CHANHASSEN - Jory Dove wasn't getting a lot of run support early on from his teammates, but the way he was pitching Saturday, he didn't need much help.
Dove shut down Giant Valley 7-1 in an elimination bracket game Saturday at the Minnesota State American Legion Baseball Tournament, ending Giant Valley's season at 21-12.
Gold (26-9) will now play the loser of Lakeville North and Edina at 10 a.m. today in Chaska. If Gold wins, it will play at 4 p.m. today in Chaska.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Giant Valley’s Matthew Pryor (3) collides with New Ulm Legion Gold second baseman Tim Kehren after Kehren makes a relay throw to first during Gold’s win in the American Legion State Tournament Saturday in Chanhassen.
Dove shut down the Giant Valley bats. He allowed only seven hits and struck out seven. He walked three and allowed his only run in the third inning after Eamonn Manion singled to score John Pryor.
Sam Nelson took the loss. He went six innings and allowed nine hits and five runs. He walked seven and struck out three.
Dove knew he wanted to keep it simple. That approach worked well for him.
"I was ready, I knew I had to just throw strikes and let my defense help me, and they did - they did a great job," Dove said.
He kept the Giant Valley batters from getting too comfortable with a steady diet of curveballs and fastballs. Giant Valley never seemed to be able to figure out what to expect from Dove.
"Actually today the curveball was working really well for me," Dove said. "I was just finding my spots and keeping them off-balance. When you set them up with curveballs, you can use your fastballs."
Gold got on the board right away in the first. Tim Kehren doubled and Zach Hoffmann followed with another double to score Kehren.
New Ulm went up 2-0 in the third after Dan Blackstad hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly down the line in left. Pryor made a diving catch to save at least a couple of runs from scoring, but Hoffmann tagged up easily from third.
Giant Valley got a run back in the third, but that was it offensively.
"Just to have that lead, it really takes a lot of pressure off the pitcher," Dove said.?"I knew that my defense was there to back me up so I just threw strikes."
The bats woke up for Gold in the seventh inning when New Ulm scored three times. Jason Shaul had an RBI double that scored Hoffmann and Dan Blackstad added an RBI single later. Matt Bergmann provided the biggest excitement of the inning when he stole home after what looked to be a suicide squeeze attempt went bad. The pitch sailed to the backstop and Bergmann scored easily.
One pitch later, Gold tried the squeeze again, but Drew Pfaff didn't get the bunt down and Blackstad was tagged out at home.
New Ulm scored two more times in the eighth, both of them coming home on Shaul's hit. New Ulm finished the game with 13 hits and it stranded 14 runners.
Offensively, Larson was 3-for-4 and Hoffmann scored three runs and had two hits. Shaul had two hits and three RBI and Blackstad had two RBI. Bergmann also had two hits.
Pryor ended up with three hits for Giant Valley and he also had three stolen bases in the game.