GREEN ISLE - If New Ulm VFW Gold was worried about coming out flat in the first game of the VFW District 2 playoffs, that fear was quickly put to rest.
Gold gave up one run in the top of the first, then scored 12 in the bottom to answer. New Ulm, which lost the opener of the Northwest Subdistrict playoffs last week 1-0 to Dassel, scored 20 runs in the opener this time around in a 20-2 five-inning pounding of Blue Earth on Thursday.
Jarin Spence pitched two innings to get the victory for Gold. Jack Kennedy didn't retire a batter in the loss for Blue Earth, giving up 12 runs in that long first inning.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm VFW Gold’s Jesse Baumgartner slides under Blue Earth pitcher Alex Stewart during New Ulm’s playoff win Thursday in Green Isle.
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A lopsided game like that is usually tough on both teams. For New Ulm, the positives were coming back from an early deficit and not letting Blue Earth have long innings at the plate.
"The good thing, they scored in the first inning but we didn't get down and obviously we responded," said New Ulm coach Derek Wilfahrt. "We hit the ball, we didn't try to do too much. We scored 20, but I told the kids it's going to be a whole different story the rest of the way."
The rest of the story continues at 4 p.m. Friday when Gold takes on the winner of Chaska and Hutchinson. New Ulm did commit four errors in the game, but that stat doesn't seem to matter much when a team finishes with 15 hits. New Ulm also stranded eight runners.
"You don't like to see those errors as a coach or a player, but the run support for Jarin was nice," Wilfahrt said.
Blue Earth, which was the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Subdistrict, got on the board first after taking advantage of two New Ulm errors. A passed ball scored Alex Stewart, but the lead was short-lived.
New Ulm sent 16 batters to the plate in the first inning and the first out was finally recorded after Gold scored 12 runs. Gabe Knowles, Alex Stark and Jesse Baumgartner, who courtesy ran for Spence, scored two runs each in the first.
Gold added two runs in the second inning, two in the third and three in the fourth.
Offensively, Spence had four RBIs and Knowles scored four runs. Stark also had four RBIs and a couple of runs, along with three hits. Spence also had four hits and Brandon Beranek finished with three runs and four RBIs.
Since the loss last week to Dassel, New Ulm has now won six straight.
"I think that loss was just grounded us a little bit and it kind of made us focus a little more," Wilfahrt said. "We're set up nicely with some of our top pitchers going and hopefully they get us a couple of wins."