HIBBING — When the Hibbing VFW baseball team left two runners stranded in scoring position in the first inning, Post 1221 coach Tim Zubich thought that might come back to haunt his team.
As it turned out, that was only a bump in the road as Hibbing would go on to beat Superior 14-8 in action Wednesday at Al Nyberg Field.
Post 1221 was down 1-0 at the time, then they put runners on second and third with no out.
Blues’ pitcher Dylan Ronchi would strikeout two hitters and get the third on a pop out to keep that one-run lead.
Zubich thought that might be a bad omen for his team.
“Always,” Zubich said. “When you get guys there, you hope to clutch up and get them in, whether it’s a productive out or whatever. We have to score runs there. When you leave them standing there, you hope that’s not the way the day is going to go.”
Superior got that run off an RBI double by Andrew Klobuchar, then in the second, Wyatt Johnson had an RBI single, and a second run scored on an error.
Post 1221 needed to respond, especially after going scoreless in the first two innings, and in the third, Zubich’s fears would be put to rest as Hibbing sent 12 hitters to plate, collecting seven hits and scoring six runs.
Josh Kivela started it with a single, then Jude Sundquist reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt by Evan Radovich, Keegan Fink singled home a run. Luke Gietzen hit an
RBI single, then with one out, Liam Bussey tied the game at 3-3 with a run-scoring base hit.
Isaac Colbaugh followed with a single, then Payton Forer walked. Kivela, who was batting for the second time during the inning, singled home the go-ahead run, then
Sundquist hit an RBI single to make it 6-3. One run scored on a wild pitch.
“We chipped away at their lead,” Zubich said. “We started battling back. We got off to a slow start, and that set the tone at the plate. We didn’t clutch up and get the momentum going. That was the spot to take it there, but we didn’t do it.
“Superior was riding some momentum there, playing with the lead, they were aggressive on the bases and clutched up with some hits. As the innings came on, we started to pick it up offensively.”
Post 1221 took a 9-3 lead with a three-run fourth inning.
Fink walked, and he would eventually score on a fielder’s choice ground ball hit by Colbaugh. Forer hit a two-run double to give Hibbing that six-run lead.
The Blues scored once in the fifth, then added two more runs in the sixth on an RBI groundout by George Hansen and a run-scoring single by Ronchi and it was 9-6.
Post 1221 needed to respond and they did in the sixth, sending nine hitters to the plate, scoring five times on four hits.
Dane Mammenga singled with one out, then Brice Warner was hit by a pitch. After a fielder’s choice ground ball, Forer singled home a run, then after a walk to Kivela, Sundquist hit a three-run triple to make it 13-6. Sundquist scored on a wild pitch to give Hibbing an eight-run lead.
“No lead is safe until it’s over,” Zubich said. “You have to keep playing the game. You have to throw strikes. You have to pick the ball up, hit the ball, do the little things right. For the most part, we did that defensively.
“That was encouraging. We gave up a few too many walks, more than we’d like, but that’s the game. It happens.”
Superior would score twice in the seventh, thanks in part to an RBi single by Blake Arnovich and a fielder’s choice RBI ground ball hit by Kell Piggett, but a pop out and ground out ended the game.
Kivela started for Hibbing, tossing two innings, allowing three hits, striking out one and walking three. Colbaugh would get the win, tossing three innings of two-hit ball. He fanned three and walked one. Sundquist worked two innings, giving up three hits, striking out one, but walking five.
“Our pitcher was struggling to find it a little bit, but we tried to let him work through it and battle,” Zubich said. “Mechanically, he was all over the place, but there’s times when he would zone in and throw some strikes, then he would lose it a little bit.
“We wanted him to be able to work through some of that. Overall, defensively, we played well. We put up some runs, but we let them hang around. We had guys in scoring position, and we would go down looking. We didn’t have quality at bats. We swung it well.”
Ronchi worked 2.2 innings, giving up five hits, striking out two and walking three. Jason Samarziya tossed 1.1 innings, giving up five hits and walking three. Bem Monson tossed two innings, allowing four hits, striking out two and walking two.
Sundquist finished with three hits and four RBI; Forer had two hits and three RBI; Gietzen had two hits; and Kivela had two hits.
Klobuchar had two hits for the Blues.
SVFW 120 012 2 — 8 8 3
HVFW 006 305 x — 14 14 3
Superior: Dylan Ronchi (L), Jason Samarziya (3rd), Ben Monson (5th) and Tucker Johnson; Hibbing: Josh Kivela, Isaac Colbaugh (W) (3rd), Jude Sundquist (6th) and Evan Radovich; 2B — Samarziya, Andrew Klobucher, Payton Forer; 3B — Sundquist.