EVELETH — With a baseball season compressed into a shorter time frame, Eveleth-Gilbert successfully made adjustments as needed for the 2021 campaign.
The Golden Bears have done the same thing in the playoffs after narrowly losing to Crosby-Ironton 8-7 last week.
No. 5-seeded Eveleth-Gilbert (20-5) has won four straight games since then, including two straight on Tuesday, which earned them a spot in the Section 7AA championship at 5 p.m. tonight at Wade Stadium against No. 2 Aitkin.
Is the key to tonight’s game going to be offense, defense or pitching?
“I think the key is going to be all three areas,’’ head coach Jamie Lindseth said. “We have to throw strikes and make Aitkin earn every base runner.’’
Offensively, “we’re going to have to put the ball in play and put the pressure on their defense.’’
The Gobblers look like a tough customer coming into the championship with a 20-4 record and winners of their last 14 straight. They have not lost in the tournament and outscored their opponents 48-4 in the four games they’ve played.
Lindseth isn’t overly concerned with stats and seedings for their opponents. The Golden Bears were the underdog last Thursday against No. 1 seed Esko and came away with a convincing 10-0 victory.
“Obviously they’re playing good ball as well,’’ the E-G coach said. “This time of the year anything can happen. At this point it really doesn’t matter. You’re only as good as your next game.
“We have two games hopefully and that’s what matters at this point,’’ he added.
With E-G coming through the loser’s bracket, they will need to beat Aitkin twice tonight to win the section title.
Lindseth said his Bears just have to take the games “one at a time. We have to get through that first one’’ and go from there. The boys realize “it’s win or go home.’’
A big key for E-G will be taking care of what they do on the field.
“We are not going to be able to beat ourselves. If we keep our house in order, I think we’re going to be just fine.’’
That proved true throughout the season as he said there was “really a couple of games we gave away.’’ The Bears learned from those games, adjusted and came back better, he added.
That was true after falling to C-I and then getting behind against Pine City Tuesday.
“They could have been just happy to be there,’’ but rallied in both games and for the win against the Dragons. “That resilience will serve them well.’’
Lindseth knows his team will give up hits and have things happen, but the key will be how the move past them and move on. “They’ve been real good at that in the last two weeks.’’
Another big factor going for the Golden Bears is they have the attitude of “we’re not done yet,’’ Lindseth. “They want to take it to the next step.’’
The E-G coach expects to see a big crowd at Wade Stadium, which is the perfect place for the Section 7AA title game.
“It’s great to be still playing at this time of year.’’