After a difficult regular season, the Laramie Rangers will look to make a splash at the Wyoming American Legion Baseball Class ‘AA’ State Tournament in Gillette.

In the first round, Laramie will face Jackson at 1 p.m. from Hladky Memorial Stadium in Gillette. The Rangers and Giants did not play in the regular season this year.

Laramie (13-38) has endured a rough July thus far. They’ve dropped 16 straight games and haven’t won a game since June 30 at a tournament in Fort Morgan, CO.

Rangers’ manager Aaron Lozano is hoping his team is rested as they begin to play Friday.

“We’ve taken some time to have a few lighter practices to talk more about strategy (heading into the state tournament) and to sort of recover. We had a pretty crazy stretch with the CABA World Series, right into conference play, and then a long trip to Gillette, and those things kind of wear on the guys. I’m hoping that we’re refreshed.”

Lozano also admitted they’re looking at shaking some things up going into the state tournament.

“Maybe some different line-ups, maybe some different approaches on offense, and hopefully we can make some noise.”

For the fourth time in the last five years, Laramie’s first-round opponent is the Jackson Giants. The Rangers have won two of those previous three meetings at the state tournament, including last year’s 18-3 victory.

Lozano knows that facing Jackson has become a bit of a norm.

“It makes for a weird, but a good rivalry. Kind of like the Broncos-Patriots, where two teams somehow end up playing every year even though they’re not in the same division. I think it’s fun to get out there and open up against a team that, maybe, we don’t know what to expect from them, but also, they don’t what to expect from us.”

As for the Rangers keys to having success at the state tournament, Lozano explained it’s the same mantra as it’s been all season for his ball club.

“We need timely hitting. We’ve gotta have guys being aggressive on offense, especially with runners on base. Our pitchers have got to throw strikes, and when they do our defense has got to back them up.”

Lozano said walks issued by their pitchers and their defense have been areas they’ve struggled in.

“We’d really like to see our pitchers throwing strikes and our defense making plays.”

All the Rangers games will be covered at the state tournament in Gillette on KOWB radio (AM 1290). David Settle will call the action. The broadcast on Friday will start at 12:45 p.m.

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