HIBBING — The last time out, the Hibbing Babe Ruth team one baseball team, pitched well and fielded the ball well against Grand Rapids, but offensively, the Hornets’ bats didn’t produce enough runs.
With the season starting to wind down, if this happens to be the last game for the Hibbing first team, then anything goes.
The Hornets No. 1 team will take the field today to take on Hermantown, beginning at 6 p.m., at Al Nyberg Field.
Hibbing No. 1 may have lost to Grand Rapids earlier this week, but Hornets’ coach Adam Schafer was pleased with how they performed.
“We threw strikes, and we picked up the ball,” Schafer said. “Grand Rapids is a good-hitting team. We didn’t boot the ball around, but with that, we have to add some offense. Ty Karnes has had our number this year.
“We haven’t generated much offense. It’s about getting some baserunners and some timely base hits, then we’ll be OK. This team played well defensively the last time out.”
This will only be Hibbing No. 1’s fourth time out this season. The Hornets have played Grand Rapids twice and Ely once.
“It’s been a mix-and-match because of the number of guys. It’s been a combination of the two teams.”
As far as Hermantown goes, Schafer said there should be no preconceived notions of its ability because Hibbing hasn’t played them in two years.
“If we play defensive like we did in Rapids most recently, we should be better,” Schafer said. “I’m looking to winning a ball game. We haven’t won a game all summer, either team.”
According to Schafer, not winning hasn’t been due to a lack of effort, although most of the games haven’t been close.
“We’ve had leads early, then we might end up losing by seven, eight or nine runs,” Schafer said. “If we have a lead, we have to continue to play at the same pace and energy level to maintain that lead.
“We can’t let it get away from us during the second half of the game. It’s keeping our focus. If we play well during the second and third innings, it’s making sure we have that same focus and energy is maintained for seven innings. It’ll take a complete seven innings of focus to come of this one with a win.”
Schafer said Cole Mammenga will get the start on the mound. Will Durie will be called upon, if needed.
“We’ll have two veterans we’ll rely on to get a victory today,” Schafer said. “Against Ely, Cole had good intensity, but as the game wore on, he got frustrated. He was around the plate, but the strike zone was tight.
“He’s a veteran guy, and we need to rely on that for a quality start.”
To get that win, the Hornets must produce offensively.
“That’s been off and on,” Schafer said. “Against Rapids, Karnes had our number. We didn’t generate much against him. Against Ely, we had spurts of two or three innings where it was good, then we went dormant.
“It’s finding that energy and focus of putting quality at bats together.”
A lot of that will be determined by the opposing pitcher.
“If that pitcher is throwing strikes, it’s all about being aggressive early in the count. If that pitcher is struggling, we want to make him work. We have to be selective and not give them free outs. How that pitcher starts will determine what our approach needs to be going forward.”
As Schafer said, this may be Hibbing No. 1’s last game of the season. Hibbing No. 2 will play West Duluth next week.
“It’s no holds barred,” Schafer said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to get a win, if this is our last game.”