HIBBING — The Hibbing Community College baseball team is coming off a good weekend, having won three-of-four games over Itasca.
Now, the Cardinals have to keep the ball rolling.
Hibbing gets that chance today when they travel to Ely take on Vermilion in a doubleheader, beginning at 3 p.m., at Veterans Memorial Field.
The Ironmen are one of the better teams in the Northern Division, so if the Cardinals want to stake claim to that title, they must assert themselves in these two games.
“It means a combination of things,” Hibbing coach Dave Bevacqua said. “No. 1, we want to keep some of that momentum going. And No. 2, Vermilion is a good team. We played them in the fall, and they swing the bats well.
“For us to go up there, you want to win two, that’s your goal, but it will be a tough task. They are a good offensive team.”
Which means that Hibbing’s pitchers have to be spot on. If they get the ball high in the strike zone, the Ironmen will hit it all the way around the park.
“We have to throw strikes,” Bevacqua said. “The two guys we’re starting, they are our most consistent strike throwers. Hopefully, they follow that pattern they’ve been showing us. Vermilion swings it well.
“They have one player, the Edelman kid, who is one of the better hitters in the conference. He has a lot of power. He beat us last year with some home runs. We have to keep the ball down and away on him, otherwise, he’s going to hurt us. They’re a good offensive team.”
If the Ironmen are going to score runs, that will put some pressure on Hibbing’s offense to keep pace.
“More than anything else, we have to make sure we work the counts, and make their pitchers throw strikes,” Bevacqua said. “We struggled in the series against Itasca getting hits with guys in scoring position.
“We left so many runners on base. We know Vermilion is going to score runs, so we have to match that.”
Bevacqua would like to see his sophomores get more involved with the offense.
“When you watch guys, particularly the sophomores, who had good season as freshmen, struggle, you’re waiting for them to break loose,” Bevacqua said. “We need get that out of them.
“Our veteran players need to give us more offense. They’re certainly capable of doing that.”
The Cardinals won’t see Vermilion again until May 8, so taking two, or at least one, would be a step in the right direction.
“You have to continue to build confidence, especially after taking three-of-four from Itasca,” Bevacqua said. “This team is one of the better teams in the conference. If you can take two up there, that should get you rolling.”