LARRY LARKIN

Progress Correspondent



Fireworks for the Fourth of July came early this year.

The Rogers County Rangers exploded offensively and lit up three different opponents while capturing the championship of the fifth annual Claremore Independence Weekend Baseball Tournament at Legion Field.

The Rangers rocked Yukon, 15-0, Sunday in the championship contest and ended a four-game sweep in which the locals outscored their foes, 38-7.

Yukon twice took the brunt of the Ranger slugging.

The Rangers opened the tournament with a 17-0 rout of Yukon.

In that Friday game, the Rangers pounded out 19 hits. Sunday, they harvested 18 hits. Each game was stopped after five innings.

While improving their season record to 14-5, the Rangers also knocked off Wagoner's Three Rivers, 9-1, and the Tulsa Redhawks, 7-6. In the Redhawk game, Rogers County never trailed. A bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning was the deciding factor.

"There is nothing you can do but to just try and hold them up," Ranger coach Todd Bingham said about the run totals.

It was impossible to slow the scoring when the Rangers were hitting Sunday.

In the fourth inning alone, the first 11 batters reached base and scored. Catcher Zane Williams started the onslaught with a triple and then smashed a grand slam the next time up.

Curt Simpson, the Rangers’ center fielder, hit a three-run homer in the first inning to stake Josh Beal to a quick, 3-0 lead. It was Simpson’s third home run for the year.

As every Ranger scored, it was leadoff batter John Chaisson and Blake Kelley, hitting third, leading the way with three runs each. Chaisson and cleanup hitter Simpson each had four hits.

"We were seeing the ball real good today," Chaisson said. "Today, we came up with some real good hits."

Beal scattered three hits and struck out seven before giving way to Matt Sparks with one out in the fifth.

Beal did not get credit for the pitching win, however. Baseball rules state the starting pitcher must pitch five full innings.

Sparks, back pitching this weekend after being struck in the face with a batted ball on Thursday, ended the contest with a pop up and strike out. That made him the pitcher of record.

The Rangers, who are scheduled to play at Okmulgee at7 p.m. Wednesday, return home for three weekend games.

They open with Wagoner at 7 p.m. Friday.



INDEPENENCE TOURNAMENT



Championship Game

RANGERS 15, YUKON 0

Yukon 000 00 — 0 3 1

Rangers 301 (11)x -- 15 18 1

Brown, Lawson (4) and Lawson, Huffine (4). Beal, Sparks (5) and Z.Williams. W — Sparks. L — Brown.

HR — Rangers, Z.Williams.



Saturday

YUKON 6, WAGONER 5

Wagoner 120 020 0 — 5 9 0

Yukon 000 302 1 — 6 3 2

Picklesimer, Balak (4) and Lawson. Cornell and Nowell. W — Balak. L — Cornell.



Saturday

YUKON 4, Redhawks 2

Tulsa Redhawks 020 000 0 — 2 4 1

Yukon 300 001 x — 4 8 2

Clark and Lawson. Martin and Bigelow



Saturday

RANGERS 7, REDHAWKS 6

Redhawks 001 004 10 — 6 6 2

Rangers 020 040 01 — 7 9 3

Brown, Lawson (4) and Bigelow

Head, Sparks (6), Herron (8) and Williams. W — Herron. L — Lawson.





Saturday

RANGERS 9, WAGONER 1

Rangers 130 05 — 9 7 0

Wagoner 000 01 — 1 1 0

Armstrong and Conger. Caudile and Noel. W — Armstrong. L — Caudile. HR — Rangers, Beal.