NEW ULM - New Ulm VFW Gold head coach Dave Schoen said prior to his team's game with Mankato in the first round of the Junior Upper Midwest Classic that he wanted his players to come out early and establish some dominance.
They did just that.
New Ulm scored six runs in the bottom of the first and used that as a springboard for an 8-2 win over Mankato Thursday night.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm VFW Gold’s Tyler Dittrich lays down a bunt during his team’s Junior Upper Midwest Classic win against Mankato Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Tanner Kluis got the win for Gold, which is now 11-2 on the season. The right-hander went four innings and scattered four hits while striking out five and allowing no runs. Collin Helget tossed the final three innings, striking out five and allowing two runs - both unearned.
Devin Ries took the loss for Mankato. He allowed all eight runs in six innings.
Judd Davis led New Ulm with three hits - including two doubles - and drove in two runs. Chase Meyer and Grant Kannegiesser each had two hits, with Kannegiesser driving in three runs.
"We came out of the gates swinging," Schoen said. "I told the boys that I wanted them to kick the doors (early) and that is exactly what we did. That is our motto every game that we play - we want to establish that dominance right away."
New Ulm sent 11 men to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. Judd Davis - who had two hits in the inning - doubled to get things started. Davis scored when Brach Kraus' bunt was thrown down the first base line by Ries. Chase Meyer singled before Kannegiesser tripled in two runs. Jackson Yackley followed with an RBI single. Jarin Spence walked before a Tyler Dittrich sacrifice bunt - the first out of the inning - moved both runners up.
An Alex Stark single made it 5-0 before an RBI single by Davis upped the lead to 6-0.
Gold added one run in the second when Meyer led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and then scored on a Kannegiesser single.
"We got that snowball going right away," Schoen said. "We did slow up a little bit."
But the damage had been done, especially with the way Kluis was performing.
The only real threat that Mankato mounted came in the fourth inning when Adrian Anderson and Mark Korteum singled with two outs. But Kluis fanned Tyler Substad to end the threat, which also ended his night on the mound.
"We had Tanner on a 60 pitch count tonight," Schoen said." I told him that I wanted him to come out and set the tone for the tournament. We had him on that pitch count because we plan on playing Sunday (for the championship) and I want him to be able to come back."
Schoen said that he was not worried about the offensive drop-off from his team after the first two innings, with his team managing just two hits after that.
"I think that Ries started to hit his spots more as the game went along," Schoen said. "He stopped leaving pitches over the plate - he was hitting his corners."
Mankato scored two unearned runs off of Helget in the sixth on a Josh Cook double, an error and two groundouts.
Gold added a final run in the sixth when Wyatt Peterson doubled and eventually scored on Davis' second double of the game.
Schoen said that he will send Chase Meyer to the mound when Gold plays against Delano today at 7:30 p.m. at Johnson Park.