varsity. Guys like Reece McIntrye, Aidan Buchanan, and Diego Herrera. Having to make that adjustment, I thought they did a heck of a job. It’s a different game here at the Double-A level, and I think a little more experience probably leads to a few more wins here and there, but when it matters is when you get to the state tournament, and they put on a heck of a show while they were here.”

In addition to the top four finish at the AA State Tournament, Laramie also took third place in both the Class B and C American Legion Baseball state tournaments.

Lozano likes the foundation for the future of the program.

“I think a key for Laramie, in general, is to keep these guys all together, even the multi-sport athletes. We want to see guys playing multiple sports and living in the weight room in the off-season, and doing that off-season tee work. You know playing football, playing basketball, and going out for track. All those things I think make you a better baseball player. If you can do those things, and you can play baseball, I think that’s the key for us.”

The Rangers are slated to lose six seniors, but three of them could potentially return for their super senior year in 2024. Those decisions will be made later.

Overall, Laramie will return eight players from their Double-A roster for next year. That includes five full-time starters.

2023 Wyoming American Legion Baseball AA State Tournament Day 4

The Wyoming American Legion Baseball AA State Tournament was trimmed to two teams after the fourth day of games in Jackson, WY.

2023 Wyoming American Legion Baseball AA State Tournament Day 2

Photos from some of the Day 2 action at the 2023 Wyoming American Legion Baseball AA State Tournament in Jackson, WY.

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