L’Anse splits with Gogebic
BESSEMER — The Gogebic Miners split a doubleheader with L’Anse, winning the first game 6-3, but falling to the Purple Hornets, 6-4, in Game Two at Massie Field on Monday afternoon. Both were non-conference games.
Gogebic’s overall record is now an impressive 10-2.
Gogebic 6, L’Anse 3
Gogebic got a masterful pitching performance from Tyler Busch in game one that keyed the Miner win over L’Anse.
In the first inning, Busch was a little off on his control and walked two Purple Hornets batters and Alec Rajala ripped a double into the left-centerfield gap giving L’Anse a 2-0 advantage.
For the next 5 1/3 innings, Busch slammed the door shut on L’Anse. He only gave up one run on three hits before he left in the sixth inning. He punched out 10 Purple Hornets and did not walk any more hitters.
“That’s the best game Tyler’s pitched,” Gogebic coach Leo Ribich said. “It must be when you have 10 strikeouts. Pitching has been our strong suit and our hitting is starting to come together now, but it still could be better.”
The imposing 6-5 Busch agreed with his coach and he said his fastball was humming on Monday.
“I was pitching better than most times out,” said Busch, who threw 103 pitches. “My fastball was working well, so I only threw about three curves. But it’s easy to pitch when you have a good team behind you like we have.”
L’Anse coach Chad Cichosz liked his team’s pitching too, but not much else about the game.
“I’m pleased with our pitching, but I was disappointed with our hitting,” Cichosz said. “Busch threw the ball very well, but you can’t win games if you don’t hit or field the ball.
“Gogebic’s good and they have a solid, all-around defense.”
The Miners got rolling in the third inning when Patrick Hipenbecker hit a line drive down the left field line and Brett Heil’s liner to left plated Hipenbecker and narrowed L’Anse’s lead to 2-1.
In the fourth inning, Gogebic nearly batted around sending eight players to the plate. Busch started the inning with a walk and Cade Mazzon singled him home and then he came around to score on a wild pitch. Joey Rahko reached on an error and he came home when Hipenbecker’s ground ball was booted by L’Anse’s third baseman.
The Miners led 4-2.
Gogebic’s fifth inning started with two strikeouts, but then Mazzon walked and Rahko hit a low liner to left field for a single. Mazzon tried to score from second base and was safe when he knocked the ball out of the catcher’s glove. Matt Monto pinch-ran for Rahko and scored when Hipenbecker was safe on an error by L’Anse’s shortstop.
“It took a while, but now we’ve got a set line-up,” Ribich said. “We get down in games, but we always come back. This team never quits. We’re starting to come together now.”
L’Anse 6, Gogebic 4
L’Anse used a four-run sixth inning to break open a pitcher’s duel and went on to defeat Gogebic, 6-4, in the second game of the doubleheader.
“It was a well-pitched game by both pitchers and a pitching duel most of the way,” assistant coach Alex Metas said. “We just couldn’t get that clutch hit.
“Peyton Solberg was our first pitcher and he went four innings and only gave up one run and two hits and he struck out four. He threw 43 pitches. Their pitcher, Alec Rajala, went the distance giving up four runs and had four K’s with one walk.”
Gogebic was blanked for the first four innings and the Purple Hornets took a 2-0 into the fifth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Busch raked a double, Mazzon grounded out and Rahko singled home Busch. Matt Montie came in to pinch run for Rahko and promptly stole second. The catcher’s throw to second base flew into center field. The center fielder tried to nail Monti going to third and he air-mailed his throw over the third baseman’s head and Monti sprinted home.
The game was tied at 2-2 after five inning.
Brett Heil had come in to pitch in the fifth inning and he gave up four runs in the sixth as L’Anse regained the lead at 6-2.
In their final at-bat, Solberg singled to start the inning. Heil was safe on an error by the center fielder and Anthony Metas reached on an error that brought in Solberg. Mazzon had an RBI single as Heil scored Gogebic’s fourth run. With runners at first and third, Rahko hit a hard shot to the third baseman, who bobbled the ball but scooped it up and fired to first base just before Rahko beat it out.
Gogebic will travel to Ironwood on Wednesday for a 4:30 p.m. game.
Ribich also said one of the team’s goals is to win the Division 4 District 97 Baseball Tournament for the third year in a row.
Metas said Gogebic is confident but not cocky going into the tournament when they play L’Anse in their first game in Ironwood. The game will be on May 31 at 12:30 p.m.
“I think we’re one of the favorites, but Ironwood, Jeffers and L’Anse will be tough to beat, too,” Metas said.