A 10-run first inning propelled the Laramie Rangers to a 17-6 victory over Evanston Outlaws Tuesday at the ‘AA’ Wyoming American Legion State Baseball Tournament.

Laramie (32-26) has won two games at the state tournament for the first time since 2014 when they were at the single-A level of Legion baseball in Wyoming. It’s the first time they’ve accomplished the feat under current manager Brandon Ruckman.

“It’s a nice step in the right direction. You know, I’ve never gotten two wins. It felt pretty good to not stop today (Tuesday - day 3 of the tournament), keep going and we’re really looking forward to playing Gillette, to be honest, so looking forward to playing them tomorrow. I think the squad’s bought in,” said Ruckman.

Evanston jumped to a 3-0 lead thanks to five hits and an error of the Rangers in the first. Laramie responded with 14 hitters in the bottom of the first. Caleb Eaton’s two-run double tied it. David Coulthard’s RBI-single gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Michael Schutterle and Albert Steiner added RBI-singles before Will Yates’ two-run triple and an RBI-double by Reid Baty capped the outburst.

Laramie added four runs in the second. Yates’ two-run double was the highlight. Schutterle’s second RBI-single in the third made it 15-3.

The Outlaws responded with three unearned runs in the fourth. A double, an error, two hit batters and a two-run single trimmed it to 15-6. The Rangers got their insurance in the fourth with RBI-singles from Steiner and Eaton for the final margin of 17-6. Blake Moore threw a perfect fifth, and Laramie finished the game in four-and-a-half innings on the 10-run mercy rule.

Ramon Gomez started the Rangers and lasted two and two-thirds for the victory. He allowed three runs, two earned on six hits. Gomez walked two and struck out two.

“We weren’t exactly perfect with our pitching today, but they got those first three there off kind of a miscue on the bunt, and then some other things. They hit the ball. We knew they were gonna hit, the top five were gonna be swinging the sticks,” said Ruckman.

The manager said he had faith their offense would counter and it did.

“We wanted to be fairly aggressive and do some things, and try things out of the box. That’s what we did and it worked for us today.”

The Rangers finished with 17 hits, which included five extra-base hits. Steiner, Eaton, and Schutterle led the way with three hits each. Yates had two hits and four RBI.

There’s a high probability Laramie will face Gillette Wednesday in the modified, double-elimination bracket. The official game match-up and game time will be announced after the final game Tuesday.

To be one of the final four left at the state tournament Ruckman said is great.

“At least you know you’re in the top four in the state. That’s a good feeling. We’ve worked hard this season and put in a lot of hours. We’ve really been at this since December. It’s a good feeling to be one of the top four, for sure.”

No matter the time or the opponent, KOWB will have live coverage of Wednesday’s game at the ‘AA’ American Legion Baseball State Tournament from Powers Field in Cheyenne.

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