HIBBING — The Hibbing Community College baseball is 9-1 in the Northern Division and in second place behind Rainy River, which is 8-0.
The Cardinals are in complete control of their playoff lives, especially if they can take care of business against the Voyageurs.
Hibbing gets that chance today when it travels to International Falls to take on Rainy River in a doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, Rainy River comes to town for a 1 p.m., doubleheader at Al Nyberg Field.
A sweep over the the Voyageurs would clinch a playoff berth, but Cardinal coach Dave Bevacqua isn’t getting that greedy.
At least not yet.
He knows that Rainy River has a quality team, so getting even two victories in the four-game series would be an accomplishment.
Other than the Voyageurs’ record, Bevacqua doesn’t know much about Rainy River.
What he does know is that the Voyageurs can hit the ball.
“We don’t know anything about most of these teams,” Bevacqua said. “When you play a four-game series, by the time you get to the third and fourth games, you get to know them. We played them this fall, but those fall scrimmages don’t show you a whole lot.
“Each team probably lost some players or gained some players over the oourse of the semester break. I don’t know a whole lot about them, other than what I see statistically. They’re scoring runs and swing the bats.”
Fortunately for the Cardinals, they will have their top two pitchers ready to go at some point of the weekend’s four games.
“This has worked out well for us,” Bevacqua said. “We played Saturday, Sunday last week, and we didn’t have a game this week. With a full-week layoff, all of our pitchers will be well rested.
“I’m comfortable with our whole pitching staff, but our starters that we send out there, in our division, we probably have best five starters you can send out there.”
The one thing Hibbing has going for itself is that Rainy River hasn’t faced Itasca, and the Cardinals took three-of-four from the Vikings.
“You go in there hoping to win all four, but we’d be happy winning three-of-four,” Bevacqua said. “If we did that, we’d be in a great position to win this division or at least be second in the division.”
Bevacqua said there’s no one plan to take into the game, but he’s banking on his defense to stand tall against the Voyageurs.
“In our last six games, we’ve only committed five errors,” he said. “We haven’t been walking many guys. If we go in against Rainy River, a team that we know is good offensively, if we limit ourselves to four or five errors and only walk a couple of guys, we have to be confident that we should win those ball games.”