The Lobos’ Weekend

Shawn O’Brate

LANDER – The Senior Babe Ruth team, the Lander Lobos, had quite the weekend this past week as they had multiple games and a signing. After Paxton Rees signed with Hesston College in Kansas his team had a doubleheader against the Razor City Rage from Gillette. 

Those two games were happening as the Lander Lobos JV team also played a doubleheader against the Casper Valor. In those two games against Casper did not go the way they hoped, quickly falling behind to the Valor in the first inning and never being able to forge a comeback. 

In the second game the JV Lobos squad would actually lead the Valor heading into the third inning but eventually would give up eight runs in the fifth and a couple more afterwards. Both games would end with an 11–1 score in favor of the Valor, knocking the JV team down to 1–3 on the season.

At home though, in Lander, the varsity team challenged the Rage to a solid battle in the first matchup. The Rage would start off strong, scoring five in the first two innings, whereas the Lobos would finish much stronger. Sadly though, the Lobos did not have enough in the tank at the end and would lose by only one run in a 7–6 fashion. 

Keegan Stephenson pitched for two-thirds of that game and had seven strikeouts through four and a half innings, he also had two hits and an RBI in the game with the RBI coming on a line drive to center. 

The second game went very differently as the Lobos dominated early, batting in six runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to doubles by Lakoda Officer and Keegan Stephenson but it all started with a hard ground ball by Ty Martin. From that moment on the game was firmly in the hands of the Lobos.

By the fourth inning the ten-run mercy rule was coming into effect as Lander went up 13–1 in the bottom of the inning. The Rage would end up taking that personally and finally put bats to ball in a way that scored two runs quickly, making it 13–3. But the final blow would come when the Rage’s catcher, Bernard, hit into the shortstop Stephenson for the third out. 

That ten-run win had a major highlight in the beginning of the second inning when second baseman Luka Kramer knocked a dinger over the center-field fence for his first ever home run in a game. After the game Kramer came and spoke on the WyoToday post-game show,

“People dream about that all the time, your first home run,” Kramer said, “but when it actually happens it’s special, really.”

The entire team surrounded the home plate base and celebrated with the brash enthusiasm that comes with the team’s energy both on and off the diamond, something that Kramer appreciates and has come to adore:

“They really support everyone,” Kramer said about his team, “when we’re up we’re up. I really feel backed up over there by our boys…I wouldn’t have any other guys, they’re truly the best people to play with and they really keep the morale high.”

That team and the morale that they bring to every at-bat and every defensive stop was something that both Kramer and head coach Dave Rees praise for the way this team plays when they get it going.

“When we’re clicking we’re clicking out there,” Kramer said before explaining what leads to such a consistent offensive force, “just focusing on the good and not letting those bad plays get to us cause at the end of the day it’s baseball and stuff’s going to happen…you’re going to make some errors, make some bad plays but it’s the way you bounce back and you learn off those changes that really matters.”

Rees knows that the team is capable of such consistency and related the way they played in the first, somewhat fluctuating, game with the Rage compared to the second, more steady, game.

“Our first game we were just going through the motions,” Coach Rees said to WyoToday’s Travis Gupton after the games, “once they figure out that you gotta stop going through the motions they start clicking as a team, that’s what I saw in the second game.”

And coach also knows that when that confidence is flowing out of the team, much like it was during the second game of the night, the team can’t lose.

“As long as they have that confidence and just that drive that they have I believe in every single one of them when they play,” Rees said, “when we’re clicking we’re pretty much unstoppable.”

The next day the team was supposed to travel to Rock Springs to play against the southern Wyoming team but due to rain in the area the games were canceled and replaced with one extra game against the Gillette Razor City Rage Sunday afternoon.

That game would also go the way of the Lobos, making them 2–1 on the weekend against the Rage. In that third game it would be tied heading into the fifth but a massive seven-run sixth inning by the Lobos would pretty much seal the deal.

With RBIs by Luke Whelan, Evan Stephenson, Ty Martin, Rhett Stover, Kephas Olsson and Keegan Stephenson the inning got out of hand quickly for the Rage who were looking to go back home on a good note. 

This upcoming weekend the Lobos varsity team travels to Green River for a double-header while the JV team stays home to play Casper once again for their own double-header. 

Be sure to stay up to date on the Lander Lobos and other Fremont County baseball teams in the bi-weekly editions of the Ranger and Lander Journal!