By Jim Bastian
NEW ULM - For the first time in 11 days the New Ulm Eagles' baseball team was able to play a game and came away with two wins Tuesday over Blue Earth Area with scores of 4-0 and 10-1.
"Those were two nice wins for us because they are not only (South Central) Conference games but also section games," said coach Jay Backer. "We pitched well and, for the conditions, we played well."
Both Tanner Kluis and Chase Meyer got the pitching wins for the Eagles.
"It was Tanner's first outing and he was not the sharpest for his first time out; it was adequate," said Backer. "And Chase threw well."
In the first game, Backer said that BEA threw Brandon Olson at the Eagles. "He is a good chucker and when he pitches it gives them a chance to win," Backer said. "We played well in both games."
Backer said that his team took advantage of "some average and suspect pitching and we had a lot of walks and hit batters.It was kind of difficult to get into a hitting groove because some of the Blue Earth pitchers were all over the place. This is probably the effect of not getting outside because of the weather and thowing off of mounds. Our pitchers can be sharper also but when you have temperatures in the high 30s, neither your hitters or pitchers will be sharp."
Backer said that Chase Meyer has hit well in all three of New Ulm's wins. "He is hitting over .700 - Grant Kannegiesser had three hits (in the 10-1 win) and our top part of the batting order is hitting the ball well so far."
FIGHTING CABIN FEVER: Backer said that like all teams, the weather has forced coaches to try to make indoor practices "fun for the kids."
"But that is a difficult thing to do when you are inside for this long." he said. "We have gone back to the basics where we are doing the drills that we did the first few weeks. There is no excuse for a team not being fundamentally strong because all teams are probably doing that."
He said that it is hard keeping the player's interest in practice.
"They come to practice with a good attitude but they are also sick of it,"nsaid Backer. "You cannot blame them - baseball is a sport not meant to be played in the gym and with the extended forecast, there is no hope. Every time you look (at the forecast) we are either in a winter weather advisory or we have rain coming. It would be easier to take if we knew that we had warmer weather coming but that looks like a week out."
Backer said that conference games may become doubleheaders. "We will lose some non-conference games (from the schedule) - we already have lost the game with Edina. There are no open dates. I think that we may well lose this weekend's games in Mankato East Tournament.."
LOCAL TIES TO MINNESOTA FOOTBALL: Dan Hudson, who graduated from New Ulm High School in 1984 and played football for the Eagles in 1982-83, has a son Luke who made an unofficial visit to the University of Minnesota for football last week.
Luke Hudson was a two-way starter for The Woodland Christian Academy in The Woodlands, Texas. Hudson has earned honors such as Team USA U16 National Team at linebacker and running back, will major in engineering in college. He is also interested in Baylor. North Carolina, Penn State and Purdue. Hudson's mother, Marilyn still resides in New Ulm.
HOFFMANN AT LAS VEGAS: Jamie Hoffmann is hitting .194 as of Wednesday for the New York Mets' "AAA" team in las Vegas. He has one home run and five RBI.... Jason Shaul of New Ulm is hitting .329 for the University of Mary baseball team, Shaul has scored 21 runs and has four doubles. three triples along with five home runs. Shaul has a ,.610 slugging percentage... Garrett Fischer is hitting. 429 for the St. Cloud State baseball team which leads the team. He is also leading in hits with 30. He has 10 RBI and a ,500 slugging percentage. Kyle Fischer is 7-1 for the St,. Cloud State baseball team. He has an ERA of 2.03 and has 28 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings... Zach Hoffmann of New Ulm is hitting .333 for St. Cloud State.