Coming off a great 2021, the Laramie Rangers embark on a new season this weekend with hopes of attaining higher goals.

The 2022 season starts with four games at Powers Field in Cheyenne.

The Rangers will play the Cheyenne Hawks at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the Cheyenne Sixers at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, Laramie will play the Rock Springs Stallions at 11:30 a.m. and finish their weekend against the Sixers at 2 p.m.

Fourth-year manager Aaron Lozano said beginning a new season in mid-April is always interesting.

“Last year, I think it was 26 degrees at first pitch (in our first game of the season). In this game, it’s looking like it might be in the 50’s (for a temperature). I don’t want to jinx us. It’s exciting to get back out on the field. We feel like we have unfinished business, despite a lot of success last year. These guys are hungry, and I’m excited to see them put that all out on the field.”

Lozano has a lot to look forward to after last year.

The Rangers took second place at the 2021 Wyoming AA American Legion Baseball State Championships that they hosted. It was their best finish since a third-place effort in 2018.

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Laramie returns 13 players off last year’s varsity roster, which includes seven full-time starters. Four other players return that started at different times last season. Two more saw some playing time.

KOWB’s David Settle had a video interview with two of this year’s seniors, Billy Jenkin and Ben Ruckman. They discussed the start of a new season, building off of 2021, the different types of roles they’ll play, the expectations, and more. That’s in the video at the top of this story.

As for Lozano, he’s continued to build Laramie in the right direction. After a 15-40 mark in 2019, Laramie went 27-26 in 2020, before last year’s 41-25 record. The 41 victories were the most since 46 in 2005.

Lozano feels this team has to embrace the fact that 41 wins should be the baseline, not the ceiling. In his video interview with Settle, Lozano explains his approach to the new season, how they take the next step for this program, and what he sees in this year’s squad, including strengths and areas of concern, plus a rigorous schedule, and more.

Lozano is confident in what his team can do.

For the first weekend, the goal is to see if their pitching can control a game, particularly when they haven’t seen a lot of ‘live’ pitching yet. He believes the Rangers can’t get too relaxed. He sees that as this team’s biggest challenge.

“To not let our familiarity with each other allow us to miss the details, you know, the small things, so continuing to work hard, both as a coaching staff and as a group of players, to not let that happen is probably our key.”

Laramie will play in Casper at the end of the month and in a tournament at Rock Springs in mid-May. Their home debut isn’t until May 18, 2022. The first conference games are a week later, on May 25, 2022. The Rangers only play at home on nine total dates this season. That includes the annual Dooley Oil Classic on June 9-12, 2022, at Cowboy Field.

Rangers practice
David Settle, Townsquare Media

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