State Champion Lobos looking to run it back (again)

LANDER – Last year’s Wyoming Senior Babe Ruth State Champions, the Lander Lobos, have had a long offseason awaiting the chance to get back on the diamond and look to defend their title once again. Now, starting this weekend, they will finally get the chance to do so as they take on two teams in two days in scrimmages to prepare themselves for the 2023 season that could see the Lobos reach their fifth-straight championship game. 

The team has lost quite a few pieces from their past few championship runs, but that doesn’t deter anybody from thinking they can’t get to yet another state championship. 

“It is hard to get back, it’s tough and we know that,” Coach Shannon Stephenson said. “These guys are probably going to have to work a little harder because we’re a little younger this year, but if they put it together I think we’ll still be up near the top.”

Coach Stephenson wasn’t the only leader of the team confident in their abilities this year, Head Coach Dave Rees has seen the team go through plenty of players and still find success at the end of the season so he knows what it takes. 

Connor Higginbotham held up three’s after hitting a triple late in the game against Cheyenne. (p/c Carl Cote)

“I hate to sound cocky or arrogant or anything like that but we ain’t scared of anybody,” Coach Rees said at a practice this week. “I think we have a lot of talent. I’m not worried about coaching these kids up … you just got to coach them, make them better and make them better people outside of baseball too.”

Coach Rees’ motto, ‘there’s no such thing as perfection but there’s nothing wrong with striving towards it,’ has been a strong reasoning why the Lobos are always in the final game of the year and he doesn’t think that this year’s team, even with less experience on the starting lineup, will be any different than the past four seasons. 

“They all play their hearts out and they will not let themselves, the team or the coaches down … I know people say this all the time but these guys really are like brothers, more than teammates,” Coach Rees explained. 

The Lobos celebrated the winning run against Casper in the state semi-final game in Lander (p/c Carl Cote)

The Lobos have also been known to get their players onto college teams, as seen this year by players like Keegan Stephenson and Paxton Rees who both found schools in different states that want them to pitch and play for them. This year will be no different with players like Evan Stephenson and Connor Higginbotham looking for colleges and scholarships that can help them extend their baseball careers. 

Both of the Lobos’ scrimmages will take place starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Also, Sunday’s games and all Lander Lobos home games will be available to watch for free on WyoToday’s YouTube page as well as some select away games and tournaments.

By: Shawn O’Brate