Ironmen land first victory
Two standout pitching performances got the Vermilion Ironmen in the win column last weekAfter 10 straight losses, Vermilion relied on the efforts of Brandon Stahl to end the skid as the Ironmen beat Hibbing 5-1 in the first game of Tuesday’s Northern Division twinbill.The following day, lefty Eric Niebuhr was on the hill and scattered eight hits in a 5-4 VCC victory over Northland.The Ironmen were swept by Mesabi Thursday and wound up splitting both the Hibbing and Northland double-dips to fall to 2-14 for the spring.But the Ironmen, who are trying to cram 22 games into a three-week window, found a few rays of hope as the sun peaked past the clouds and on to local baseball fields.Stahl was dominant against Hibbing, retiring the first 11 batters and taking a shutout into the seventh, when the Cardinals scratched out an unearned run. Stahl finished with a three-hitter with four strikeouts and only two walks.At the plate, Chris Hoth smacked a two-run homer for Vermilion and finished with two hits and two runs scored.Left fielder Rick Krivinchuk added two hits and scored twice for the Ironmen, who had two runs in both the second and third frames and added a single tally in the sixth.The nightcap was a disaster for the Ironmen, as Hibbing won 21-1 in five innings.The Cardinals scored 11 first-inning runs, all with two outs. An error gave Hibbing new life, and the hosts had 12 straight players reach base.Joe Ruttley had three home runs and five runs batted in during the contest, including two round-trippers in the first inning. Mike Rahne also hit one out for the winners.Vermilion was held to four hits, two by Dan Carroll.Joel Reed, a sophomore from Greenway, got the Ironmen’s home debut off to a great start with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first.After Northland rallied to tie the game at four, Andrew Woodard won it for VCC in the bottom of the seventh with a run-scoring hit, his second of the game.Craig Lemmen added three hits for Vermilion and Joel Dostert, the freshman second baseman from Tower-Soudan, chipped in with two hits.Niebuhr went the distance, allowing four runs on eight hits with one strikeout.Northland took the nightcap 7-0, spoiling Reed’s first pitching start of the spring.The Ironmen had six hits, with Lemmen continuing his hot afternoon finishing three-for-three.Vermilion dropped a twinbill with Mesabi Thursday, falling 5-2 and 13-1.