Gary Giombetti

Hibbing Daily Tribune

HINCKLEY — The Hibbing amateur baseball came one game away from a state-tournament berth.

Eli Sundquist threw a four-hitter, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but he didn’t get any run support as Mora defeated the Miners 1-0 in an Easter Minny League loser’s-bracket contest Sunday at Brennan Field.

With the loss, Hibbing was eliminated from the tourney.

Sundquist walked nine and struck out five, but Brian Kiel drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring home the only run of the game.

Miners’ co-manager Zakk Bandemer was impressed with the way Sundquist handled himself during the game.

“That was the first time he’s pitched for us all year,” Bandemer said. “That’s the best pitching performance I’ve seen, and most guys on the team would say that. He hadn’t pitched in a month.

“We asked him if he could pitch three or four innings, and he pitched a complete game, taking that no-hitter into the eighth.”

That lack of offense to support that pitching gem, according to Bandemer, was frustrating.

“It’s going to hurt for awhile,” Bandemer said. “We should have won that game. You figure if your pitcher has a no-hitter through eighth and you can’t score, that puts you in a rough spot.

“That’s where we were.”

Derek Graves got the win for Blue Devils. He allowed two hits, struck out 17, walked one and hit two batters.

Graves definltely had the Miners’ number this season.

In a previous meeting, the Blue Devils starter struck out 19.

“I believe we left four runners on in scoring position,” Bandemer said. “We could never get anyone across the plate. The strikeouts, that was two less than the last time we faced him. I guess we improved a little bit, but he’s good.

“I think he’s pitched against us three times this year, and we’ve only scored two runs in 25 innings. Since we’re new to that league, we had never seen him before. It was frustrating all three times we faced him.”

Hibbing got two baserunners on in the first as Jaiman Lamphere walked and Joe Lescarbeau, but they were left stranded on base.

In the third, Lamphere singled with two out, then Lescarbeau reached on an error putting runners and second and third. Graves ended the threat with one of those strikeouts.

From there, Graves only faced 20 batters from the fourth inning on.

Mike Belich was hit-by-pitch in the fourth. Dylan Mattson hit-by-pitch in the fifth, and that was the last baserunner Hibbing had in the game.

Mora had a runner thrown out at the plate in the eighth inning, then in the ninth, Troy Jones led off with a walk.

Hunter Foss laid down a bunt, and the ball was misplayed for an error. Logan Graves bunted for a base hit, setting the stage for Kiel’s bases-loaded walk.

Hibbing 7

North Branch 6

HINCKLEY — The Miners reached the loser’s bracket championship game by rallying from a six-run deficit against the Nighthawks, getting a walk-off single by Mattson in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“It was a big hit,” Bandemer said. “The infield and outfield were both in, so everyone knew the field became a lot bigger. It didn’t matter where they were playing because that ball was crushed.

“He only had to put a ball in play. That was huge.”

Jaime Steinberg got the win, tossing 1.2 innings. He didn’t allow a hit, and he struck out one. Josh Sprague started and

didn’t record an out. He gave up two hits and walked four. Kyle Maki worked 7.1 innings, giving up three hits. He fanned seven and walked four.

Bandemer said that Sundquist’s pitching performance was out of this world, but before that, Maki had one of his better pitching performances of the season.

“It was a crazy weekend,” Bandemer said. “I thought I saw our best pitching Sunday, but that was also the best baseball game I’ve been in. To go down by six, then to put up eight-straight zeros…

“To chip away and get the walk-off, that was one of the biggest wins in Miners’ history.”

North Branch took advantage of Sprague in the first, scoring five runs.

Dillyn Negley, Tony Dahlberg and James Skroch had RBI walks, Dawson Linkert hit an RBI single and Brady Brodin was hit-by-a-pitch to bring home the final run of the inning.

The Nighthawks added one run in the second as Dahlberg hit an RBI triple, scoring Nick Pilz, who walked with one out.

Maki settled in and and only allowed one North Branch runner to reach second base over the next five innings.

He ran into trouble in the eighth by walking Nicholas Johnson and Skroch, but Johnson was picked off of first base by Lamphere. Steinberg entered the game and got the next two hitters to fly out.

The Miners started their comeback in the fifth as Sundquist tripled. He scored when Lamphere grounded out.

