NEW ULM - After a 12-0, five-inning win over Anoka earlier in the day Saturday gave New Ulm the Pool "A" championship, New Ulm Legion Gold went back to their seventh inning, nail biting ways in the nightcap.
Erich Prokosch laced a 2-2 pitch from Renner's Nick Stern with the bases loaded into right field to score Tim Kehren from first to lift New Ulm Legion Gold to a 6-5 win over Post 307 Saturday night.
New Ulm Gold will now play on Championship Sunday this morning at 9:30 a.m. at Johnson Park against Roseville, the Pool B champion
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold’s Dan Blackstad slides safely into home as Anoka starting pitcher Clay Anderson catches the ball during Golds’ Upper Midwest Classic win Saturday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Burnsville, the Pool C champions, will play Eastview, the Pool D champions at noon with the winners meeting for the Upper Midwest Classic title at 2:30 p.m. All games are at Johnson Park.
Prokosch's base hit that went into right, capped a New Ulm comeback that saw them overcome a 5-0 Renner lead in the last two innings.
Prokosch also got the pitching win for New Ulm.
"We gave them a couple of runs early," New Ulm coach Bob Weier said. "But it is good for our kids to find out that there are 21 outs in a game and sometimes you need all 21 of them to get that win."
Saturday night, Renner got 20 of them.
Gold trailed Renner 5-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning when they began their comeback.
Kehren drew a one-out walk before Renner starter Alec Brink plunked Zach Hoffmann.
Brink then faced Jason Shaul, who he had retired twice earlier in the game on a comebacker and a fly ball. The third time was the charm for the left-handed hitting Shaul. He drove a 1-0 Brink offering just over the fence in right field to cut the lead to 5-3.
"That was a big at-bat by Jason," Weier said. 'That gave us a little bit of life - that seemed to pump some life into our kids."
Until then, Gold had just two hits off of Brink.
Then in the seventh, New Ulm - as it had in its first two games of the Classic - found a way to win in the bottom of the seventh.
Drew Pfaff and Jory Dove drew back-to-back walks off of Stern. A Jordan Guggisberg sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position.
Kevin Larson followed with a fly ball to center field for what appeared to be the second out. But Renner center fielder Nick Ratzloff and left fielder Danny Rausch collided and the ball dropped, allowing Pfaff to score.
Kehren was intentionally walked to load the bases.
That backfired twice on Renner.
Stern walked Hoffmann to force in pinch-runner Dan Blackstad with the tying run.
Shaul's ground ball forced out Larson at home before Prokosch ended the game four pitches later.
"You really like to see someone different each game," Weier said. "We do not rely on one player all the time."
Thursday it was a Hoffmann home run and Friday it was Kevin Larson.
Saturday it was Erich Prokosch.
"He has struggled early this summer but he seems to be coming around now," Weier said.