NEW ULM - Baseball can be a very forgiving game.
Take the Tomahawk Conference doubleheader between the Sleepy Eye Indians and the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers Thursday afternoon at Mueller Park.
Leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Sleepy Eye Indians saw MVL score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on three hits, two walks and an error for a 5-4 come-from-behind win.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Nick Dewanz slides under Sleepy Eye catcher Matt Schroepfer as he jumps to catch the ball during the first game of a doubleheader Thursday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
But in the nightcap, the Chargers failed to use that late inning momentum as the Indians got redemption scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning and coasting to a 10-0 win in five innings.
For Sleepy Eye coach Aaron Nesvold, the win in the second game took some of the bitter taste out of the mouths of the Indians from that loss.
"You kind of question what happened in that first game and you wondered how we would respond in the second game," Nesvold said.
Sleepy Eye had taken a lead of 3-0 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. An error allowed Matt Berkner to score before an Ethan Sillfies' double in the third inning scored John Mangen.
A Berkner double, a Matt Schroepfer single and a double steal increased the Indians' lead to 3-0.
MVL cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning. Rick Jensen reached on an error, took second on a Grant Wilson sacrifice bunt and went to third on the second error of the inning. He scored on a Kris Goetzke RBI single.
Both teams exchanged runs in the sixth inning. Sleepy Eye scored its run in on an error, a wild pitch and a Brandon Polesky sacrifice fly. MVL matched that on a Tyler Mielke single, a stolen base and a Rick Jensen base hit.
Down 4-2 in the seventh, the Chargers found a way to win.
Ryan Grunke walked and swiped second. A Mielke one-out single and a double steal cut the lead to 4-3.
Nick Dewanz singled but Mielke was out trying to steal third.
A walk, a wild pitch and an error knotted the game at 4-4. Jake Mielke walked before Jensen delivered a game-winning single.
"We stuck together and battled back," MVL coach Jeff Schoenherr said. "And we were able to come up with a victory."
Justin Bruns got the win, relieving starter Rick Jensen in the sixth. Mangen took the loss. Bruns, Mielke, Dewanz and Jensen each had two hits for MVL.
Berkner, Schroepfer and Mangen each collected two hits for the Indians.
But Game 2 belonged to the Indians.
"I was worried about how we all were going to respond after the loss," Nesvold said. "I did not know if we were going to come back out like we did or if we were going to fold."
Sleepy Eye used four hits and two Charger errors for a big five run inning.
A two run double from Berkner was the big blow in the inning.
In the fourth, Sleepy Eye added three more runs on a Schroepfer single, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
The Indians closed out the game in the sixth off of reliever Jake Mielke on two walks and two hit batsman.
Nick Dewanz took the loss for MVL while Dylan Klein got the win.
Berkner, Schroepfer, Austin Fischer and Alex Bruggeman each had two hits for the Indians, now 6-8.
"We had to many miscues," Schoenherr said about his team. "That has been the story of the last few games. We have a lack of focus. And the last few games out pitchers have not been sharp."