Rangers get senior night win

Forest Park's Gage Hasenour (2) is honored before Friday's 7-5 win against Perry Central. Walking with him are mother Tiffany (left) and father Dean (right). Hasenour is the only senior the Rangers have this year, and he caught Friday's regular-season finale against the Commodores. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND - Gage Hasenour has been through adversity in his high school career - from COVID-19 shutting down spring sports during his junior year of 2020 to dealing with some shoulder problems this year.

Nevertheless, he's done his part to get healthy and contribute to Forest Park baseball. The Rangers (15-9) honored Hasenour before Friday's 7-5 senior night win against Perry Central in the team's regular-season finale. 

"We went to many doctors and no one really knew what was going on," Hasenour said. "Once in a while when I would swing, my shoulder would pop, and it hurt really bad. But it kind of limited me from hitting and playing a little bit, but I just got to play when I can and do what I can."

"When Gage shows up to play, he's not a vocal kid, but he's a great leader because he just keeps his down and just outworks everybody - doesn't get down," Rangers coach Jarred Howard said. "And he's fought through adversity with his shoulder, and shows up and goes to therapy just to try to get an opportunity to play. And he's played third, he's pitched and he's played second.

"Tonight - he hasn't caught in two years," Howard continued. "Two years ago, we were going to catch him, but needed him in the field at that time. So, we asked him if he wanted to catch tonight, and he said, 'Sure.' So, he showed up and got blocks before the game and then went out there and caught."

Hasenour caught sophomore Clayton Weisheit for the first six innings of the game, and Weisheit fanned six batters and walked none on his way to getting the win. Weisheit had a couple of 1-2-3 innings in the top of the first and top of the fourth. He allowed five runs, but only two of those runs were earned. A couple of Forest Park errors allowed Perry Central to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the second.

The Rangers also committed four errors in Thursday's 9-1 loss to Castle, but Howard isn't worried about the errors his team makes.

"In baseball, you're going to make some errors every now and then if you're playing hard," he said. "(Freshman Trevor Berg's) error - he was coming in hard for it, went off the end of the mitt - it happens. He's played great for us. (Junior Drew Howard's) been a tremendous shortstop for us this year and made plays for us.

"We missed a sign on a hit-and-run one time, which cost us," Jarred said. "The mental errors are the things we want to eliminate. We're going to make some physical errors every now and then - they're young and they're high school kids, but the mental errors are what we've got to get rid of, and we just got to keep working on it."

The offense worked around the runs the Commodores got in the early innings. Forest Park scored in each of the first four frames on Friday, and the first four runs the Rangers got all came with two outs. The Commodores tied the game once more, 4-4, in the top of the third, but the Rangers responded with two more in the bottom half for a 6-4 lead. They added one more in the bottom of the fourth when Weisheit's RBI sacrifice fly plated freshman Reid Howard, and it was 7-4.

The Commodores pulled closer with a one-out rally that resulted in a run in the top of the sixth. However, Weisheit induced a ball that Drew took for an inning-ending 6-3 double play, and freshman Joel Bueltel held off Perry Central to get the save in the top of the seventh.

Jarred said today's practice would focus a lot on conditioning with how much the pitchers have been used between the varsity and junior varsity levels this week. The Rangers will then come back on Monday and start preparing for Wednesday's Sectional 48 game against host Tell City - a team they lost to, 5-1, April 13. He said, though, that his players learn things every day.

"We went from not being able to get big hits to now we get big hits," he said. "We put the ball in play, and for the most part, we've made plays, our pitching's been good. So, we just got to continue to put the ball in play, and I think we'll be fine."




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