RICHFIELD - Errors were the costly theme of the day as New Ulm Gold committed 10 in its two games combined, falling to the Rochester Patriots 9-2 in the first before losing to Excelsior 5-4 in 10 innings in the second.
The second loss ended New Ulm's season at 25-9.
Nick Dewanz took the loss in the second game. He pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up a run and two hits. That run came in the bottom of the 10th. There, Axel Twenge reached on a throwing error by Jacob Gieseke and took second. Twenge eventually scored on a single by Ian Cote.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold catcher Grant Kanneggeisser tags out Jake Dravis of the Rochester Patriots during New Ulm’s 9-2 loss in the opening round of the American Legion State Tournament on Friday in Richfield.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Bjorn Hanson earned the win, giving up a run and striking out one in two innings. Hanson took the mound in the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead but he was unable to earn the save. He gave up they tying run in the top of the ninth when Chase Meyer scored.
Gold earned the upper hand early, scoring three times off Excelsior starter Joseph Martinson in the top of the third. Tim Kehren and Tanner Kluis each had an RBI single in the inning and Gieseke scored on a wild pitch.
But Martinson settled down and Excelsior tied the game in the bottom of the fourth off New Ulm starter Kluis. After Jared Ridge drove in a run with a single, Hanson delivered the big blast of the inning with a two-run home run over the fence in left field.
Excelsior took a 4-3 lead in the fifth and Martinson cruised along before Hanson came in and surrendered the tying run.
In the first game, it was a matter of sloppy fielding and not getting key hits with runners in scoring position that doomed Gold. Rochester took advantage of four Gold errors in the 9-2 win that sent New Ulm to the elimination bracket.
Chase Meyer took the loss for New Ulm. He gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits and walked one while striking out one.
Zach Schwieters earned the win for Rochester. He gave up two runs in seven innings.
New Ulm's defense struggled behind Meyer. But the offense also failed to take advantage of some early situations. New Ulm had the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning, but Gold failed to score.
Gold stranded nine runners in the game.
"It's certainly not the New Ulm team I've coached all summer long," said New Ulm coach Bob Weier. "We just were not sharp today. We made some physical errors, we made some mental errors, and we had some opportunities to score some runs early in the game. We couldn't put the ball in play, we couldn't get the bunt down.
"Nothing seemed to work for us, and you don't come up here to the state tournament and play teams from all over the state and play that way and expect to win. It's not going to happen."
Rochester scored a single run in the top of the second and it looked like Gold was going to respond in the bottom half of the inning. But after loading the bases, Dewanz struck out, then Nate Palmer was called out after he bunted and ran into the ball. Jordan Guggisberg then popped out to end the inning.
Rochester took advantage and added another run in the third. The Patriots added two more runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth to go ahead 5-0.
Jory Dove came in to relieve Meyer, and after pitching effectively the first two innings, he struggled in the eighth and gave up three runs with the big hit coming off of Alex Brady's double. Brady later scored on a wild pitch to put Rochester ahead 8-0.
New Ulm did score two runs in the seventh to finally get on the board. Gold loaded the bases and scored when Brach Kraus was hit by a pitch. With one out, Grant Kannegiesser hit a soft liner to the second baseman. The ball was dropped and Rochester was able to turn a double play, but not before New Ulm scored another run on the play to make it 8-2.
Rochester added another run in the ninth before Gold went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game. Meyer ended the game with two of New Ulm's four hits. Wyatt Peterson and Dove both scored a run and Kehren and Drew Pfaff each added a hit.