ST. JAMES - New Ulm Gold's right-hander Chase Meyer hurled five perfect innings to open Sunday's Southwest Sub-District championship baseball game in St. James.
Fairmont's Cole Emler legged out a leadoff infield hit to end Meyer's bid for perfection in the top of the sixth, but New Ulm's starting pitcher still finished with a four-hitter.
Meyer's complete-game gem, combined with two hits and two runs scored by Alex Stark, engineered New Ulm Gold's 4-1 victory over Fairmont.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Sorrells/Fairmont Sentinel
New Ulm Gold’s Chase Meyer (13) receives congratulations from his teammates after belting a solo home run during the fifth inning of the VFW Southwest Sub-District championship baseball game Sunday in St. James. New Ulm defeated Fairmont, 4-1, to advance to the 2nd District Tournament.
New Ulm (24-5), the Southwest Sub-District champion, opens 2nd District action against the Northeast Sub-District runner-up at 7 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Fairmont (15-11), the Southwest Sub-District runner-up, faces the Northeast Sub-District champion at 1 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Park.
While Meyer faced the minimum 15 batters through five three-up and three-down innings, Stark proved the offensive catalyst behind New Ulm by scoring unearned runs in the bottom of the first and third innings.
Stark, who went 2-for-3, lined a leadoff single and promptly swiped second base before Fairmont starting pitcher Cole Emler issued a walk to Brach Kraus.
Meyer hit into a forceout that erased Kraus at second base, but the ensuing throw to complete a potential double play eluded the Fairmont first baseman, allowing Stark to score for a 1-0 lead.
Stark nearly duplicated his first-inning feat during the home half of the third. New Ulm Gold's leadoff batter drew a walk, wheeled to second base on a Kraus sacrifice bunt and stayed put on a walk to Meyer. Emler coaxed a groundball off Jackson Yackley's bat, but Fairmont's return throw to first base skidded away to allow Stark to scamper home for a 2-0 lead.
Meyer then hit a solo home run over the left-field fence off Fairmont reliever Parker Monsen with one out in the fifth.
Fairmont recouped the solo run during the top of the sixth. Emler legged out a high-bouncing chopper to third, wheeled to second base when Spencer Chirpich smacked a two-out single to right, moved up 90 feet when Jay Ruen's grounder was mishandled and slid home on an ensuing wild pitch.
Three walks and Stark's RBI single into the left-center gap allowed New Ulm to tack on an insurance run during the sixth.
Ben Abel and Michael Hawkins each produced seventh-inning singles for Fairmont before Jonathon Soucek was hit by a Meyer pitch to load the bases, but Meyer caught an infield popout to end the game.
Meyer recorded eight strikeouts without issuing a walk in seven innings.
Emler allowed two runs - both unearned - on three hits, and walked four in four innings to take the loss for Fairmont.
Jarin Spence added two hits for New Ulm.