In the sixth, Joe Kanipes led off with a single. Kole Zuidmulder singled and Belich walked to load the bases.

Mattson would walk to force home a run. With one out, Maki doubled home two runs. After Sundquist was walked to reload the bases, Lamphere drew a walk to bring home the fourth run of the inning, making it 6-5.

“Everyone knew that we had to put up a crooked number, sooner rather than later,” Bandemer said. “When we got the bases loaded and nobody out, we rolled from there.”

Hibbing tied the game in the eighth when Sundquist walked with one out. He stole second. With two out, Lescarbeau singled him home and it was 6-6, setting the stage for the dramatic ninth inning.

“When Lescarbeau hit that screaming line drive down the line, and we tied it up, everyone knew we were winning that game one way or another,” Bandemer said.

Zuidmulder led off the ninth with a double, then Belich hit deep fly ball to left-center field, which allowed Zuildmulder to tag and go to third.

With a drawn in infield and outfield, Mattson hit a deep single to right field in end the game and keep the Miners’ state-tourney dreams alive.

Matt Robinson started for North Branch, He pitched six innings, allowing six hits, striking out four and walking four. Jackson Leieux tossed one inning, giving up one hit and walking two. Cole Wilcoxen took the loss. He pitched 1.1 innings, allowing three hits, striking out one and walking one.

Sundquist, Kanipes and Zuildmulder all had two hits for Hibbing.

Hibbing 13

East Bethel 2

HINCKLEY — Hibbing used the 10-run rule to beat the Bandits in its first game of the weekend.

Dan Wood got the pitching win. He hurled seven innings, giving up two hits, striking out seven and walking two.

The Miners got one run in the first as Lescarbeau reached on fielder’s choice, then Kanipes doubled him home.

In the third, Hibbing added three runs to make it 4-0.

Maki was hit-by-a-pitch, Sundquist singled and Lamphere singled to load the bases. Lescarbeau had a run-scoring base hit, the ball was misplayed for an error in the outfield, both Sundquist and Lamphere scored.

The Miners added one more run in the fourth on an RBI double by Zack DeBoom.

East Bethel got its two runs in the fifth as Mitch Schakke hit a two-run single.

Hibbing put the game on ice with a seven-run fifth inning.

Kanipes was hit-by-a-pitch. With one out, Belich singled and when his hit was misplayed for an error, Kanipes scored, with Belich reaching second.

Mattson reached an error to put runners on second and third. DeBoom followed with a two-run single. Maki walked to put runners on first and second, then Sundquist walked to load the bases.

Lamphere was hit-by-a-pitch to force home a run. Lescarbeau singled home a run. Kanipes, batting for the second time during the inning, doubled home the final two runs of the inning.

Lamphere ended the scoring with an RBI single in the sixth, scoring Mattson, who doubled.

Kyle Johnson started for the Bandits. He pitched 4.1 innings eight-hit ball, striking out four, walking two and hitting two. Nick Solberg didn’t record an out in his brief mound appearance. He gave up two walks. Steven Jelmberg worked 1.2 innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and hit a batter.

Lamphere, Lescarbeau, Kanipes, Mattson and DeBoom all had two hits for Hibbing.

HM 000 000 000 — 0 2 1

MBD 000 000 001 — 1 4 1

Hibbing: Eli Sundquist (L) and Jaiman Lamphere; Mora: Derek Graves (W) and Darin Erickson.

NB 510 000 000 — 6 5 3

HM 000 014 011 — 7 9 1

North Branch: Matt Robinson, Jackson Leleux (7th), Cole Wilcoxen (L) (8th) and Tony Dahlberg; Hibbing: Josh Sprague, Kyle Maki (1st), Jamie Steinberg (8th) and Lamphere; 2B — Kole Zuidmulder, Eli Sundquist, Kyle Maki; 3B — Dahlberg, Sundquist.

EB 000 020 0 — 2 2 4

HM 103 171 x — 13 12 3

East Bethel: Kyle Johnson (L), Nick Solberg (5th), Steven Jalmberg (5th) and Tyler Rousu; Hibbing: Dan Wood (W) and Lamphere; 2B — Dylan Mattson, Joe Kanipes 2, Zack DeBoom.

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