LARRY LARKIN

Sports Sunday Correspondent



Rogers County Rangers coach Todd Bingham was challenged prior to Friday night's American Legion baseball opener in the Claremore Independence Weekend Tournament at Legion Field.

Because his team had won their last three games in the ninth inning, the head man was told "don't wait so long tonight."

He must have passed the word to his team.

Powered by three-run home runs in each of the first two innings, the Rangers rolled over Yukon, 17-0, in five innings. With a 10-run cushion as a result, they added a seven-run fifth inning rally to close things out.

Yukon was a late-minute addition to the four-team, seven-game tourney. After Boomtown, an Oklahoma City-area team withdrew, Bingham was on the telephone most of Thursday before enlisting Yukon.

Maybe sorry they answered the phone, at least the visitors were able to go bed Friday knowing they would not face the Rangers again the next day.

The Rangers were ahead five runs before taking the field defensively. Due to a pre-game coin toss to determine home team, the locals were officially the "visitors" on the scoreboard.

Batting in the No. 4 slot, Jeff Bradshaw homered for the second straight night. His drive cleared the left field fence and pushed John Chaisson and Justin Edwards around the bases in front of him. The game's first two batters reached base on singles.

Their hits would be the start of 19 Ranger base hits.

Steffen Williams repeated the trick in the second, also hitting his home run to left. Williams' towering blast came with two outs and scored brother Zane Williams and Vincent Pironti. They were on base with a double and single.

For Zane, his two-bagger was one of his four hits in the game. He also walked once.

It was a rout from start to finish. All nine Rangers scored, with Josh Beal and Zane Williams each scoring three runs.

As two Yukon pitchers threw almost 200 pitches in the run-ruled shortened game, the Rangers went through the lineup in the first, second and fifth innings. The Rangers failed to score in the third and fourth innings.

The scoring parade, in a way, overshadowed the performance of Ranger pitcher Curt Simpson.

He struck out eight and walked one while tossing the shutout. He allowed four hits while recording his third victory in as many decisions.

The closest Yukon came to scoring a run was in the second and fourth innings as runners reached third.

A single, a throwing error by Simpson and a wild pitch allowed Kris Pointer, the Yukon starter, to move around to third base in the second. In the fourth, a Matt Weldon double and a single by Pointer put a runner there again.

Each time, Simpson ended the threat by striking out the next two batters.

Rogers County improved its record to 12-5 with the Friday night game.

In the tournament's first game Friday, the Tulsa Redhawks defeated Wagoner-based Three Rivers, 4-1.

Four games were played Saturday. The two teams with the best records during the first two days will play in the championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday.



RANGERS 17, YUKON 0

Rangers 550 07 — 17 19 2

Yukon 000 00 — 0 4 4

Simpson and Conger. Pointer, King (3) and Huffine. W — Simpson (3-0). L — Pointer. HR — Rangers, Bradshaw, S.Williams.