BESSEMER - The Hancock Post 186 American Legion baseball team won its arms race with the Gogebic Rangers Wednesday, holding their hosts to a single run in a doubleheader sweep, 3-1 and 6-0, in non-league play.
Mike Saari took the ball for game one of the twinbill and made the most of his opportunity, holding the Rangers to a run on four hits.
"I'm probably the seventh starter in the rotation," he said to the Daily Globe of Ironwood. "My older brother, Chris, is a very good pitcher, but he is out with Tommy John surgery. He taught me the knuckle-curve and that was my best pitch today. The knuckle ball dips out of the zone and then tails in like a curve."
Saari struck out nine and walked two.
Hancock posted single runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings. Luke Paul's RBI single drove in Zach Hill to give Hancock the lead in the third, which doubled in the fifth after Kris Turunen's RBI single drove in Tyler LaDuron.
Gogebic picked up a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Hancock got an insurance run in the seventh and Saari stranded two runners in scoring position by striking out the side.
Hill, Paul and LaDuron led Hancock with two wins apiece.
In game two, L'Anse's LaDuron and Travis Tollefson shared in a four-hit shutout, with LaDuron going four innings and Tollefson three. Combined, they struck out six.
"The key to the game was good pitching again. We didn't strike out in the game, but they played very strong defense and when we hit the ball hard, it was right at somebody. We have to get our sticks going again," manager Nels Paul said.
Hancock posted all the runs it needed in a three-run first, then tacked on three over the last two innings for the win.
Hancock (22-5), after a stretch of six wins in five days, is off until Sunday. They return to Mid-Pen League with a Sunday doubleheader at Channing in games that moved to Dickinson County to accomodate the Pastore Memorial Tournament at Hancock Driving Park.