HIBBING — Tuesday’s elimination game between Eveleth-Gilbert and Esko was a classic pitchers’ duel that kept both teams off the board until the bottom of the eighth inning.
Esko finally broke through in the eighth as they had runners on first and second. A bunt followed and the Golden Bears’ throw to first hit the baserunner, which allowed the Eskomos’ runner to score the winning run and oust E-G from the Section 7AA Tournament, 1-0.
“They played their hearts out,’’ said Bears head coach Jamie Lindseth. “I don’t have any regrets that’s for sure.’’
The Golden Bears put together seven hits on the day, including several hard hit balls. However, Esko was in the right spot or E-G just couldn’t get the balls to drop in.
The Bears even had runners on first and second in at least three innings, but couldn’t bring anyone home.
“We were putting the ball in play. We just couldn’t find the holes, It happens,’’ the coach stated.
“It’s always sad when that season comes to an end,’’ said Lindseth, who will lose three seniors to graduation.
The pitching was outstanding as Zach Lindseth started, went three innings and gave up no hits or runs. Andrew Hakly was next up. He went three innings, fanned two and gave up no runs on four hits. Brandon Lind took to the hill in the seventh and into the eighth, He wound up taking the loss after allowing three hits and one run. None of the game’s pitchers issued a walk, however.
“Those boys threw their hearts out,’’ coach Lindseth said, and the defense was solid behind them. “When a play needed to be made, we made the play.’’ That included two or three diving catches by the Bears, he added.
At the plate, Zach Lindseth and Hakly each went 2-for-3.
Coach Lindseth found it ironic that neither team could score any runs through seven complete innings. He said E-G was in the top five for runs scored in the state, while also being in the top five for runs allowed.
It didn’t help E-G that Esko pitcher James LeGarde and the Eskomos’ defense were both on their games. LeGarde picked up the win after going all eight innings. He allowed six hits and zero runs, while fanning eight.
Esko also collected seven hits in the contest. Josh Bolgrean, LeGarde and Hunter Sunde each had multiple hits, with Bolgrean going 3-for-4.
Eveleth-Gilbert finished its season with a record of 16-4 after reaching the tournament’s final four and being just one game from Thursday’s title game.