The biggest week of the regular season is ahead for the Laramie Rangers, as they play three conference games before next week’s state tournament.

Laramie (20-24) is coming off a 1-4 mark at the Mike Devereaux Tournament in Casper.

Rangers’ manager Brandon Ruckman wasn’t worried about how things went in the Oil City.

“It was a tough weekend, but weren’t too concerned with the record. We played some of our younger players and saved our veteran pitchers for conference play. We’re gearing up for these next two weeks.”

Laramie opened last Thursday with a 9-6 victory over the host, Casper Oilers. In their second game that day, they were shutout and no-hit by Jackson, 10-0. In pool play on Friday, Laramie lost to Smoky Hill (CO) by a final of 11-8. Their final pool play game was a 12-0 loss to Monarch from Louisville, CO. Sunday was match play, and the Rangers lost to Gering, NE 14-2.

This week features three games in the East Conference of ‘AA’ American Legion Baseball in Wyoming. Laramie plays at Cheyenne Post 6 Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Ruckman said, “I do feel we’re ready for conference. I kind of let some guys rest, even during the last tournament in Casper. There’s really no excuses (for this week). My pitchers are rested up. They’re ready to go. Our bats are coming along, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Albert Steiner will start against Cheyenne Post 6.

Ruckman admitted that strategy does change a little with 9-inning games as starting pitchers will go deeper into games.

“The pitchers need to be on point. They’ve got to pitch strikes and keep the pitch counts down in order to make it as many innings as they can. Then, you need those relievers to step up and take a couple of innings here and there.”

The Rangers are 0-2 against Post 6 this season. Those two losses were the first two games of the season and over two months ago.

Still, Ruckman knows Cheyenne can produce at the plate.

“They can hit. They can hit fastballs very well, so we’ll have to mix in our curveballs; pitch them for strikes; kind of keep them off-balance. We also need to make the defensive plays… You almost have to play flawless against a Cheyenne. They’re that good, and they’ll take advantage of every mistake you make.”

After the game at Power Field in Cheyenne, Laramie goes back on the road Thursday for their second conference tilt at Sheridan at 4 p.m. The final league action is at home to conclude regular season Friday versus Gillette. That game starts at 6 p.m. from Cowboy Field.