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Grizz struggle with inconsistency

Brief letdowns in close games leading to costly losses

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 5/16/18

FIELD TWP—If they could only take back one inning. That’s been the story of the Grizzlies baseball team much of the season.

“This team has all the tools to be extremely good, but we just …

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Grizz struggle with inconsistency

Brief letdowns in close games leading to costly losses

Posted

FIELD TWP—If they could only take back one inning. That’s been the story of the Grizzlies baseball team much of the season.

“This team has all the tools to be extremely good, but we just can’t seem to get past a certain point in close games,” said North Woods Head Coach Jeff Smerud, whose team’s 7-5 record reflects several one- or two-run losses.

It was the same story Tuesday night as the Grizzlies took a 6-4 lead over International Falls into the bottom of the sixth. Senior pitcher Tate Olson was cruising, having struck out eight Broncos batters.

After retiring the opening batter in the sixth, a Grizzlies error put an I-Falls runner on base. Then a walk put two on base. Then two more errors, followed by a couple hits, and it was off to the races. “When the wheels fall off there’s no stopping it,” said Smerud, who watched in frustration as the Broncos went on to score six in the frame en route to a 11-7 victory on the North Woods field.

The blown inning spoiled a strong effort by Olson, who helped his cause by knocking in two Grizzlies runs on a four-hit evening that included a double and a home run. Jake Hyppa went 2-4.

The sixth inning curse bit the Grizzlies again last Friday against Cherry, as they blew a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning, giving up four runs on two errors, including a dropped fly ball in the outfield with the bases loaded. “It’s the routine plays that are killing us right now,” said Smerud. “We need to get that straightened out soon.”

The Tigers went on to win 6-4.

Isaiah Squires pitched a strong game, despite the loss, holding the Tigers to five hits in seven full innings, while striking out seven. Zach Cheney drove in two runs on two hits, including a double, while Jake Hyppa went 2-4, driving in a run on a double. Squires went 2-4.

The Grizzlies did notch a win on Monday as they exploded for 15 hits to rout Wrenshall 15-6.

Matt Schultz had a huge day at the plate, driving in four runs on four hits, while Jake Hyppa sent two runners home on three hits. Andrew Zika went 3-4 with an RBI, while Zach Cheney added two hits and an RBI for good measure.

Squires was impressive on the mound once again, pitching five innings of shutout ball, while striking out four. Cheney struggled in two innings of relief, giving up six runs on six hits, but it was too little, too late for the Wrens.

The Grizzlies host Northeast Range on Friday and finish out their regular season next week, with home games Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

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