Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Penokee Range girls capture District 11 title

Advance to state tournament; boys host elimination game tonight

IRONWOOD - The nine and ten year-old Penokee Range All-Star softball team split two games in the district tournament at the John Krznarich field over the weekend, but Sunday's victory over Keweenaw in extra innings sent the Rangers to Esserville, Mich. for the Michigan State Softball Championship. Esserville is about 10 miles away from Bay City, Mich. On Friday, July 31, the team will register and on Saturday the games will begin and run through Aug.6.

District 9-10 Year-old Softball All-Star Tournament


After five-and-one-half innings of softball, the Penokee Range All-Stars stood on the brink of elimination from the District Tournament. They trailed 10-9 and had one-at-bat left.

But the Rangers refused to give in and Darian Bender walked to open the bottom of the sixth and then stole second and third base. Tia Lahti singled over second base and the game went into extra innings after Bender tied the game at 10-10.

In the seventh inning, Keweenaw's Laura Giachino punched a base hit to center and scored after two PR errors to regain the lead at 11-10.

Ranger Dez Schuler was safe on an error and stole second base. Kate Borseth stroked a soft liner to right field and Schuler moved to third. Borseth tried to steal second and the throw down was poor with Schuler tying the game at 11-11. Olivia France whistled a hard ground ball that the shortstop couldn't handle and Borseth scored the winning run.

"It was a very exciting game, absolutely," coach Garth Stengard said. "This was as close a match-up as you can get and the score showed it. Both teams played their hearts out and left everything on the field. We were down three times but never gave up. It was Aundrea Stengard's first pitching start and she showed poise, concentration and stayed focused.""

Keweenaw led 8-3 after three-and-one-half innings, before Penokee Range rallied for five runs in their half of the fourth inning as Borseth, France , Bender, Alaya Ruotsala and Aundrea Stengard crossed home plate.

Borseth topped PR's offensive assault with a 3-5 performance and France, Bender, Stengard and Lahti connected on two hits.

Penokee Range won the tournament by winning two of three games from Keweenaw.


Keweenaw used a huge nine-run third inning to come from behind and defeat the Penokee Range All-Stars 9-5 in the age 9-10 Little League District softball tournament on Saturday.

"The girls played well and we just had one bad inning," coach Garth Stengard said. "The rest of the game was solid. We have to shake it off and play like it never happened. This is a fun team and we just have to play loose on Sunday."

Penokee Range got on a roll early on and jumped out to a 4-0 advantage after two innings.

Kate Borseth lined a base hit to right field to start the game and later sprinted home on an errant throw to third base. Darian Bender and Alaya Ruotsala singled and Tia Lahti hit a ground ball over second base to plate Bender.

In the second inning, Aundrea Stengard walked and Kylee Asunto and Olivia France reached base on an infield hits that brought in Stengard. Another infield hit by Bender knocked in Asunto.

But in the third inning, the wheels came off for Penokee Range. Keweenau sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs on seven walks, three errors and only two hits.

Penokee Range never seemed to recover from the stunning inning and scored only once the rest of the game.

Bender led PR's offensive attack by going 3-3 and Lahti was 2-3, while Ruotsala was 2-4 with two runs scored.

Boys win Saturday; fall Sunday

Ironwood - The nine and ten year-old Penokee Range All-Star baseball team won big on Saturday over Keweenau , but a tough loss to Portage Lake on Sunday in the district tournament at the John Krznarich field prevented the Rangers from advancing to Marquette, Mich. on Tuesday. Penokee Range must defeat Keweenau today at 6 p.m. to continue their tournament run. PR carved out a 10-3 victory on Saturday.

District 9-10 Year-old Baseball All-Star Tournament


Sunday's battle was a well-played game, but Portage Lake broke up a pitcher's duel with a 3-run fifth inning and went on to defeat Penokee Range 5-3.

"It was a good game that went back and forth," PR coach Pat Dabb said. "It was a nail-biter and we were frustrated by a few turns in the game. We fought back at the end (two runs in the sixth inning). The pitching was very good on both teams. It was a 1-1, 2-1 game most of the way. We have nothing to hang our heads about. They're a good team, but we're a good team, too."

Portage Lake clung to a 2-1 lead after four innings as Penokee Range pitchers Sean Korpela and Gabe Kivisto kept Portage Lake at bay. But four hits and an error paved the way for a four run rally in the fifth inning and Portage Lake took a five run lead.

In the sixth inning, Penokee's Cody Daab lined a single off the pitcher's hand and Rukus Betlewski rapped a double into left-centerfield gap that scored Dabb. Korpela reached on an error that plated Betlewski to narrow the gap to 5-3.

Kivisto, Dabb, Betlewski, Korpela, Dominic Croci and Matt DiGiorgio all went 1-3 in the game.


Ironwood - The Penokee Range All-Star baseball team used a monster third inning to thump Keweenau 10-4 in the age 9-10 Little League District baseball tournament on Saturday.

It was Penokee Range's first win in the tournament without a loss.

"We had a huge third inning in which we scored seven runs," coach Pat Dabb said. "Everybody hit. We had seven hits in the inning and led 7-1 after three innings. That was the turning point-absolutely. I was proud of how we played. We hit, pitched and did everything the way we wanted."

Penokee Range added one insurance run in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

PR used a unique strategy of using five different pitchers and it worked well for the Rangers. The five pitchers were Cody Dabb, Rukus Betlewski, Sean Korpela, Dominic Croci and Collin Thier.

"All of our pitchers were phenomenal today," Dabb said. "We used five pitchers because of the pitch count limit, so we can use four of the five on Sunday."

Korpela led Penokee Range hitting attack with three hits, while Matthew DiGiorgio and Betlewski chipped in with two hits each.