NEW ULM - Thursday night, New Ulm Legion Gold used some heroics in the bottom of the seventh with a walk-off Zach Hoffmann home run to down Lakeville South.
Friday night, Gold again used some heroics in the bottom of the seventh but this time it came via the defense.
Kevin Larson backhanded a Ray Kinsella ground ball destined for left field and his throw to second baseman Tim Kehren forced out Marc Tangeman at second.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold’s Tim Kehren (13) slides safely in to third as Josh Missak (31) of Omaha Gross waits for the ball during Gold’s Upper Midwest Classic win Friday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Gold pitcher Colin Wendinger then coaxed Zach Knicky into a game-ending groundball as New Ulm improved to 2-0 in the Upper Midwest Classic with a tight 4-3 win over Omaha Gross Friday night.
Wendinger got the complete-game win. He allowed six hits and fanned three.
Kinsella took the loss for Gross. He also went the distance and permitted six hits. He struck out five.
Kehren and Hoffmann each had two hits with Hoffmann driving in three runs.
Marc Tangeman and Wade Wees each had two hits for Omaha.
"What a play by (shortstop) Kevin Larson," Gold coach Bob Weier said. "Those are plays that good teams make - and good players make - to help their team out."
And without that play by Larson, Omaha may well have tied the game.
Gold held a precarious 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the bottom of the seventh. After Wendinger set down Ben Peters on strikes, Marc Tangeman beat out an infield single. Kinsella followed with a ground ball to Larson's right. He backhanded the ball in the hole and his throw to Kehren at second just beat Tangeman's slide before Wendinger got the final out on a groundout.
"We talked about that play after the game," Weier said. "Colin probably did not make the play he wanted to the batter before (Tangeman). But someone has to pick each other up. That is the game of baseball. The teams that are able to do that are the teams that win these one run games. And Jory Dove also did that on the last out of the game on the ground ball."
New Ulm took a 2-0 lead with runs in the first and third innings. In the first, it was a sacrifice fly from Hoffmann.
And in the third it was singles from Dan Blackstad and Larson and a Hoffmann groundout.
Gold upped the lead to 4-0 with two runs in the fifth. Blackstad reached on one of five errors by Omaha to start the inning.
Kehren beat out a one out bunt single Hoffmann collected his third RBI of the game with a double to right field. Kehren came home on a Jason Shaul groundout.
But Omaha battled back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an RBI single from Kinsella and a wild pitch.
Gross cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth on a Wees single, a walk to Max Connor and a Cragin Missak base hit.
"Hats off to Colin," Weier said. "He did not have his best curveball tonight -he relied on his two-seam and four-seam fastball. It is nice to be 2-0 right now."