The 2020 Legion baseball season came to a disappointing end for the Laramie Rangers on Thursday with a 2-1 loss to the Casper Oilers at the state tournament.

Laramie (27-26) struggled offensively for the second consecutive game. Their only run scored on a wild pitch, and they finished with only four hits in the game.

Rangers’ manager Aaron Lozano knew their offensive woes caught up with them.

“We leave 10 runners on-base there (in this game). It’s a funny game, if you get one guy that gets one hit it changes everything, sometimes, and we just didn’t have that. Our pitchers were outstanding this weekend. You can’t ask for more than that. They go through the tournament and give up a total of five runs in two games, you expect to win both of those games, but the offense just wasn’t there.”

Both teams had some threats but neither team scored in the first three frames.

Laramie broke through in the fourth. A walk and two singles loaded the bases. A wild pitch allowed Ben Ruckman to score for a 1-0 lead. After a walk reloaded the bases, a pop-out and a strikeout that ended the inning.

Lozano said, “We had our opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of ‘em… it was perilously close to getting blown open and it just didn’t happen.”

The Oilers took the lead in the fifth inning. They scored two runs on four hits. An RBI-double by Samson Wagner tied the game. Casper tried to score a runner from first base, but a relay from Tyler Oppie in centerfield to Riley Hogsett to Aidan Morris got a runner at home plate. Cooper Hack followed with an RBI-single that score Wagner and gave the Oilers a 2-1 advantage.

The Rangers had runners reach second base in both the fifth and sixth innings but couldn’t get the big hit. They were retired in order in the seventh.

Lozano added, “We felt like guys sort of changed their approaches (hitting-wise) there that last month and started to get a little less aggressive, and you see the result.”

Casper’s Ryan Keith got the win. He went six innings and threw 108 pitches. Will Clair got the save and struck out two of the three batters he faced in the final frame.

Laramie had four hits from the middle of their lineup. Oppie started and gave way to Brandon Chavez, who suffered the loss. Ryan Chamberlain also threw for the Rangers. Those three combined for nine strikeouts.

The season is over for Laramie, while Casper moved on to Friday to play in another loser-out game against Jackson.

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