NEW ULM - It is an unwritten rule in baseball that when a pitcher has a hitter down 0-2 in the count, his next offering should be nowhere near the strike zone.
On Friday night Delano's Jeremy Maschino tried to sneak an 0-2 fastball past New Ulm VFW Gold's Jarin Spence in the fifth inning. The No. 7 hitter in Gold's line-up made him pay.
Spence drove a Maschino fastball to deep center field for a two-run triple that sparked a three-run inning as Gold topped Delano 12-1 in Junior Upper Midwest Classic action at Johnson Park.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm VFW Gold’s Wyatt Peterson slides safely into second as Delano shortstop Nate Meyers waits for the ball during the Junior Upper Midwest Classic Friday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
The game was stopped after six innings because of the 10-run lead rule.
Chase Meyer got the win for New Ulm, which improved to 12-2 on the season and 2-0 in the JUMC. He went five innings and allowed one run on three hits. He struck out five.
Maschino took the loss for Delano (5-6-1 on the year and 1-1 in the JUMC). He lasted six innings and allowed seven runs.
Jackson Yackley had two hits for New Ulm. Yackley, Meyer and Spence each drove in two runs.
New Ulm VFW Gold held a slim 3-1 lead over Delano going into the top of the fifth thanks to RBI singles from Connor Forbrook and Grant Kannegiesser and a base hit from Yackley.
Gold then got some breaks in the form of three errors in the fifth inning and that ill-advised pitch.
Brach Kraus reached on an error by Delano second baseman James Otto. Kraus then took second on an interference call on first baseman Austin Koehler. A Meyer sacrifice bunt moved Kraus to third and he scored on a throwing error by catcher Nate Meyers.
After two were out, Maschino walked both Yackley and Tanner Kluis before he worked Spence into an 0-2 hole and made a mistake.
"He (Spence) is a big boy to leave a pitch over the plate to," New Ulm coach Dave Schoen said. "He had been struggling the last couple of games, but any time he can square on up like that it gets everyone fired up."
And that it did.
After Spence's two-run triple, New Ulm's offense seemed to get jump-started. Gold followed with a six-run sixth inning and turned a close game into a rout.
"That triple kind of loosened everybody up," commented Schoen. "We were fighting it a little bit - (Maschino) was mixing up his pitches pretty well. We were not comfortable with the strike zone. We did not have comfortable at-bats."
New Ulm did get comfortable in the sixth. Wyatt Peterson led off the inning with a single, stole second and scored on a three-base error by Maschino - one of five errors in the last two innings by Delano, which ended up with seven errors in the game.
Otto replaced Maschino and walked Kraus. Meyer's two-run single upped the lead to 9-1. Yackley's single plated Meyer for a 10-1 lead.
Kluis followed with a hard single off of Otto's leg that forced him to leave the game.
Koehler replaced Otto and plunked Alex Stark to load the bases before Yackley and Kluis scored on the second error of the inning.
"Spence's hit did jump-start us," Schoen said. "And we did put the ball in play, and when you do that good things can happen. Up and down this line-up we are not slow."
New Ulm will play twice today with games against Luverne at 1 p.m. and Fairmont at 7:30 p.m., with both games to be played at Johnson Park.
"These are high school rivalry games, so we will be ready for both of them," Schoen said.