Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Rangers fall to Pratt after sweep of Woodward

  • It’s been a rollercoaster summer thus far for the Dodge City Senior Ranger legion baseball team, filled with dominating highs and demoralizing lows.

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  • It’s been a rollercoaster summer thus far for the Dodge City Senior Ranger legion baseball team, filled with dominating highs and demoralizing lows. Just when they string together a couple of convincing victories, the bottom falls out from underneath them and brings them right back to square one.
    Their last two series against Woodward, Okla., and Pratt are two prime examples of each.
    On Tuesday, the Rangers were coming off a disappointing performance in North Platte, Neb., going 1-3 during their first tournament of the season. They regrouped and geared up for a good Woodward squad and Dodge City capitalized on pitching gems from Juan Carlos Valleo Duble and Cody Chance to earn the two-game sweep.
    During the opener at Demon Field, Valleo Duble improved to 2-0 by holding Woodward to one run while his offense did just enough to escape with the win. The Rangers put up two in the bottom of the second inning and a combination of walks and errors allowed two more to score during the rest of the game to end up with the 4-1 victory.
    It was another great performance for Duble, who is starting to come into his own on the mound for Dodge. A native of the Dominican Republic, he is entering his junior season at the high school and has established himself as one of the go-to pitchers on the Rangers when they need a big win.
    “I think he’s starting to develop as one of our top two or three pitchers and we’re going to throw him every chance we get,” said head coach Max Taylor. “He’s starting to understand the game a little better and what his role on the team is. He’s a quiet, soft-spoken kid that doesn’t complain and it’s starting to pay dividends for him.”
    Then in the nightcap, Chance one-upped Valleo Duble by throwing a complete game shutout in a dominating 7-0 win. It was a much needed night for the Rangers after their letdown the previous weekend.
    “We were locked in the full 14 innings and I told them that we need to learn to play consistently because baseball is all about consistency,” Taylor said. “If you make the routine plays, continue to play well day in and day out, good things will begin to happen for you. I think they finally understand that.”
    And just as fast as they were confident about their performance against Woodward, the Rangers hit the road to Pratt. A rude awakening awaited them on Wednesday night.
    After an opening game loss, Dodge City looked to just salvage a split of the two-game set. However, an 11-run first inning, fueled by a couple of backbreaking errors evaporated any hopes of a Ranger win. Pratt eventually swept the series by winning the second contest 14-6.
    Page 2 of 2 - It was a frustrating night for Taylor and company, who watched as the team that had put together such a strong effort the previous night, fell flat on their face in 24 hours.
    “The big innings have been the big killer for us all season so far,” Taylor said. “I told the fellas that we need to learn to stop the bleeding when we are struggling, and minimize those innings into four or five runs. We just have to learn to handle the ball and slow the game down when things aren’t going our way. I think it is something that will eventually get fixed.”
    Despite falling behind so quickly during the second game, Taylor said he was proud of the way his ball club kept their chins up and fought back. They did end up cutting six runs off of the lead, but simply ran out of time.
    “I think the kids stayed locked in, they didn’t give up when given something tough,” he said. “It reflects on their attitude. But being consistent is something we need to figure out.”
    Now the boys will collect their thoughts and prepare for the Bob Coffin Memorial tournament at Demon Field this weekend, as the Rangers open up things against Great Bend on Saturday morning. They will then follow that up with a meeting with Hooker, Okla., that afternoon.
    Austin Weiser and Valleo Duble will take the mound for Dodge City, who look to scrap their Jekyll and Hyde persona and challenge for a championship come Sunday.
    “It will all start with the pitchers, if we can control the game from the first pitch, our defense and bats usually follow suit,” Taylor said. “We’re going to go with our two guys that have dealt on the mound and I expect them to do the same this weekend and get us out of our rut.”
    First pitch for the tournament is scheduled at 9 a.m. and the games will be split up between Demon and Cavalier Field. The second game for Dodge City is set for 11 a.m.
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