Rangers Welcome Six Teams For The Dooley Oil Classic
Teams from three different states will be on hand for the 12th annual Dooley Oil Classic wood bat baseball tournament Thursday through Sunday at Cowboy Field.
The Laramie Rangers American Legion baseball program will host Dickinson, ND and Spearfish, SD, as well in-state foes in Rock Springs Archie Hay Post 24, Evanston Outlaws, Cheyenne Hawks, and Torrington Tigers.
Rangers’ manager Aaron Lozano says he likes the variety of teams in this year’s tournament field.
“Getting a team from North Dakota’s pretty cool, and they actually reached out to us, and said we heard you have a tournament and we’re trying to do a loop down through Wyoming, so that was really neat to get Dickinson on board.”
The tournament schedule had to be adjusted late Wednesday after Sterling, CO dropped out. Instead of match play on Sunday, the new format features round-robin play, and then the top two will meet for the championship at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Not all teams will face each other.
Laramie (8-20) will play in the primetime game each of the first three days. They take on Dickinson, ND Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Rangers will play Torrington Friday at 7 p.m., and then they face Rock Springs Saturday at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Laramie takes on the Evanston Outlaws at 9 a.m.
Lozano added, “It’s a nice schedule for us as the home team. Making the schedule, we can stretch out a little bit. We’ll have a little bit of pitching, no doubleheaders, and that’ll be nice to see us with a full staff basically every game.”
In preparation for the tournament, Lozano said they’ve done some hitting with the wood bats, but Tuesday focused on “X’s” and “O’s.”
“You think of football when you think X’s and O’s, but talking about when there’s a runner on first, and the coach gives the steal sign, what’s my expectation of the batter, little things like that. Maybe we’ve haven’t talked about them in a while, maybe they’re slipping a little bit, so we just talked a little strategy. We talked about my expectations of things that have gone wrong over the last couple of weeks, a lot of missed signs as an example, so we talked a lot about that stuff.”
Lozano believes there will be some noticeable differences with using the wood bats.
“It definitely plays differently, and I think it’s more of a defensive adjustment in my mind than offensive. They’re going to swing the way they swing, and the ball will go where it goes, but it’s not going to go as far, so our outfielders have to make adjustments on those kinds of things.”
Laramie is the defending champion of the Dooley Oil Classic after sweeping four games in last year’s tournament.