For the third time in four games, the Laramie Rangers rallied to victory and captured the Dooley Oil Classic championship Sunday at Cowboy Field.

Laramie (17-16) defeated the Fort Morgan, CO Mustangs 11-3. It was the eighth straight win for the Rangers and pushed them over five-hundred record-wise for the first time this season.

Manager Brandon Ruckman said the talk amongst the coaches was how this team has fought back.

“This team, they have fight. They’ll fight. They don’t give up, and it’s great to see, that we get behind, and they don’t panic. They keep fighting. They put runs up. They do a lot of good things.”

Ruckman praised starting pitcher Logan Pickard’s effort over five innings.

“Logan gave us a great chance on the mound. He had a great outing. He did what we wanted him to do.”

Pickard allowed only three unearned runs on three hits. He walked two, hit one batter and struck out seven.

Reston Morehouse closed it out when he pitched the sixth inning.

Thanks to a dropped fly ball and an RBI-single, the Mustangs jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Laramie finally got on track offensively in the fourth. Reid Baty hit an RBI-triple to deep right field. David Coulthard followed with an RBI-single. After a fly-out and two singles, Blake Moore came through with the go-ahead two-run single on a 1-0 pitch. It gave the Rangers a 4-3 advantage, and they went on to score 11 unanswered runs.

Five more runs came in during the fifth when Laramie sent 11 batters to the plate. Baty had a two-run single, while Baden Jordan added an RBI-single. The Rangers also took advantage of three errors and three walks in the frame.

The game ended in the sixth inning when the eight-run rule was put into effect. Baty reached on an error and came home on Coulthard’s RBI-triple to right field. Matt Smith finished the victory with an RBI-sacrifice fly.

Laramie finished with 14 hits. Five different Rangers had two hits apiece. Baty went 2-4 with a triple and three RBI’s, while Moore and Coulthard added two hits and two RBI’s each.

Ruckman said, “Those veterans came through big-time for us today (at the plate). They’ve had some pretty hot bats as of late.”

The 4-0 weekend allowed Laramie to win its own tournament. How did they accomplish it?

Ruckman said, “Just staying within themselves. They played great. They played well. You know we really appreciate Dooley Oil for sponsoring us, first and foremost, but they didn’t step out of the zone. They just stayed within themselves. They just kept doing what they do well. We saw a lot of bunts, aggressive running. I sound like a broken record at times, but that’s exactly what it’s been. I mean, when we play well defensively behind our pitchers, we seem to do really well.”

As for the turnaround from and 0-6 start, then 2-10, and most recently 9-16 on the season, Ruckman can’t point to any one thing.

“I just felt like the light bulb went off. Like I’ve been saying the last couple of weeks, they just stopped playing as individuals and started playing as a team. It just clicked. I don’t exactly what it was, but it’s been looking good. Good energy throughout the dugout. They’ve just been playing really well.”

Now the Rangers head on the road for the next week. They have a doubleheader Tuesday at Casper. That’s followed by a trip to Park County. Laramie plays a single, nine-inning game at Powell Thursday before they take part in the Cody Lions Club Wood Bat tournament Friday through Sunday. They will face two Montana teams and Cody again.

The Rangers next home game is July 3 versus Omaha South.

Laramie Rangers, Legion Baseball, Dooley Oil Classic, Champions, 2018
Courtesy: Rangers parent Anne Moore

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