DULUTH — The Eveleth-Gilbert baseball team put up a dominant performance in the first game of the Section 7AA championship, downing Aitkin 13-0 in five innings to force a winner-take-all Game 2.
Starting pitcher Brandon Lind went four innings for the Bears, giving up no runs on four hits to get the win. Carter Mavec pitched the final inning for Eveleth-Gilbert, earning the final 3 outs to close out the win.
The Bears offense was lights out early with E-G plating five runs in the top of the second to get the bats going. Jake Sickel led things off with an infield single before moving to second on a bunt single from Jaden Lang.
The pair each advanced a base on a passed ball and then came home to score on an infield single from Andrew Torrel to make it 2-0. A single from Griffin Dosan and a walk to Tate Uhan then loaded the bases up with no outs for the Bears.
Carter Mavec at the plate, a wild pitch scored one run while another crossed home plate on an infield single. Going all the way around the lineup, the Bears scored run No. 5 on another wild pitch, taking a comfortable 5-0 lead after two innings.
Eveleth-Gilbert added four more to their total in the top of the third. Torrel on first with one out, a single to right from Dosan put runners on the corners. The bases were then loaded up again with a walk to Uhan.
The Gobblers pulled starter Joey Simonson after the walk, replacing him with Zack Ehnstrom. Back at the top of the order, Mavec wasted no time lighting him up, doubling to left to score two, making it 7-0 Golden Bears.
One out later with runners on second and third, Lind singled to center field to score two more, giving E-G a 9-0 lead after three innings.
After a scoreless fourth, the Bears put Game 1 away with four more runs in the fifth inning as Tommy Schlotec led things off with a single to left field.
A single hit to the Aitkin third baseman put Lind on first. After a flyout from Will Bittmann, Sickel brought one runner home with a single down the right field line.
Now 10-0, Lang singled to left to load up the bases. One out later, Ehnstrom issued back-to-back walks, scoring two E-G runs.
The Bears closed out their scoring with a single up the middle from Mavec, scoring one to make it 13-0.
Mavec came in to pitch the bottom of the fifth inning and, through some turbulence, earned all three outs without giving up a run, preserving the shutout.
With a 13-0 win under their belts, the Bears geared up for the winner-take-all Game 2 with Aitkin. That game was not completed by the time this edition went to press.