NEW ULM- Sleepy Eye scored seven runs in the top half of the first inning and never looked back in its 10-7 win over New Ulm VFW Gold Wednesday at Mueller Park.
Brandon Helget led off the game with a ground-rule double and came around to score on a single by Lucas Heiderscheidt. John Mangen, Sam Hirschboeck, and Carter Krzmarzick all added singles to set up a two-run triple from the No. 9 hitter-and pitcher-Mike Hirsch. Hirsch came around to score the seventh run of the inning on Helget's second hit of the inning.
"When you are playing such a good team like New Ulm, getting seven early runs might be a blessing and a curse," Sleepy Eye head coach Dusty Mangen said. "But today we kept putting the pressure on."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm VFW Gold shortstop Judd Davis makes a catch during Gold’s loss to Sleepy Eye Wednesday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
New Ulm's bats were silent until the third inning when Judd Davis drew a one-out walk, stole second, and scored on a single from Brach Kraus. Jackson Yackley, Collin Helget, and Wyatt Peterson all beat out two-out RBI infield singles in the inning and New Ulm was able to cut the lead down to 7-5.
"I told the kids if we want to be a great team, we have to start making the great plays," Mangen said. "There were a couple of plays, that were still hits, that could have been made in that inning."
Sleepy Eye answered New Ulm's five-run inning quickly by scoring three runs of its own in the top of the fourth. Hirsch and Helget started the inning with back-to-back singles; Hirsch scored on a wild pitch and Helget on a errant throw to home. Matt Berkner's two-out single scored Heiderscheidt for the third run of the inning, and John Mangen was thrown out at home plate to end the inning.
"The thing I was most happy with today was the three runs we got after they scored five on us," Mangen said. "That gave us some breathing room again. In the Upper Midwest, we had an early 5-0 lead against Hutchinson and we ended up losing that game, so I've been preaching to them to not sit on a lead and keep attacking. We did a good job of that today."
Helget went 3-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored in the game.
New Ulm added an unearned run in the fifth inning and again in the seventh, but Hirsch and Sleepy Eye held on for the 10-7 win.
In addition to going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored at the plate, Hirsch pitched all seven innings for Sleepy Eye. He allowed seven runs-five earned-on eight hits. He walked three and struck out four.
Tyler Dittrich took the loss for New Ulm. He allowed 10 runs on nine hits and two walks in four innings of work.
Connor Forbrook pitched three hitless innings in relief.
Chase Meyer and Jarin Spence led the New Ulm offense with a pair of hits each. Spence added a stolen base and two runs scored.
With the win, Sleepy Eye is now 10-8 and has a pair of victories over New Ulm Gold.