Ranger baseball remains undefeated

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For the first time in a long time, the Ranger varsity baseball team is a top five team in the state. Tuesday, they matched up against the Northview Wildcats, who were undefeated in conference play. The Rangers came into the day 11-0, and behind great pitching by ace Nate Doolittle, they kept their streak alive. Nate got a lot of help coming in the second inning when the rangers cushioned the lead by putting up five runs. Five was all they would get, and senior Brett Vanwagoner closed it out in the seventh to secure the 5-4 win. Nate looked comfortable all game and credited his teammates for backing him up.

“The key to the win was the big five run second inning,” Nate said. “We had good defense behind me and guys stepped up and made plays at the right time.”

Catching for Nate was fellow junior Jake Heilman. Jake has been consistent all year on both ends and that didn’t change yesterday. He went 2-5 with an RBI and called a great game behind the plate. Jake thought the offense was the real spark plug for the rest of the team.

“Early offense was a fire starter to our defense today,” Jake said. “Then our pitching took over with a big time performance from Nate Doolittle.”

Head Coach Mark Rasmussen thought the bats came in clutch for them and that was the key.

“We had a lot of big two out hits,” Rasmussen said. “Also, Nate Doolittle’s pitching performance was key.”

With the wins stacking up, the target on their back continues to grow as well. Each team is going to give the rangers their best shot, and the pressure could mount. Nate doesn’t believe it will affect their play in the future.

“I don’t think there’s added pressure,” Nate said. “We have the talent and chemistry to stay strong and beat anyone as long as we play our game.”

Jake knows an opportunity like this doesn’t come around too often for FHC baseball, and that they are going to have to stay focused and take it one game at a time.

“People expect us to fade away and fizzle out because FHC baseball hasn’t been at the prime in the last couple years,” Jake said. “It will be so important for us to keep our heads on straight and play everyone individually for us to succeed throughout the rest of the year.”

Rasmussen isn’t worried about the target on their backs and knows they just have to keep things simple to continue their success.

“I don’t feel there is added pressure on us being undefeated,” Rasmussen said. “Our main goal is to get better everyday.”

With a lot of time left in the season, there is a lot of room for error, Rasmussen knows they still have areas to improve on if they want to stay at the top.

“We need to stay more focused,” Rasmussen said. “We need to get a better killer instinct. One of our goals is to win every inning.”

Nate, like Rasmussen, believes the key to maintaining success is very simple.

“We just need to play solid baseball and win every inning,” Nate said. “That’s how you win games.”

The Rangers look to stay undefeated tonight as they take travel to EGR to play the rival pioneers.

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