CHASKA A promising start led to a disappointing end Sunday for New Ulm Gold at the Minnesota State American Legion Baseball Tournament.
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first against defending national champion Eden Prairie in an elimination bracket game, Gold was unable to continue the scoring and fell to Eden Prairie 5-3 at Chaska Athletic Park.
Drew Pfaff took the loss for Gold. He pitched four innings and gave up four runs on six hits. He walked three. Matt Bergmann pitched three innings and didn't allow a run on one hit. Tim Kehren gave up a run in 1/3 of an inning.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold’s Dan Blackstad lays down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the ninth inning during Gold’s win against Lakeville North Sunday in the Legion State Tournament held in Chaska.
Luke Lind got the win for Eden Prairie. He went eight innings and gave up nine hits and three runs. He struck out nine and walked four.
New Ulm got to Lind early. Zach Hoffmann hit a two-out homer in the top of the first for New Ulm's first run, and Dan Blackstad later doubled home Jason Shaul and Erich Prokosch for the 3-0 lead.
It looked good for Gold, who defeated Lakeville North earlier in the day to advance in the elimination bracket. But the defending national champions had just enough to get by Gold, ending its season at 27-10.
Eden Prairie (30-10) will play at 11 a.m. today against the winner of Burnsville and Grand Rapids. If it wins, it advances to the state championship against Edina and advances to the Central Plains Tournament in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Eden Prairie scored a single run in the second before taking the lead in the fifth with three runs. Eden Prairie then added a single run in the eighth for the final 5-3 margin.
Cody Wetmore was 3-for-5 for Eden Prairie. As a team, Eden Prairie finished with nine hits. Shaul was 3-for-4 to lead New Ulm offensively.
Lakeville North 10
In the first game Gold defeated Lakeville North 12-10.
Gold's Jordan Guggisberg was credited with the 12-10 win. He pitched the final three innings and gave up three hits and two runs. In the wild, back-and-forth contest, Guggisberg proved to be the most effective of the three New Ulm pitchers in the first game.
"I was just trying to locate my pitches and do the best I could to keep us in the game," he said. "Obviously they scored a lot of runs, and so did we and we ended up coming out on top."
Prokosch pitched the first four innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. Bergmann relieved Prokosch, going two innings and allowing four hits and three runs.
Gold got the gift of having its first six batters draw a walk in the top of the first, which helped score three runs.
Lakeville North starter A.J. Moore gave up all six walks and three runs without retiring a batter. He gave way to Jordan Jacobson, who somehow escaped without further damage. He allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings.
While Gold had the early lead, Lakeville North slowly cut away at it, scoring a single run in the first and second to cut Gold's lead to 3-2.
Gold scored twice more in the third thanks to RBIs by Kevin Larson and Kehren. Gold added another run in the fourth to go up 6-2 at that point.
North continued to fight back, scoring three more times in the fourth and twice more in the fifth, eventually tying the game at 7.
Gold added two more in the sixth and led 9-8 after seven innings before Guggisberg laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that scored Drew Pfaff to put New Ulm up 10-8 in the eighth inning.
"It was definitely a shootout," Guggisberg said. "We had clutch hitting and a couple of squeezes that worked out for us and that's what carried over."
North again tied the game at 10 in the bottom of the eighth, but Gold laid down another squeeze, this time off the bat of Bergmann, that scored Hoffmann. The throw home was wild and went to the backstop, allowing Shaul to score the 12th run for Gold.
Larson was 4-for-5 with three RBI, and Kehren was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Jory Dove and Pfaff also had two hits each.