Rangers Host Good Competition in Annual Dooley Oil Classic
The lone legion baseball tournament this weekend in Wyoming is happening in Laramie, as the Rangers host the 11th annual Dooley Oil Classic at Cowboy Field.
Sixteen games will be played Thursday through Sunday. The first three days are pool play, which is followed by match or seeded play on Sunday.
Laramie Rangers manager Brandon Ruckman said when it comes to putting together this showcase event as their only home tournament of the season you look for quality competition.
“You just try to get the best teams you can to get in, and you want to give yourself the best chance you can to make it to the championship game.”
Seven teams from around the region will be in town for American Legion baseball action this weekend. Pool A has the Rangers, plus the Loveland, CO Aces, Rock Springs Archie Hay Post 24 and Cody Cubs. Pool B is comprised of the Cheyenne Hawks, Colorado Baseball Club, Spearfish, SD and Fort Morgan, CO.
Ruckman said, “We haven’t ever seen Cody (since I’ve been the head coach), I wanted to play them. They’re a good team. There are a few good teams in this tournament; this Colorado Baseball Club team; Hawks have beaten us twice, they’re on the other side. You just try to get some teams from all over. We have Spearfish here, a couple teams from Colorado, you’ve got some Wyoming teams, so it’s a good mix.”
The Rangers have won four straight coming in and Ruckman feels like they have some momentum now. What will be an adjustment is switching to wood bats for this tournament.
Ruckman said, “The good thing is one of our strengths is small ball. We do a lot of bunting, drag bunting, and bunt and steals. Wood bats, you’re not gonna have quite the drive they're seeing off these metal bats. They’re gonna have to square balls up, hit more line drives, the small ball during the games, move runners, so it’s a little different. Gotta be maybe a little more picky at the plate.”
Laramie’s first game will be against the Loveland Aces at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. They will play Rock Springs Friday at 7 p.m. and Cody Saturday at 7 p.m. Sunday is determined by how you finish in pool play, so it’s unknown who and when you will play on the final day.
The goal is to defend their home diamond and win the tournament according to the manager.
“I want our team to legitimately make it to the championship. In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and there’s good teams on both sides. I mean, it’s just how it is, how we worked it out, but you always try to make it even. It’s going to be fun.”
Ruckman is looking forward to hopefully seeing some big crowds this weekend and passed along his thanks to the tournament’s title sponsor, Dooley Oil Company.
“They’ve been great to us. They’ve been sponsors for years, even when their son Kevin played for me years ago. We're very thankful to have them as one of our sponsors.”
The Dooley Oil Classic began in 2008 and has been a yearly event ever since.
KOWB (AM 1290) will be broadcasting all of the Laramie Rangers games in the tournament. David Settle will call the action from Cowboy Field Thursday through Sunday. Coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch. Thursday’s broadcast starts at 7:15 p.m.