A split of a conference doubleheader Saturday at Cowboy Field concluded the Laramie Rangers 2018 Legion baseball regular season.

Laramie defeated the Gillette Roughriders 5-1 in the opener, while Gillette came back in the nightcap for a 10-8 victory. The game one win was the Rangers first over the Roughriders since June 9, 2007.

Laramie manager Brandon Ruckman said at least a split was their objective going in.

“We obviously wanted to beat them twice, but our goal was to split, and we accomplished that.”

Albert Steiner went the distance for the victory on the mound in game one. He allowed only one run on two hits and threw just 78 pitches. Steiner walked three and struck out two.

Laramie backed him with timely hits and base-running. After a wild pitch gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead, Blake Moore’s two-run triple made it 3-0 in the second. Laramie added a run in the third on a wild pitch, and another in the fifth on Caleb Eaton’s RBI-double. Gillette scratched out a run on a double play with the bases loaded and zero outs in the third.

Ruckman said, “Got our bats going early, gave Albert some runs, had a little rain delay there, and I wasn’t sure if he (Steiner) was going to tighten up or not, but it seems like he didn’t. I think he only threw 78 pitches in a complete game, so it was quite a good performance by him to just pound the zone and minimize his pitch count.”

In game two, the Roughriders got out to an 8-0 in the fourth inning. Laramie rallied with five in the bottom of the frame. Reid Baty had the big blow with a three-run double. A misplayed throw and a David Coulthard RBI-single made it 8-5. Gillette scored two insurance runs in the sixth on three wild pitches. The Rangers rallied in the seventh on an RBI-double by Moore and a two-run double by Baty but fell short in their comeback.

Reid Baty started and took the loss on the mound. He gave up eight runs on nine hits over four innings.

Ruckman added about game two, “Couldn’t get the bats going. You gotta tip your cap to Hayden Sylte (of Gillette), he really just kept us off-balance. (He) Had that hard slider in, and he was working it in-out. A lot of my guys were breaking out like they almost thought it was going to hit ‘em, and then it had a hard break.”

The Rangers finished with 14 strikeouts at the plate that game.

Laramie concluded the regular season 30-25 overall. It’s their first 30-win season since 2013. The Rangers also finished the East Conference with a 3-3 record, which is their best league mark under the current format where Laramie plays Cheyenne Post 6, Gillette and Sheridan for conference games.

To reach the 30-win plateau, Ruckman said it is significant.

“Our guys, they’re just studs. They’ve really been giving us good performances. To get to 30-wins, it does mean a lot. Just goes to show you the program we have built up, all of us, all the coaches, the parents, everybody, just the community getting together. It means a lot to get to that 30-wins.”

The Rangers now await who and win they will play in the first round of the Wyoming “AA” American Legion Baseball State Tournament. Action begins Sunday, July 29 from Powers Field in Cheyenne.

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