Bears escape FL with late rally

Loss a blow as SEC baseball season turns for home

First baseman Trent Rabel flips the baseball to pitcher Beau Fandel during Monday’s close contest with White Bear Lake. The Bears scored two runs in the final inning to win 2-1. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Clint Riese
Sports Editor

A 2-1 loss Monday night was tough for the Ranger baseball team to swallow and a tough blow to their hopes of defending their Suburban East Conference championship.

White Bear Lake scored twice in the top of the seventh inning in a game in which Forest Lake had plenty of scoring chances.

“I think we had baserunners every inning,” said coach Tal Gravelle. “We’re just not coming up with the timely hits.”

The Rangers broke through for their lone run in the sixth. Beau Fandel led off with a walk and Alek Zentzis followed with a double. A sacrifice fly by Trent Rabel made it 1-0.

White Bear Lake got out of the inning, then answered right back. Matt Hultgren had come in and got the Rangers out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the sixth, but the Bears got to him for his first runs allowed this year in the seventh. A two-strike blooper fell in for a hit to put two runners on with one out. White Bear Lake junior Pat Mulvaney then hit a ball deep to center field that landed just past the reach of CJ Franklin’s dive, scoring both runners.

Scoring chances came early and often for the Rangers. The first inning ended on a double play where Dylan Dresel was called for an illegal slide. Trent Rabel was thrown out at home to end the second. Matt Jellum was stranded after a lead-off single in the third, and Fandel and Rabel each singled in the fourth. Dresel was left in scoring position in the fifth.

Fandel logged five scoreless innings on the mound before turning it over to Hultgren with the bases loaded in the sixth.

The loss dropped the Rangers to 9-5 overall and 8-5 in the SEC. At 11-2, No. 6 Cretin-Derham Hall is three games up with five games to go.

“It’s going to be difficult. We’d pretty much have to run the table or close to it,” Gravelle said. “…Almost every game is a one-run game and every game is a battle, so it comes down to who makes the key plays late in the game to win.”

The Rangers looked to get on track with a game at East Ridge on Wednesday. They are now home for four straight, starting with Mounds View on Friday. Stillwater is on the schedule next Monday and Cretin-Derham Hall next Wednesday.

Rangers 5, Raiders 1

Fandel and Jack Schmidt had three hits apiece and Zentzis reached base four times in a 5-1 win in Hastings last Friday.

Jellum was staked to a 5-0 lead in the second inning and earned the win. He allowed one run on five hits and struck out five over five innings. Hultgren pitched two hitless innings for the save.

Royals 5, Rangers 1

Woodbury put together a great game in all phases to beat the Rangers 5-1 last Wednesday. The visiting Rangers came up with only two hits against Royal starter Steven Singleton. Phil Sauer took the loss, giving up four runs in four innings.

“They really outplayed us in all phases,” Gravelle said.