HIBBING — Coming into their doubleheader with Vermilion, the Hibbing Community College baseball team had already clinched the Northern Division title.
That’s because the Ironmen had beaten the Vikings 10-3 last Sunday to give Itasca its fourth loss in the division, so even if the Cardinals had lost twice to the Vermilion, they would still be division champs.
Hibbing had nothing to play for against the Ironmen, which made it a throw-away game as far as meaning goes, but that word, throw-away, isn’t in Dave Bevacqua’s vocabulary.
The Cardinal mentor always wants his team to compete, and do the little things right no matter who’s on the field.
That’s not the way it worked out as Hibbing gave up 10 walks and committed four errors, which helped Vermilion capture a 10-5 victory Wednesday at Al Nyberg Field.
The second game of the doubleheader was called due to the weather.
Bevacqua didn’t use his regular starting lineup during the game, but even so, he wanted those players to perform up to expectations.
“I wanted to make sure that the guys who didn’t have a whole lot opportunity to play got a chance to play in this ball game,” Bevacqua said. “The guys who have been playing a lot, I wanted to give them a chance to rest.
“That’s important, but that’s not an excuse for not giving a better effort. I don’t care who’s in the lineup, they have to give us more than what they gave us.”
Some of that effort was there in the early going as Hibbing took a 1-0 lead after one complete on a sacrifice fly by Evyn Booth, but the Ironmen came back with three runs in the second.
Vermilion took two walks in that inning, and got RBI base hits by Lucas Adelman and Dawson Linkert. Connor Knettle had a sacrifice fly.
The Ironmen would score two more times in the fourth, with the aid of four more walks, including a bases-loaded walks to Cody Leslie and Kyle Hintz, and it was 5-1.
The Cardinals would come back to tie it in their half of the fourth as Ramon Morales, Simon Fishgold and Damon Wagner hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases.
Joey Fracek hit a sacrifice fly, then a balk brought home a run to make it 5-4. Kennie Rivera then tripled to the right-field corner to bring home the tying the run.
Bevacqua did like the way his team battled back to get the game tied.
“That was good to see,” Bevacqua said. “It as a good spurt there. The center portion of our lineup swung the bat well in that inning. You would hope that that would carry on, but we went out and didn’t perform well defensively.”
That tie didn’t last long.
In the fifth, a hit-by-pitch and a walk set Vermilion up again, but when it looked like Hibbing might get out of the inning, a error on a routine play in the infield allowed the go-ahead run to score.
The Ironmen then added to their lead in the sixth thanks to one more walk, an error and the fact that Hibbing had the chance to turn two double plays during the inning, but the relay throws from second were both dropped while transferring the ball from the glove hand to the throwing hand.
Knettle would hit an RBI single, then Adelman made the Cardinals pay with a two-run double.
“I’m disappointed,” Bevacqua said. “Like I said, it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. They’re all apart of this team, and I expect them to perform when they’re out there. They didn’t. We didn’t execute.”
Knettle was the winning pitcher. He tossed seven innings, allowing six hits, striking out two and walking two.
Juan Garcia started for Hibbing. He tossed three innings, giving up five hits, striking out one and walking four. Carson Dobias only lasted 1/3 of an inning, walking four and giving up one hit. Diego Martinez pitched 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits, walking two.
Knettle and Adelman both had two hits for Vermilion.
Sammy Rivera tripled, and getting the other five hits were Jaiman Lamphere, Morales, Fishgold, Wagner and Kennie Rivera.
VCC 030 214 0 — 10 9 1
HCC 100 400 0 — 5 6 4
Vermilion: Connor Knettle (W) and Caleb Berg; Hibbing: Juan Garcia, Carson Dobias (4th), Diego Martinez (L) (5th) and Jaiman Lamphere; 2B — Lucas Adelman, Kyle Hintz; 3B — Kennie Rivera.
INT’L. FALLS — The Hibbing High School boys golf team totalled a 429 to place sixth at the Bronco Invite held Wednesday.
Virginia won the meet with 323, followed by International Falls at 326. Mesabi East was third at 343, followed by Eveleth-Gilbert at 344, North Woods 375, then the Bluejackets.
Hibbing was led by Mike Andrican with a 93. Nick Horvath had a 107, Payton Taylor 109, Brett Vesel 120 and Sam Gabardi 136.
Bryce Wainio of Virginia, Cody Stanisich of Eveleth-Gilbert, Sam Frazee of North Woods and Nick Tanner of International Falls all shot 76s for medalist honors.
Littlefork-Big Falls 3
LITTLEFORK — Daniel Clusiau and Spencer Engle combined on a seven-hitter as the Spartans beat the Vikings on the road Wednesday.
Clusiau tossed three innings of four-hit ball. He struck out three and walked one. Engle hurled four innings, allowing three hits. He fanned four and walked two.
Jeff Lorenz had two hits and two RBI for Nashwauk-Keewatin. Kole Platt knocked in three runs.
Cam McRoberts started for Littlefork-Big Falls. He pitched 5 1/3 innings of four-hit ball. He struck out 10 and walked five. Owen Erickson finished up with 1 2/3 innings. He gave up two hits.
Erickson had two hits for the Vikings.
NK 201 023 1 — 9 6 0
LBF 200 010 0 — 3 7 3
Nashwauk-Keewatin: Daniel Clusiau (W), Spencer Engel (4th) and Engel, Brent Keranen (4th); Littlefork-Big Falls: Cam McRoberts (L), Owen Roberts (6th) and Dale Erickson; 2B — Dale Erickson.