HIBBING — The Hibbing VFW baseball team fell behind three times, 1-0, 3-1 and 7-5, but Post 1221 didn’t panic.
Instead, Hibbing held its composure, took some great at bats and in the end, Post 1221 prevailed, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning en route to an 8-7 victory over Proctor Tuesday at Al Nyberg Field.
In game two, Hibbing fell 12-5.
It was an important victory for Hibbing because it was a points game for district play.
“That was a good win for us,” co-manager Tim Zubich said. “It was a district-points game. Anytime you can get those points, it’s good. We’re slowly improving. We’re getting better in some areas.
“I’m glad they were able to get that victory. That’s always good for the kids.”
The Rails did score first when Kehlman Reyelts singled home a run, but Hibbing made its first comeback when Evan Radovich singled home Josh Kivela, who was hit by a pitch, and took second when Isaac Colbaugh walked.
After a scoreless second inning, Proctor took its second lead of the game on an RBI groundout by Reyelts and a run-scoring single by Cole Fugere.
Hibbing starting pitcher Payton Forer kept the Rails off of the board in the fourth, and that’s when Post 1221 made their second comeback of the game.
Ashton Balski and Jude Sundquist hit back-to-back singles to start Hibbing’s half of the fourth. Kivela bunted them over, then Colbaugh doubled to make it 3-3.
“Our at bats in this game weren’t great,” Zubich said. “We were chasing pitches out of the zone, but even though we weren’t having the best approaches and at bats, we were still finding guys on base.
“We finally clutched up and got a few key hits, a sac fly or whatever to score. That’s important. We have to clutch up and score those guys.”
Proctor would score three times in the fifth, with one run scoring on a error, and the other two on a two-run single by Fugere, but Hibbing responded with two runs in its half of the fifth.
Radovich and Logan Gietzen hit back-to-back singles, and they were bunted over a base by Dane Mammenga. Balaski grounded out to bring home a run, then Kivela singled home the second run to make it 6-5.
Nolan McLeod would single home a run in the sixth to make it 7-5, which set the stage for Post 1221’s game-winning rally in the bottom of the seventh.
“I still knew that we had a chance,” Zubich said. “We were starting to have better at bats later in the game. A couple of clutch hits were huge.”
With one out, Sundquist singled, stole second and took third on a passed ball. Kivela hit an RBI groundout, but Hibbing still had to get two runs with two out.
Colbaugh singled, then Forer reached on error, which allowed Colbaugh to score all of the way from first base to tie it 7-7.
Keegan Fink then delivered a walk-off, RBI double to give Hibbing the win.
“That game-winning hit was big,” Zubich said. “We got a little lucky on a flair. Their second baseman and right fielder collided. They went down, and we ended up scoring from first on that one.
“We’ll take a break when we get one.”
Colbaugh finished with two hits, including a double, and two RBI. Radovich had three hits and an RBI. Gietzen had two hits, and Sundquist had two hits.
Forer pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, striking out four and walking five. Colbaugh picked up the win, tossing 1.2 innings. He gave up one hit and struck out one.
In game two, Proctor took an early 3-1 lead, and this time the Rails held on for the win.
“We have to throw strikes, and we have to make plays,” Zubich said. “We have to limit the extra bases that we’re giving. We’re throwing it around a little bit. It’s not hitting a cut or throwing it around a little bit.
“They’re moving up bases and before you know it, another hit scores two. It’s the little things like that that we’re still improving on. We’re getting better.”
Mammenga started the second game for Hibbing, tossing 2.1 innings of seven hit ball. He struck out three and walked one. Sundquist hurled 2.2 innings, allowing three hits, struck out two and walked four.
Sundquist had two hits for Post 1221.