AURORA — Following a hard to swallow, 10-9 loss to Ely from the night before, the Eveleth-Gilbert American Legion baseball team responded with a 15-5 win over hosting Aurora Wednesday night.
Post 150 put up three runs in the top of the first and added one more in the second. They then exploded for five runs in the sixth and six runs in the seventh to go up big late in the contest.
Post 241, however, kept right with Eveleth-Gilbert in the early going, trailing 4-3 after four innings. A bevy of fielding and throwing errors, however, took Aurora out of the game, making way for E-G’s big win.
On the hill, Brandon Lind got the start for Eveleth-Gilbert and handed the ball off to Will Bittmann after three and 1/3 innings. Bittmann pitched the remainder of the fourth as well as the fifth and sixth innings before Carter Flannigan came in to close things out in the seventh.
Aurora went with Hunter Levander as their starter with Cooper Levander getting the final two outs of the seventh inning for Post 241.
Eveleth-Gilbert opened things up with a three-run first inning as Bobby Lind brought home Hunter Pederson with an RBI double to right on the second at-bat of the game.
Later in the inning, Andrew Torrel knocked two home to make it 3-0 after one.
Post 150 added their forth run in the second with Bobby Lind reaching on error with one out. A balk from Hunter Levander sent Lind to second and Zach Lindseth was walked to put runners on one and two.
Kyle Peterson then put the ball in play with Aurora getting the out at second but a throwing error to first allowed Lind to come home and score, making it 4-0 after one and a half.
Aurora got two runs back in the bottom of the third. Hunter Levander singled to start the inning and then stole his way to third with teammate Cole Meyer at the plate. An RBI single that turned into a double thanks to an error brought Levander home for the first Post 241 run of the game.
Meyer quickly stole third with Kalub Corbett at the plate and an RBI sacrifice from Corbett allowed Meyer to score, making it 4-2.
Aurora cut the lead ever so slightly again in the bottom of the fourth after Eveleth-Gilbert made the pitching change to Bittmann. Levander got things going after blasting a hit to center-right for a double that also brought home Easton Soular who reached previously.
That was as close as things would get for Aurora, however, as Eveleth-Gilbert added 11 runs in the final two innings compared to just two for the home team. While the Post 150 bats were hot, the defense from Post 241 made the damage worse with time.
With everything said and done, the scoreboard read 15-5 after a full seven innings.
After the contest, Eveleth-Gilbert head coach Jamie Lindseth said it was a good way for his team to bounce back after their loss the night before to Ely.
“They responded like I needed them to,” Lindseth said. “Our tale of the summer has been to get up early and then flatten out so thankfully they responded today and we didn’t flatten out.
“We had Ely last night but gave it right back to them with seven errors, losing 10-9. They had nine unearned runs on us. But if they play how they’re capable of, they can keep up with anybody.”
For Aurora head coach Dave Hillman, watching his squad get close only to let things get out of hand on errors was not what he wanted to see Wednesday night.
“We had our chances but then we just booted it,” Hillman said. “Too many errors, maybe about seven errors today which really just killed us.”
Despite the errors, Hillman had praise for his starting pitcher on the mound,
“I thought Hunter pitched pretty well for us throughout the game but then they just got timely hits when they needed to and we couldn’t field the ball. So give them credit for getting the ball in play.”
With district playoffs beginning on Friday, both squads hope to be playing their best ball very soon as the two squads are set to play each other in an opening round elimination game.
“I think our guys can play with anybody,” Lindseth said. “Whether they do that, well we gotta play the games. So it depends on how we respond when it matters now on Friday. My hope is that we’re ready.”
“I think the biggest thing for us is just taking things one play at a time and one pitch at a time,” Hillman said. “We have to be aggressive on defense and attack the ball instead of letting the ball play us which I think happened a lot today. One thing is our defense but we have to be aggressive at the plate. I think our pitching and defense can match up with anybody if they’re on but we have to start hitting better and start scoring runs.”
The district playoff play-in game between No. 8 Eveleth-Gilbert and No. 9 Aurora is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Ely’s Memorial Field