Rangers Finish as Runner-Up in Firecracker Tournament
The Laramie Rangers enjoyed a big weekend with a second-place finish at the 2020 Post 6 Firecracker Tournament in Cheyenne over the holiday weekend.
Laramie (23-12) went 6-1 in the tournament and lost to the defending American Legion World Series Champions in the championship game on Sunday.
The Rangers were undefeated in pool play with a 5-0 mark. They beat Cheyenne Post Six for the first time since 2017 with a 6-4 win in Sunday’s semifinal. Laramie fell in the championship game of the tournament to the Idaho Falls (ID) Bandits, 11-3.
Rangers’ manager Aaron Lozano said two things stood out about his team’s performance over the weekend.
“One, we played great defense. We made routine plays. We really minimized our errors, more so than we have all season long. Other than that, they’re a gritty team. They played together. They played for each other, and guys did things that they’ve yet to be asked to do this year, and they did it without question and without complaint. That was nice to see. It was just a good team weekend.”
Laramie rolled through pool play. They defeated the NoCo Roughnecks Silver team, 11-1, last Thursday. A five-run first inning propelled the Rangers to the victory. Garrett Dodd had two hits and five RBI’s. Ryan Chamberlain got the win on the mound.
On Friday, Laramie won twice. They posted a 13-1 victory over Pro Swing from Colorado. The Rangers scored nine runs in the first two innings. Chamberlain and Calvin Webb had two hits and two RBI’s apiece. Tyler Oppie was the winning pitcher. In their second game, Laramie defeated the Cheyenne Hawks, 9-0. Brandon Chavez, Garrett Dodd, and Ben Ruckman combined on a two-hit shutout. Webb led the offense with two hits and drove in two runs.
Saturday saw another two wins. The Rangers shut out Jefferson Academy, 6-0, behind the pitching of Dodd. He went 6.2 innings and allowed only three hits with three strikeouts. Darek Squires had a two-run double in the seventh inning that sealed the victory. In their second game, Laramie defeated the Casper Oilers, 9-5. The Rangers scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings to break the game open. Oppie and Caleb Eaton had three hits apiece, while Eaton drove in a pair. Eaton also got the win on the mound.
Lozano added to go undefeated in pool play, “I think that was pretty huge because you get that No. 1 seed. You go into that semifinal game against Post 6 and get to be the home team in Cheyenne, and that’s pretty big there.”
He also thought getting to play all weekend at Pioneer Park helped them know that field better.
Sunday in the semifinal, Laramie topped Cheyenne Post Six for the first time in over three years. An RBI-base hit by Dodd tied the game in the fifth, while a second run scored on a fielding error on the same play. The Rangers added an insurance run in the sixth. Ruckman led the offense with three hits and an RBI. Webb had a two-run double. Chavez got the win in relief.
In the championship, Laramie matched up against the Idaho Falls Bandits. The Rangers lost 11-3 in the tournament title game. A five-run third inning proved to be a difference. Laramie was held to four hits and had three errors on defense. Eaton led the offensive charge with two hits and an RBI. Oppie took the loss for Laramie.
“They are (Idaho Falls) a great team and a great program,” said Lozano. “Just to step on the field with them was pretty cool. To our guys’ credit, they went into that planning to win that game, too. They were really feeling confident and good about the way they’d been playing baseball. The defending national champions, you know, it wasn’t a close game necessarily, but we also went the full seven innings, so a good showing, for sure.”
Laramie returns to the diamond on Wednesday with their first conference doubleheader at home. The Rangers will play the Gillette Roughriders starting at 3 p.m. Both games will be available on KOWB (1290) and the KOWB app.