BESSEMER – The Gogebic Rangers were on the comeback trail Monday night and took the first game of a doubleheader against the Ashland Lakers at Massie Field, but took a thumping by the bigger school in game two. Gogebic won game one 6-5 but fell in the second game 11-1.
Game One – Gogebic 6, Ashland 5
Ashland sophomore pitcher Josh Carlson had the look of a college pitcher early on in the first game. He was throwing an impressive fastball that was humming and mixing in a slow curveball that had movement and a big bite at the end of it.
He whiffed four of the first five Ranger batters he faced and had five strikeouts after two innings. It had the look of a long game for Gogebic’s offense.
Gogebic’s Andrew Peterson started off in just the opposite way. Ashland had four of its first five batters reach base on singles and the Lakers scored twice.
But Peterson knew how to fix his problems.
“My pitchers were high and they were hitting them,” he said. “I brought the ball down and started getting ground balls. My curveball was good and my fastball was right on the corners. I was hitting my spots and overall, I was happy with what I did.”
In the second inning, Gogebic’s Ryan Henning lined a bullet between the third basemen and the leftfield chalk line. Carlson fanned two Rangers, but Pat Libertoski ripped a hard single between the third baseman and the shortstop. Randy Henning was walked and when the Ashland catcher tried to pick him off at first base, the throw bounced away and Ryan Hemming came into score.
Ashland still led 2-1 after two innings, but all of a sudden, Carlson didn’t look quite so tough.
“We saw we could hit this kid,” Gogebic manager Eric Peterson said. “The kids did a good job after a rough two games this weekend. There was a lot of pep and chirping in the dugout. They were having fun.”
Andrew Peterson said starting to hit Carlson was psychological for Gogebic.
“After that first hit, it brought us up and them down,” he said.
Ashland scored twice more in the top of the third, but the Rangers responded with two runs of their own. Nick Cossi walked, Andrew Peterson singled up the middle and Eric Lane walked to load the bases. Brad Peterson’s walk plated Cossi and Andrew Peterson crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
The Rangers tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning. After walks to Hunter Reed and Brad Peterson, Libertoski slammed a long shot into the gap in left-centerfield. The ball rolled under the fence for a ground-rule double and Reed scored. Later in the inning, Kevin Lane doubled in Brad Peterson.
“We were picked up by key hits from a lot of different guys,” Eric Peterson said.
In the decisive sixth inning, Eric Lane walked and stole second and third. Libertoski singled and knocked him as Gogebic went up 6-5.
“The past two games I really struggled and I was batting eighth,” Libertoski said. “On the double, it was perfect. I knew it was going someplace good.”
Libertoski led Gogebic’s hitting attack by going 3-4 with three RBIs.
Andrew Peterson was the winning pitcher, going the distance and giving up five runs (four earned). He gave up 10 hits but didn’t walk a batter and had five strikeouts. He threw only 82 pitches in the game.
Ashland 2 0 2 1 0 0 0 — 5 10 2
Gogebic 0 1 2 0 2 1 x — 6 7 2
Game Two – Ashland 11,
Gogebic 1 (five innings)
Ashland scored five runs in the third inning and four more in the fourth inning as the Lakers opened up a big 11-1 lead and cruised to win in five innings.
“We pitched a lot of new guys because we had pitched guys on Saturday and today,” Eric Peterson said. “So some of our up and coming guys pitched and got some work.”
Ryan Henning and Jordan Cox are freshmen pitchers and didn’t do a bad job on the mound Monday night. Veteran pitcher Pat Libertoski pitched later in the game.
Nick Cossi scored the only Ranger run after he walked and Ryan Hemming singled. He came around to score on a wild pitch.
Ashland had six hits in the game and the Rangers got hits from Hemming, Jordan Cox, Hunter Reed and Eric Lane.
Eric Peterson said he was able to get everyone on the roster into the game and they all got some playing time.
Ashland’s Mason Mountain threw three innings and was the winning pitcher along with having a pretty cool name.
The Rangers have a 3-3 record and will travel to Rockland on Monday for a single game. Game time is 6 p.m. CDT.
Ashland 1 1 5 4 0 — 11 6
Gogebic 1 0 0 0 0 — 1 4