Rangers secure bye with key win

FL baseball beats Chisago, finishes schedule at 12-8

The offense showed up when the Forest Lake baseball team needed it last week. The Rangers pounded out 16 hits in an 8-3 win at Chisago Lakes which secured a first-round bye in the Section 7AAA playoffs.

Forest Lake (12-8) opens the postseason as the third seed with a home game at Schumacher Field at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The winners of the four play-in games held Tuesday were re-seeded before the quarterfinals. If the better seeds all won, the Rangers would host No. 6 seed St. Francis.

The quarterfinals winners will enter a double-elimination bracket to be played out at Forest Lake and Chisago Lakes from Saturday through next Tuesday, if necessary. (See www.forestlaketimes.com for updates.)

Grand Rapids (15-5) earned the section’s top seed. The second seed went to Andover (14-6), while Cambridge-Isanti (13-6) also picked up the bye as the fourth seed.

In Lindstrom on Friday, the Rangers jumped on the Wildcats early. They scored twice in the first inning and led 5-0 after four. Beau Fandel was cruising on the mound before exiting early with arm soreness. He had allowed no hits and struck out five through three innings.

Chisago Lakes greeted Phil Sauer with three runs in the fourth, but he settled in and shut the hosts down from there to earn the win. Sauer allowed two earned runs off three hits in four innings.

Kyle Parker enjoyed a four-hit day at the plate, while Carter Burgoyne and Alek Zentzis each had two hits and two RBI. Zentzis also walked twice. Dylan Dresel went 2-4 and scored twice.

“We hit the ball well, we pitched pretty well – it was a good all-around win,” said coach Tal Gravelle.