Hibbing set to battle Hawks to stay alive

HIBBING — Being the No. 8 seed, the Hibbing High School baseball team can play free and loose, almost like playing with free money.

That showed Tuesday when the Bluejackets traveled to No. 1 seeded Chisago Lakes, which had all of the pressure on its shoulders.

Hibbing proved that it can play with the big boys in the section taking the Wildcats into extra innings before falling 2-1.

The Bluejackets will hit the field today in the double-elimination Section 7AAA playoffs, traveling to Hermantown to take on the Hawks, beginning at 7 p.m.

Hibbing coach Jay Wetzel couldn’t have been more proud of his team by the way they handled game one of the tourney.

“They played the way we expected them to play all year,” Wetzel said. “They had the potential to play that way. Peyton (Forer) had a great day on the mound. He gave us a great opportunity to win.

“He threw strikes, and in pressure situations, he made big pitches. Only giving up one run through seven innings, I couldn’t have asked for more out of him.”

Defensively, the Bluejackets picked up their play as well.

“We were solid,” Wetzel said. “We made big plays, but offensively, it’s making sure that when we have the opportunities, we have to make the most of them. In the playoffs, you might only get a couple of decent scoring opportunities.

“We have to make the most of them.”

As far as Hermantown goes, Hibbing has lost two games to the Hawks by the scores of 6-1 and 4-2.

“We’ve had competitive games against them, but we haven’t had any offense against them, so far. The one thing we need to do is get our offense going against them. We’ve only scored three runs in 14 innings.

“We have to get ourselves going offensively.”

With that said, Wetzel said the two things that are more important than that are pitching and defense.

With Forer going the distance in game one, Wetzel now has more options heading into this game.

“It gave us a good opportunity pitching-wise,” Wetzel said. “To get through game one without using anyone else, that should help our confidence factor, especially hanging in there with the No. 1 seed. If we do our part and play our game, we’ll be in any game we need to be in.

“In playoff baseball, a big part of it is hanging in there. Being a low seed, us hanging around, the pressure amps up on the higher seeds. They’re expected to win. We have to play good enough to hang around, then take advantage of any mistakes that are made.”

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