HIBBING — In three games against Hermantown, the Hibbing High School softball team is 1-2.
The two losses came in Hermantown, while the one win came in Hibbing.
The two teams will meet for a fourth time, this time on a neutral field, when the Bluejackets and Hawks tangle in a Section 7AAA loser’s bracket contest, beginning at 3 p.m. in Grand Rapids.
No. 5 seeded Hibbing lost 5-4 to the Hawks in eight innings in the matchup between No. 4 seeded Hermantown, which sent the Bluejackets into the loser’s bracket.
On Saturday, Hibbing got a 15-5 victory over No. 8 seeded Princeton, then the Bluejackets out-dueled No. 3 seeded Cloquet, winning 2-1 to advance into this portion of the tournament.
“This is a big win for the kids,” Hibbing coach Bryan Terzich said. “It reinforces what we’ve been teaching them since March 29. You have to go out there and play, and do what you do.
“There’s a lot of talent on this team. They could go all of the way. They have the talent to do it, with Aune (Boben) on the mound throwing strikes and doing what she does. The possibilities are endless.”
Hibbing can’t win with Boben alone. The Bluejackets still have to hit the ball and throw the ball to get the job done.
That’s what the Bluejackets did Saturday against the Tigers, winning by the 10-run rule, then, defensively, Hibbing made the plays it needed to make to edge out the Lumberjacks.
“You’re going to come across those games where you score a lot of runs,” Terzich said. “I’ve been telling them all season to let’s get out early, let’s be done with this and don’t give teams a chance.
“Then you get in other games where it’s a dogfight, scratching and clawing for every out, every run. It was good to see.”
Sophomores Monroe Rewertz, Emma Kivela and senior Maddie Rewertz all made plays to keep that Cloquet game a one-run game.
“Being 10th-graders, that was a boost for their confidence in what we do, and what we’ve been preaching,” Terzich said. “Maddie made the play of the game in the bottom of the sixth to get us out of that inning.
“She saw it, took off and that play happened. It’s about the team. That’s what it’s all about.”
Going into this fourth meeting with Hermantown, Terzich said the key is hitting the ball.
“If we can put the ball in play and make them do things, good things will happen,” Terzich said. “That’s been our struggle all season long. We cranked the (pitching) machine up (Monday) to see what they can do.
“We’ll shorten our swings and get the bat on the ball.”
The bottom line is the Bluejackets must step it up another notch at this level of the playoffs, just four games away from a 7AAA title.
“It’ll be interesting,” Terzich said. “This time instead of going to Hermantown, where we lost twice, then beating them in Hibbing, we’re on a neutral site. We’ll see how that goes.”