NEW ULM- Colin Wendinger was as dominant as he could be in New Ulm Gold's 13-0 win in five innings over Hutchinson Thursday at Mueller Park.
"It was kind of a tune-up game for us before Districts," Wendinger said. "Jason [Shaul] called a great game for me and I just wanted to get all of my pitches over for strikes. I just happened to be pretty effective."
Wendinger struck out 13 of the 17 batters he faced on his way to a no-hitter. He allowed a pair of walks in the second inning for the only two Hutchinson base runners of the game.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold’s Zach Hoffmann hits a two-run home run to give Gold an early lead in the first inning against Hutchinson Thursday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
"He had a nice game over the weekend too where he struck out 13, but that was in a seven-inning game," New Ulm Gold head coach Bob Weier said. "He's starting to get into a groove now. He knows what he wants to do, he has confidence in all of his pitches, and he is really starting to understand the game from a pitcher's perspective. It's fun watching him."
After Wendinger struck out the side to start the game, New Ulm's offense wasted no time to grab an early lead. Tim Kehren's one-out single was followed by a mammoth two-run home run to left field from Zach Hoffmann to give New Ulm an early 2-0 lead.
Hoffmann finished the game going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.
Jason Shaul followed Hoffmann's homer with a single, Dan Blackstad and Erich Prokosch walked, but New Ulm left the bases loaded to end the first inning.
Jordan Guggisberg walked to start the second inning and Kevin Larson followed with a single to start another rally for Gold. Guggisberg scored on a ground ball hit by Kehren and Shaul and Blackstad each delivered two-out RBI singles later in the inning to give New Ulm a 5-0 lead.
Prokosch led off the third inning with a single, Jory Dove followed with a walk and Guggisberg moved the runners over in to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Larson worked the count back to 2-2 - fouling off three pitches in the process - and lined a two-run triple to the gap in right-center field. Larson scored on another run-scoring ground ball from Kehren to give New Ulm and 8-0 lead after three innings.
"I really liked the way that our offense operated," Weier said. "We had some nice sacrifice hits and Kevin came up with a huge hit with runners in scoring position. "
New Ulm loaded the bases with no outs to start the fourth inning thanks to an infield single by Drew Pfaff and a pair of hit batters. Blackstad, who started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, scored on a wild pitch. Guggisberg delivered a sacrifice fly to score Pfaff and New Ulm led 10-0.
After pinch-hitter Matt Bergmann reached on a catcher's interference, Zach Hoffmann came up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Hoffmann hit a high pop fly into very shallow left field that landed to score two runs. Shaul followed with a ground ball to the shortstop and reached without a throw, driving in another run in the process to give New Ulm a 13-0 lead.
"All the way through the lineup, we were hitting the ball well," Weier said. "Jordan Guggisberg had three nice at-bats for us out of the No. 9 spot and that was nice to see."
Wendinger struck out the side in order in the fifth, as he had already done twice before, to complete the no-hitter and seal the win for New Ulm.
"By about the second inning I knew I had pretty good command of all my pitches," Wendinger said. "Any time I can get my secondary pitches over the plate I know I can have a pretty decent game."
Jason Hodson was the losing pitcher. He allowed five runs on six hits in two innings of work.
Kehren, Shaul, and Larson each had two RBIs for New Ulm.
New Ulm Gold will play next Thursday in District play in Fairmont at 4 p.m. against either Sleepy Eye or Worthington.
"It takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of you," Wendinger said of the offense. "Hopefully our bats stay alive like this for Districts, and we will be good to go."