Penokee Range to face Portage Lake in elimination game today
IRONWOOD — After winning their first two Little League District 11 Tournament games at the John Krznarich Field, the Penokee Range All-Stars fell victim to Ishpeming and the 10-run rule in the winner’s bracket semifinal. Ishpeming thumped Penokee Range 15-3 in four innings.
“Our boys just didn’t come out to play today,” Penokee coach Scott Wilson said. “We didn’t have the defense we normally play and we’re a better hitting team than we showed today.”
Ishpeming quickly jumped ahead by scoring two unearned runs off PR starter Austin Vizina in its top-half of the first inning.
But Penokee Range answered back in the bottom of the first inning. Ethan Roehm showed good speed in beating out an infield hit and then Parker Wilson roped a line drive down the leftfield line that cleared the 200 foot sign for a home run. It was Wilson’s third homer of the tournament and tied the game at 2-2.
Ishpeming began hitting the ball in the second inning and PR compounded the problem by making uncharacteristic errors after the hits. Ishpeming had three hits in the inning, but Penokee also had three errors as Ishpeming widened its lead to 6-2.
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Penokee’s Brenden Bock walked and Nick Niemi lofted a soft liner to right field that plated Bock and narrowed the Ishpeming advantage to 6-3.
Unfortunately for the PR All-Stars, that would be the final runs they would score. Ishpeming’s Jake Pepin got stronger as the game went on and Penokee’s hitting dropped off. Pepin only gave up hits to Niemi, Wilson, Roehm, Mason Saubert and Brett Heil. He didn’t walk a batter and notched eight strike-outs.
Ishpeming picked up two runs in the third inning and seven more in the final inning.
Ishpeming’s Nate Beckman was 3 for 4 in the game with a big fly and Ben Pruett was 2 for 2 with a homer.
Saubert and Niemi came in to relieve Vizina in the bottom of the third.
Because the tournament is double elimination, Penokee Range stays alive and will play today against Portage Lake at 5:30 p.m. at the John Krznarich Field.
The winner of today’s game will need to beat undefeated Ishpeming twice to advance beyond the district tournament.