Rally caps: Dean Kangas bounces back to top REL in Game 1
HANCOCK — The tables were turned for REL Inc.-Mohawk Technology. They were the “comeback kids” of the Copper Country Twilight League playoffs against Garnet Garage. On Tuesday night, however, Dean Kangas-State Farm gave them a taste of their own postseason medicine as they pulled off a seventh-inning rally to defeat REL, 7-4, in Game One of the league’s championship series at the Hancock Driving Park.
“Tonight was a big win for us,” said Dean Kangas player-manager Brian Juopperi. “I was a little nervous there but we started hitting at the end, and Luke (Paul) bared down when he needed to. That’s what we needed.”
Dean Kangas put two runs on the board in their first at bat. Juopperi, playing left field, started it off with a walk off of REL’s starter Grant Johnson. He eventually came home on a Scott Pietala base hit. Pietala came in on a Scott Wesa line drive before the inning ended.
REL got a run of their own in the first as Johnson reached second on a double and crossed home on a Sam Kariniemi double single.
The one-run lead for Kangas is were the score would stand until the bottom of the third. Paul struggled to find the plate and issued three walks. Two of them counted for runs.
REL led at that point, 3-2.
In the the fifth, Dean Kangas came back to tie it as their third baseman Jason Koski started things off with a base hit through the left side. Shortstop Brandon Teichman moved him to third base with a double. Koski then scored on a wild pitch from Johnson the event the score at three.
They would take the lead in the sixth inning thanks to a lead-off double off the fence in left field by Juopperi After two walks issued by Paul bases were loaded. Juopperi then came in on a sacrifice fly to deep center off the bat of second baseman Dave Wesa.
In the top of the seventh, they sealed the deal as the put together a three-run frame with hot bats again by Juopperi, Scott Wesa and Dave Wesa. While REL got one more run in their last at bat, it wouldn’t be enough.
“It was a tough loss,” said REL’s player-manager Tyler Loukus. “We didn’t capitalize on opportunities. We left too many men on base and we had too many errors in that last inning and you can’t win game like this. Hopefully we will play better on Thursday.”
Game Two of this championship series is set for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Driving Park.