miners

Hibbing Miners pitcher Matt Erickson delivering a pitch to a Minneapolis Angels batter. The Miners play in Ramsey today at 3:30 p.m.

Gary Giombetti

Hibbing Daily Tribune

HIBBING — So far this season, the Hibbing amateur baseball teams has had success against the bottom-half teams in the southern division.

Now, the Miners must repeat that success against some of the top teams in the southern division.

That can start today when Hibbing travels to Ramsey to take on the Renegades in a 3:30 p.m. contest.

The Miners have done alright against Isanti and North Branch, who are the top two teams in the south. Ramsey is right up there with those two teams, so it will be a good test for Hibbing.

“It’s going to be a tough game because they’re one of the top three teams in the south,” Hibbing manager Jamie Steinberg said. “They’re all pretty close with their records, but Isanti runs away with it.

“It’s a southern-division team we could end up playing in the regions, so it’s good to play them now. We can get some experience. It’s a game that can help us get a better seed if we do make the regional tournament.”

A win would be of great importance in another respect.

“If we win this game, we could end up with a split with the southern teams instead of a losing record,” Steinberg said. “It’s an important game from that standpoint.”

Steinberg said he doesn’t know much about Ramsey, but he’s not concerned with what the Renegades may have. He’s more concerned about what his team does.

“I’m worrying about what we need to do to win a ball game,” Steinberg said. “We need to show up and play some defense. Our pitching will be there, Dan Wood, with some relief help.

“All we need to do is pick up the ball, then we have a great chance to win this baseball game.”

The Miners’ defense has been a sticking point all season long.

“We have had the consistency with guys playing in the right positions,” Steinberg said. “We’ve had multiple guys playing different positions to fill spots for the guys who aren’t around. It’s a fill-in role rather than their actual role, which would benefit the team.”

“It’s been rough from that standpoint. We haven’t had a lot of consistency with our guys being in the proper places in a number of our games.”

Steinberg said having a different defense every night is not how a team wants to roll through the season. He used himself as an example.

“I’ve been all over the infield,” he said. “Mentally, that plays a game with you. You’re not used to your normal position. You’re always facing different situations all of the time. You’re not facing situations you’re familiar with.

“It’s a mental drain on the guys who have to play multiple positions to fill in for key spots. I applaud them for their efforts, but the bottom line is, they’re not put in successful spots because they have to be there.”

With that said, Steinberg wants to start a winning streak, especially with playoffs fast approaching.

“We need to finish our last league game with some momentum, some confidence that gives us the impression that we have a good playoff run,” Steinberg said. “We need a win to have a respectable record, especially if we make the regional playoffs.

“A win will tell us we’re able to compete with one of the top-half teams in the south.”

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