AURORA — Following Monday’s contest with the Cherry baseball team, Mesabi East head coach Dave Hillman knew that was a game his team had a good chance at winning.
However some critical errors including a few passed balls from the Giants on defense as well as some baserunning miscues on offense put the Tigers squarely in control as they downed the Giants 4-2 Monday evening.
Starting pitchers Charlie Karish and Nick Peterson both went the distance for their squads with Peterson earning the win, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks. Peterson fanned four along the way.
Karish took the loss for the Giants giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out five.
Cherry got on the board early with two runs in the top of the first inning. One down, Noah Asuma singled to center and then was moved to second after Karish walked Beau Barry.
Jake Koskela came up big for the Tigers with an RBI single to center, scoring Asuma to grab the early lead. On the next at-bat, Barry stole his way to third and then came home on the first passed ball from the Giants, giving Cherry the 2-0 lead going into the home half of the inning.
The Giants responded quickly and cut the deficit in half quickly with Logan Schroeder blasting a double to deep left field, scoring Ty Laugen who reached earlier on a walk. After one, Cherry led 2-1.
Both pitchers looked strong in the second and third and kept the game moving quickly before the Tigers added another two in the fourth to extend their lead. Karish started things off with a walk to Barry, who then made his way all the way to third on the next at-bat with a fielder’s choice.
Mesbai East quickly grabbed out No. 2 but with Kaleb Rhinerson at the plate, another passed ball allowed Barry to come home and score, making it 3-1. With Sam Serna at the plate, Rhinerson moved his way to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a single from Serna to make it 4-1 Tigers after three and a half.
Much like in the first, Mesabi East responded with another run after Cherry scored two. Henry DePew led things off with a hard hit single to the shortstop, beating out the throw to first.
DePew stole his way to second with Laugen at the plate, and then moved to third on a base hit to right field. Laugen then stole his way to second with Logan Schroeder at the plate. However, Laugen was thrown out at second after an ill-timed steal attempt to leave DePew back on third.
Schroeder was walked to put runners on the corners yet again. With Hayden Soular at the plate, Schroeder stole his way to second and the throw from home gave DePew enough time to steal home from third, making it 4-2 Cherry.
That was all the Giants could muster, however, as that score held through the final three innings, giving the win to the Tigers.
Giants head coach Dave Hillman said, overall, it was a good game from his team that’s made great strides defensively over the season, but the small errors that happened on Monday dictated who won and who lost.
“We’ve picked it up defensively over the last three or four games so I like where we’re sitting defensively,” Hillman said. “But we had two or three baserunning errors and two passed balls that led to runs. Those were the difference makers in this game but it’s also something we can work at.”
The Giants have three more home games this week against Greenway, Eveleth-Gilbert and Two Harbors, three Section 7AA teams that the Giants hope to stay competitive with.
“Cherry is a good team and we have three more games this week against teams that are going to be competitive. If we play like we did today overall, I think we can stay competitive but we have to clean up those little mistakes.”
On Karish’s complete game effort, Hillman was pleased with what he saw, especially considering the growth he’s seen over the last few years.
“Two years ago, Charlie wouldn’t be able to pitch so to see where he’s at now shows me how well he’s doing. He went the distance and it was a solid outing from him and it’s nice to have a pitcher like him we can rely on.”
Hillman said the pitching staff as a whole looks to be on the upswing with a few players returning to the lineup beginning today against Greenway.
“We have two players coming back tomorrow. There was a little COVID bug going around but it’ll be nice to have them back and fill in the pitching lineup. We also have Kalub [Corbett] as well who pitched a full game on Friday against Moose Lake with a low pitch count so he’s ready to go this week again.”
Overall, Hillman says the enthusiasm is high within his team as they look to pick up wins this week.
“The guys have already put today away and forgotten about it. They’re looking to tomorrow and they want to get out of school and come right to the field and hit some balls. They know this game could’ve gone a different way and they’re ready to look past that and get better.”
Mesabi East (4-8) will take on Greenway today at 6:30 p.m. following the junior varsity game at 4:30 p.m.