MARSHALL - Fairmont defeated New Ulm twice Thursday at American Legion Field to complete its path through the loser's bracket to advance to the state baseball tournament.
After losing 3-2 in eight innings, New Ulm fell 8-3 in the second game to end its season.
"When you come here in the driver's seat and go home 0-2 it's a tough day," New Ulm head coach Jay Backer said. "But it was the boys' section championship, so we can take pride in that."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm High School’s Tim Kehren bunts the ball during the first game of the Section 3AA baseball championship Thursday against Fairmont in Marshall.
After five scoreless innings in the first game, Fairmont scored first when Michael Forster hit a sacrifice fly to score Spencer Chirpich.
New Ulm answered in the bottom half of the inning when Connor Stark delivered with a two-out RBI single to score Judd Davis.
Davis went 3-for-3 with a walk in the first game.
Jay Ruen led off the seventh inning with a single for Fairmont and came around to score on a single from Ben Kain to give Fairmont a 2-1 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Kain, batting out of the No. 9 spot, went 2-for-3 in the first game.
Just as they did in the previous inning, the Eagles answered to tie the game in the bottom half of the seventh inning. After fouling off four pitches, Davis drilled a double to score Troy Altmann - who previously stole second base while pinch-running for Tanner Kluis - and send the game into extra innings.
With one out in the eighth inning, Levi Becker doubled for the Cardinals and later scored on a two-out RBI single from Forster.
Chase Meyer singled with two outs in the eighth for New Ulm and advanced to second, but was left there when Dylan Schreckenberg popped out in foul territory to end the game.
Brody Peterson started for New Ulm, allowing one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Meyer took the loss, allowing two runs on five hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Chirpich allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings for the Cardinals.
New Ulm jumped ahead to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game thanks to an unearned run.
The Eagles added two more in the second inning thanks to RBI hits from Peterson and Kluis.
After four perfect innings on the mound, Kluis allowed a lead-off single to Mitch Pfingston, who later scored on a two-out single by Ruen.
Kain led off the sixth inning with a single and Chirpich, Levi Becker, and Pfingston each delivered with RBI hits to give Fairmont its first lead at 4-3. Pfingston came around to score on a New Ulm error to make the score 5-3.
"I thought that with being up 3-0 with Kluis on fire, we were off to a good start," Backer said. "But him running out of gas was something we did not see coming. But that's baseball."
Fairmont added three more runs in the seventh inning to help seal the win and advance to the state tournament.
Kluis took the loss for New Ulm. He allowed five runs - four earned -o n six hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Levi Becker picked up the win for Fairmont in relief. He pitched four scoreless innings.
The loss ends the high school baseball careers of New Ulm's six seniors: Peterson, Schreckenberg, Kehren, Altmann, Matt Bergmann, and Stark.
"Those gentleman battled today, they did not want to see their season end," Backer said. "We have a nice group of underclassmen, but it will be hard to replace these six seniors."