NEW ULM - Despite an 8-2 loss to Prior Lake Thursday in the opening game of the 2012 Upper Midwest Classic at Johnson Park, New Ulm Blue head coach Mike Munce found plenty of positives to take over into the next few games this weekend.
Blue finished the game with eight hits and committed only one error. Although they didn't score a lot of runs, they did manage to put the ball in play and had a mini rally going late in the game, leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.
"We had one error on the board and that's pretty good," Munce said. "That's pretty much Prior Lake's starting high school team, we're New Ulm's second team and we're a lot younger than them. We battled the whole game and we couldn't really get much off their pitcher, he kept us off-balance the whole game. Some of these younger hitters struggled with it. I'm happy with the way we played, we're kind of out-matched here the whole weekend, so our goal is to stay in every game here, and we did."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Blue’s Josh Kienlen waits for the ball as Prior Lake’s Will Niska slides into second during the opening game of the Upper Midwest Classic Tournament Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Jake Stadick took the loss for New Ulm. He went the first five innings and allowed 10 hits and eight runs. He walked one and hit a batter.
Zach Fraasch earned the win, going six innings for Prior Lake. He allowed both runs and six hits. He walked one and hit a batter.
Prior Lake wasted no time scoring its first run after Sam Kortes led off with a double and came home on Fraasch's hit. Prior Lake then scored two more runs in top of the second. Jordan Larson's two-run single upped the lead to 3-0, but New Ulm scored in the bottom of the second after Cole Dulas scored on a wild pitch.
Prior Lake managed to get that run back in the top of the third when Nick Vaage singled to score Chris Sticha to make it 4-1. Sticha added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put Prior Lake up 5-1 and Blue scored their final run in the bottom of the fourth after a Luke Cihak RBI to make it 5-2.
Prior Lake added a single run in the fifth and two more in the sixth for the final 8-2 margin. Blue did make it interesting in the bottom of the sixth after Javen Munce led off with a long double off the top of the fence in left. After advancing to third, he was later tagged out at home trying to score when a pitch was thrown in the dirt.
New Ulm then put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh and loaded the bases, but Javen Munce flew out to right for the final out.
Blue (4-11) plays Creighton, Neb., at 1:30 p.m today at Johnson Park and Prior Lake (8-5) plays Sioux Falls West at 4:30 p.m. today in Essig.
Coach Munce is hoping that Blue can start strong after a strong finish on Thursday.
"They brought in a different pitcher and he gave us a different look," coach Munce said. "We put some guys in off the bench and they responded. Hopefully we can keep this rolling."