HIBBING — The Hibbing High School baseball team hasn’t put too many complete games together this season, so that was the plan at the start of Mike Bugliosi Wood Bat Classic.
For the most part, the Bluejackets were doing that, but all it took was one inning to ruin everything.
Proctor took advantage of a Hibbing error in the top of the sixth inning, scoring two runs, then the Rails held on for a 6-5 victory over the Bluejackets Friday at Al Nyberg Field in Bennett Park.
It was another disappointing loss for Hibbing, which just can’t seem to get things going in a positive direction.
“Today, we started off with good energy,” Hibbing senior Will Durie said. “That’s something we’ve been struggling with. That helped us rally at the beginning of the game.
“It was situational errors, pitching mistakes and other things that added up and put this one in the other teams’ favor.”
Hibbing started off behind the eight-ball in the top of the first inning, thanks to two walks to Austin Parrott and Zach Gunderson. Parrott was erased off the bases when he was thrown out stealing, but an error put runners on first and second with one out.
A ground out moved those two runners up a base, then a passed ball scored Gunderson to make it 1-0. Ben Hartnell hit an RBI single, then Cole Johnson laced an RBI double to make it 3-0.
“It’s not fun when the other team is putting up runs on you, but that’s when you to go back and realize it’s baseball, anything can happen,” Durie said. ‘It was the first inning, so you still have seven innings in front of you.
“Anything can happen in seven innings.”
That anything happened in the first three innings for Hibbing.
Blace Tomberlin singled to lead off the first, and he stole second. He reached third on a wild pitch, then with two out, Joe Allison walked. Allison then left first on an early break, and as he beat the throw to second, Tomberlin scampered across home plate to make it 3-1.
After a scoreless second, the Bluejackets put together a rally in the third to take a 4-3 lead.
Durie and Noah Vinopal both singled, then Allison was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jonun McGaffey followed with a single to plate Durie, but Vinopal was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning.
Nick Louhi was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, then Codieh Powers hit an RBI fielder’s choice ground ball. Isaac Colbaugh hit an RBI single to give Hibbing the lead.
“That shows that are record might not be that great, but we’re not a bad team when we put things together,” Durie said.
Proctor would tie it in the fourth as Hartnell singled, was sacrificed to second, then he stole third. He scored on a passed ball.
The Bluejackets would retake the lead in the fifth as Louhi reached on an error with one. Powers and Colbaugh both singled to load the bases, then Mitchell Ziemba hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4.
That momentum was taken right away in the Rails sixth as Johnson singled with one outh, then Chris Preston reached on an error, putting runners on first and third.
Preston would break for second early, and when Hibbing didn’t execute the rundown, Johnson scored to tie it.
With two out, Nolan McLeod hit a harmless line drive to second, but the ball was dropped, which allowed Preston to score the go-ahead run.
“We kept our heads up because we knew we still had opportunities,” Durie said. “That bats didn’t come through.”
The Bluejackets had a lead-off single by Durie in the sixth, but the next three hitters would foul out, fly out and strikeout to end that inning.
In the seventh, Louhi reached on an error to give Hibbing some hope, and he was sacrificed to second by Powers.
Proctor relief pitcher Ryan Lear got the next hitter to fly out, then the Rails used a trick play to pick off Hibbing’s baserunner to end the game.
“That was a good opportunity because we got the first guy on,” Durie said. “We were trying to put up two runs to win it. They threw a trick play at us, and sometimes that happens.”
Brody Niskanen started for Hibbing, working 5 ⅔ innings. He gave up five hits, struck out three and walked three. Durie tossed 1 ⅓ innings, striking out two and walking two.
Colbaugh finished with two hits as did Durie.
“We have to keep working hard, trying to come ready to play every day,” Durie said. “Playing baseball is fun.”
Cole Fugere started for Proctor. He worked three innings, giving up five hits, striking out three and walking three. Lear worked four innings. He gave up two three hits. He fanned one and walked one.
Johnson had two hits, including a double. Harnell finished with two hits.
PHS 300 102 0 — 6 5 2
HHS 103 010 0 — 5 8 3
Proctor: Cole Fugere, Ryan Lear (4th) (W) and Austin Parrott; Hibbing: Brody Niskanen (L), Will Durie (6th) and Noah Vinopal; 2B — Zach Gunderson, Cole Johnson.