MARBLE — Heading into their game with Greenway, Hibbing VFW baseball coach Tim Zubich wanted to see his team pitch and pick up the ball.
He didn’t get either of those two phases of the game.
A total of five Post 1221 pitchers walked seven and hit five batters, and that along with a total of four errors, Hibbing dropped a 13-11 decision to Greenway Friday at Steve Hecimovich Memorial Field.
It was a disappointing day on the diamond for Zubich and his team.
“We didn’t do anything well,” Zubich said. “It was one of those games that snowballed in the wrong direction. It was ugly baseball.”
It didn’t start that way for Hibbing as it scored two runs in the first on an RBI groundout by Logan Gietzen and a run-scoring single off the bat of Nathan Johnson, then in the second, Keegan Fink had an RBI double to give Post 1221 a 3-0 lead.
“We started out OK,” Zubich said. “We had some decent at bats, then the wheels fell off. When you’re pitchers are working slow and throwing a lot of balls, the defense falls asleep.
‘When we needed our defense to step up, they’re out of their groove because they’re standing there for so long waiting for a ball to be hit. It’s hard to play. You could see the fans getting restless.”
Those wheels started coming off in the bottom of the second inning when Greenway sent 12 hitters to the plate, scoring six runs on four hits, two errors, two walks and two hit batters.
Matt Hannah had an RBI walk, Eathen Newman had an RBI groundout, Ezra Carlson had an RBI single and two runs scored on errors.
“The wheels were falling off, and we needed to stop the bleeding,” Zubich said. Somebody needed to step up and make a play. We needed to find a way to throw strikes.
“I don’t know how many pitchers we ran through. We ran several guys out there, but I was trying to save one or two just in case we couldn’t find it. It’ll be better on Tuesday.”
Hibbing would get one run in the third to make it 6-4 when Ayden Smerud hit an RBI groundout, but the bleeding continued in the third inning as Greenway sent nine batters to the plate, scoring four runs on one hit, one Post 1221 error, two walks and two hit batters.
Israel Hartman forced home a run when he was hit-by-a-pitch, Carlson had a run-scoring single, Josh Parantala had an RBI groundout to make it 10-4.
Greenway added three more runs in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Hannah, an RBI single by Hartman and a wild pitch.
Trailing 13-4, Hibbing would get one run in the fifth when Scipioni walked, Conner Perkins was hit-by-a-pitch and Wyatt Collins walked to load the bases.
Scipioni scored on a wild pitch, but Post 1221 would leave runners on second and third with strikeouts and a flyout.
Greenway was on verge of winning by the 10-run rule in the fifth, scoring one run on an error. With the bases, Gietzen, who was Hibbing’s sixth pitcher of the game, got a lineout double play to keep the game going.
Was that the spark Post 1221 needed to get back in the game?
As it turned out, that play ignited a flame in the sixth as Hibbing sent nine batters to the plate, scoring six times to make it 13-11.
Post 1221 only had two hits, but they took advantage of five walks and one error to make it a game.
Josh Kivela had an RBI walk, Fink a run-scoring single, Perkins an RBI walk, Gietzen an RBI single and Nathan Maki knocked home a run when he reached on an error.
“I’d like to say we were resilient, but we were patient and they walked us a whole bunch,” Zubich said. “We also stepped up and put the ball in play a few times, and put pressure on them.
“That was good.”
Post 1221 got their lead-off hitter on in the top of the seventh, but a double play wiped out the rally, and Greenway hung on for the win.
“Greenway always has hitters, and they had some guys that had some good at bats,” Zubich said. “I hope they learned what it takes to put together a complete game. It comes down to pitching and defense, then scratch away some runs.
“If you’re going to give up two touchdowns, it’s tough.”
Nathan Johnson started for Hibbing. He tossed 1 and 1/3 innings of six-hit ball. He walked one. Fink worked 1/3 of an inning, giving up two hits. He walked one. Scipioni hurled 1/3 of an inning, hitting one batter.
Kivela pitched 1/3 of an inning, giving up one hit, striking out one, walking two and hitting two batters; Zack LaMusga tossed two innings, giving up four hits, walking two and hitting two; and Gietzen worked 1 2/3 of an inning, walking two.
Ethan Ambuehl started for Greenway. He worked three innings allowing three hits. He struck out one, walked three and hit two. Eathan Newman worked two innings, allowing two hits, but he walked six, struck out four and hit one. Nate Jurgenson finished up, working two innings. He gave up two hits, struck out two and walked two.
Fink finished with two hits and two RBI. Scipioni had two hits. Gietzen hit a double.
Carlson had three hits for Greenway. Jurgenson finished with two.