HIBBING — After falling 6-5 to Marble on June 12, the Hibbing amateur baseball team wanted to even the series up in the worst way.
It took some doing, but the Miners got that job done, holding on for a 14-11 win Wednesday at Al Nyberg Field in Bennett Park.
Hibbing had to use five pitchers in the game, but now, the series is tied 1-1.
“It was important, especially at home,” Hibbing manager Jamie Steinberg said. “You want to play well at home. We had a decent crowd, so people were there. We want to make things interesting.
“We want to be competitive. We know that game one in Marble was ours to take. We made a few errors that gave the game away. That was the difference. We know we have the ability, and we put up enough runs to do that.”
Hibbing would take an early 9-2 lead after three innings of play.
In the first, Joe Lescarbeau and Joe Kanipes both had RBI singles, and the third run scored on a Mallards’ error.
Matt Estey had a sacrifice fly for Marble in the second, but the Miners responded with four runs to make it 7-1.
Dylan Mattson and Josh Sprague hit back-to-back singles, then Jeff Korpi sacrificed them up a base.
Eli Sundquist singled home a run, then Chanler Dilday singled home two runs. Lescarbeau hit an RBI double to plate the final run of the inning.
The Mallards scored once in the third thanks in part to a Hibbing error, but once again, the Miners responded with two runs to make it 9-2.
Mattson singled and Sprague walked. They both moved up on a wild pitch, then Sundquist doubled them home.
It seemed like a comfortable lead at the time.
“Our offense was firing on all cylinders the first half of the game,” Steinberg said. “Everybody was contributing, putting the ball in play, putting it in the right spots and having good at bats.
“We were up early, and a lot of the guys were confident. That’s a big boost, especially early in the ball game to have that kind of momentum.”
As it turned out, nine wasn’t going to be enough.
The Mallards would score five runs in the fifth as Nick Shea hit a two-run single followed by a two-run double off the bat of Chad Benham, then Matt Estey added an RBI single to make it 9-7.
Marble would tie it 9-9 with two runs in the sixth as Jeffrey Moore hit a run-scoring single, and the second run scored on a Hibbing error.
Dan Wood started for Hibbing, tossing three innings of two-hit ball. He struck out five and walked two before giving way to Zach DeBoom, who hurled two innings, allowing four hits, striking out two and walking two.
Steinberg had to go to the bullpen yet again, bringing in Kanipes, who only last .1 inning, giving up one hit, walking three and striking out one during that Mallards’ rally. Sprague would eventually enter the game, and he snuffed out the inning, tossing 1.2 innings, striking out two.
“The key to the game was our pitching staff, and who we were going to run out there,” Steinberg said. “We were going to run out a multitude of guys. We have league games coming up, so we weren’t looking to extend our best pitchers out there to win a non-league game.
“Our middle-inning pitchers were the key to getting us through a majority of that game, so we could close it out. They haven’t pitched all year. It was the first time for them getting into a ball game in a pitching situation. I tried to get a couple of innings out of each of them.”
Unfortunately, Steinberg got only a four innings out of three pitchers.
“We had a couple of bad innings there, and they took advantage of it and got back into the game,” Steinberg said. “It was an opportunity to be competitive again, and not take it lightly just because we were up at one point.”
Hibbing’s bats woke up just in time as the MIners scored five runs in the seventh to break the game open.
With one out, DeBoom walked and Mattson reached on an error. Sprague singled home a run, then Korpi reached on an error. Sundquist hit a sacrifice fly, then Dilday walked. Lescarbeau singled home a run, then the final runs scored when Steinberg reached on an error.
Steinberg would come on in relief during the eighth inning, facing just three batters, but the Mallards would nick him for two runs in the ninth as Benham hit a two-run singles, a groundout and a strikeout ended the game.
Steinberg gave up three hits in those two innings of work, striking out one.
Lane Gerber started for the Mallards, tossing 1.1 innings of six-hit ball. He struck out one and walked two. Zeph Resnick worked 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits, striking out six and walking four.
Lescarbeau finished with four hits, and Sundquist and Mattson both had three, with Sundquist getting four RBI. Sprague had two.
Benham had four hits and four RBI, followed by Shea with three and two RBI.
MM 011 052 002 — 11 10 6
HM 342 000 50x — 14 14 4
Marble: Lane Gerber, Zeph Resnick (2nd) (L) and Dyllan Herr; Hibbing: Dan Wood, Zack DeBoom (4th), Joe Kanipes (6th), Josh Sprague (6th) (W), Jamie Steinberg (8th) (S) and Joe Lescarbeau; 2B — Nick Shea, Chad Benham, Lescarbeau, Eli Sundquist.