HIBBING — The linescore read 10 runs, 13 hits and seven errors.
Two of those numbers Hibbing High School baseball coach Jay Wetzel liked. The other, not so much, but fortunately, those seven errors didn’t come back to haunt the Bluejackets.
Hibbing survived all of those miscues and came away with a 2-1 record with a 10-9 victory over Proctor at the Mike Bugliosi Wood Bat Classic Saturday at Al Nyberg Field.
Earlier in the day, Hibbing garnered a 6-3 victory over Section 7AAA foe Duluth Denfeld, which was a much cleaner game for the Bluejackets.
Against the Rails, however, those errors almost cost Hibbing the game.
“Most games, when you have seven errors in the field, you will lose,” Wetzel said. “We were fortunate. We obviously had some clutch plays between them to minimize things.
“Seven free bases, you’re in trouble often.”
Especially against a good-hitting club like Proctor, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead after a half inning on RBI base hits by Jake Malec and Matt Morris.
Hibbing got a run back in the first as Travis Carruth singled home Riley Versich, who started the game off with single.
The only problem — the Bluejackets got four hits in the inning and only one run.
The Rails took advantage of two Hibbing errors to plate a run in the third, but a run-scoring single by Andy Mickelson and a two-run single by Versich gave the Bluejackets what would be a short-lived 4-3 lead.
It was short-lived because Proctor got took advantage of another two errors by Hibbing and a two-run single by Malec to grab a 7-4 lead.
Once again, the Bluejackets had to battle back.
“We had to play catch up,” Wetzel said. “We took the 4-3 lead and thought, ‘Here we go.’ Then you give up a four-spot the next inning. That can potentially be deflating.
“We were able to weather that a little bit.
That’s because Hibbing was able to score once in its half of the fourth on an RBI ground out by Trevor Erickson. Again, the Bluejackets left two runners in scoring position.
“We threatened a lot of times before and after that, but it was a matter of keeping with ourselves and trusting ourselves that we can make the plays when we need to,” Wetzel said.
Hibbing got another run back in the fifth with three walks and wild pitch to make it 7-6, but the Rails got an RBI single by John Aase in the sixth to make it 8-6.
That set the stage for a dramatic Bluejacket sixth inning that saw Travis Carruth start a would-be rally with a walk.
Trevor Erickson singled and when the ball was misplayed for an error, Carruth scored and Erickson was standing on third.
Erickson would score on a throwing error on an attempted pick-off attempt, then Jon Boggio reached on an error. With two out, Jaiman Lamphere walked, then Anthony Kanipes hit a bleeder to right field. An attempted diving catch allowed the ball to roll toward the fence.
When everything was said and done, Boggio and Lamphere both scored to give Hibbing a 10-8 lead.
Proctor wasn’t about to go down without a fight as Blake Koski doubled to start the inning, then he took third on a ground out. Lucas Nordquist hit a ground ball to third, but the throw was wild, allowing Koski to score and putting Nordquist on second.
Relief pitcher Kanipes struck out the next two hitters to end the game.
“You kind of got the feeling that it was going to be a wild one today,” Wetzel said. “There were big swings of momentum. Both teams battled, but it was a matter of who was going to make the last mistake.
“It wasn’t a clean or pretty game, but you have to compete, continue to keep your chin up and keep working at it. We were able to do that today.”
Mickelson got the win in relief of Zach DeBoom. He tossed one inning allowing three hits. Kanipes got the save.
Malec got the loss, tossing 1 2/3 innings of relief. He gave up two hits, including the double to Kanipes. He struck out one and walked two.
In the first game, Carruth pitched seven innings of six-hit ball to get the win. He struck out nine.
Kanipes had an RBI double in the first inning; Mickelson and Versich had RBI base hits in a three-run second inning; and Mickelson and Boggio had RBI base hits in the fifth inning.
“For seeding purposes, this might be a big win,” Wetzel said. “We have a computer-seeded section, but if you’re within a certain value of that QRF, head-to-head counts. It’s big in that regard.
“Princeton, which is similar and close to us, we didn’t get the head-to-head. We’ll know within a week if this game mattered or not.”
Even so, it was still a big win.
“It’s good to play against teams in our section, play well and get wins,” Wetzel said. “If you give Travis a lead, the level of comfort for us is important for us.
“We had other opportunities to score, but we didn’t find that clutch hit. We were able to push across a couple of runs in the fifth, which help extend that lead.”
The Hunters did threaten in the seventh, but Carruth was able to shut the door and preserve the win.
“We were in the heart of their order,” Wetzel said. “We got the first two batters out, then they made something happen. You expect the top of their order to get on base, and put pressure on you.
“We hung in there and got the win.”
Minneapolis South 2
ELY — Hunter Ersbo and Devinn Mayry combined on a five-hitter as the Tigers won the high school baseball contest in Ely Saturday.
Devin Mayry had two hits as did Colton Herring and DJ Lind, who also had two RBI. Herring hit a double and Devin Mayry had a triple.
ELY — Kyle Peterson and Herring combined on a seven-hitter as the Tigers beat the Drakes Saturday.
Herring struck out six in his five innings of work.
Devin Mayry had two hits as did Jake Mayry, who had a double and two RBI.
VIRGINIA — The Hermantown High School boys golf team claimed first place in the Virginia Invitational which was held Friday in Virginia.
Hermantown had a team score of 308 to place first. It was followed by International Falls, 312, and Eveleth-Gilbert, 313. Following those teams were Virginia, 315, North Woods, 322, Grand Rapids, 326, Duluth East, 329, Duluth Denfeld, 336, Duluth Marshall, 337, Mesabi East, 345, Dryden, 351, Superior, 354, Barnum, 361, Cloquet, 368, Two Harbors, 375, and Moose Lake-Willow River, 388.
Hibbing had just three golfers compete in the meet. Nic Versich finished with a round of 80 while Parker Osborne shot an 86. Eric Sandborn finished with a round of 92.
Gary Giombetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.