LARRY LARKIN

Progress Correspondent



Managing a baseball team is like putting together a puzzle. Put the right player at the right position at the right time.

Todd Bingham has done just that this summer with the 16 athletes on his Rogers County Rangers team.

As a result, the local American Legion Majors baseball team has earned a berth in Oklahoma's championship tournament.

Bingham and his Rangers, 30-6 for the season, will be one of eight teams facing off at Enid’s downtown David Allen Memorial Ballpark on Wednesday. Finals of the double-elimination tournament are scheduled for Sunday.

Seeded No. 2, the Rangers will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Mustang, No. 7 with a 15-32 record.

The Oklahoma Outlaws of Midwest City are the top seeded team with a 63-4 record.

The Rangers have won 20 of their last 21 games. The team has a .350 batting average and outscored the opponents 292 runs to 136.

Bingham took time Monday to discuss his players and his coaches.



JEFF BRADSHAW — "He has all those doubles (14) for us and he has played third base far better than I thought he would. He's come up with some big plays. He has started every game."

VINCENT PIRONTI — "Our second baseman. He knows how to play his position and has the softest hands. Has 44 putouts and 53 assists against seven errors."

JOHN (JC) CHAISSON — "If we had a most valuable player, he would be the one. John does it all and has great ability getting on base. Has a .435 average and leads team with 35 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. Does the job at first base or in center field."

JUSTIN EDWARDS — "For his age, he is as good as anybody on the team. He hasn't committed an error playing left and right fields while hitting at .392."

AARON CONGER — "He is one tough catcher and would catch 45 innings in a row if asked. He can also pitch if needed, and may do just that this week."

BLAKE KELLEY — "Blake has stepped up this summer and has done a great job at shortstop. He makes our whole infield strong."

MATT SPARKS — "His pitching has been outstanding while also doing a good job at bat. He is an exciting player no matter where he plays."

CLINT HERRON — "Clint started out slow but got better with each outing. I expect his pitching will be a big part this week."

KYLE STAFFORD — "A player who flies under the radar. Kyle is always ready to go when we call on him. He can eat up a lot of innings on the mound and probably will in tournament play."

JOSH BEAL — "A great pitcher, first baseman, hitter. Josh does it all well no matter where he plays. We can't ask for more from him"

KYLE HEAD — "We were lucky to have him this summer. He will probably be our starting pitcher against Mustang."

CURT SIMPSON — "He has hit a lot better (.449 average, 74 total bases, both team highs) and been a huge surprise for us. He is also a top-notch pitcher and has won some big games for us."

MATT YORK — "No. 1 guy in the bullpen. Matt can come into the game and get us a couple of outs to put the game away."

NATHAN GILSLEIDER — "He doesn't play as many innings as the others, but Nathan is the one who keeps the team together in the dugout. I wish we had more like him."

ZANE WILLIAMS — "Zane has come a long way in hitting this season. He started slow and battled back to be one of our key sluggers. He is now hitting .403 and is tied with Simpson with a team-high five home runs."

STEFFON WILLIAMS — "Like his brother, Steffon started slow and is now swinging the bat. They usually form two-thirds of our outfield. While Zane can also catch, Steffon can pitch if we need him. We may pitch him in the tournament."



Bingham’s coaching staff: "They all are key parts in our team,”



BUDDY CHAISSON — “This is the second year for Buddy to be with me. He has great insights for the game and I respect his opinions very much.

BRAD TALBERT — "Brad works with our catchers between each inning. He's a former Claremore Zebra catcher and knows what he is doing.

JIMMY PITTS — "He's a legend and has been coaching American Legion baseball for 28 years. That's the most seniority in the state.

BOB BLAYLOCK — “I wish I could get into uniform, but he refuses. He is the reason we are hitting at the .350 average. Bob comes out and throws batting practice each game. He has been super."