DELANO, Minn. - Four errors plus a stifled offense did in New Ulm when it really counted.
The Brewers saw their their season come to a close because of their errors and lack of offensive production in their 6-1 loss to the Fairmont Martins in the first round of the Class C State Tournament on Saturday at Municipal Stadium in Delano.
"That was the whole game right there," said New Ulm coach Al Flor. "You've got to play defense or you're not going to win."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Brewers first baseman Zach Hoffmann attempts to tag out Fairmont's Tanner Nawrocki during the Brewers' 6-1 loss in the opening round of the Class C Amateur Baseball State Tournament on Saturday in Delano.
Fairmont pitcher Shaun McGuire got the win, going the distance while allowing one earned run off five hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
McGuire managed to stifle the Brewers' bats early on, breezing through the entire lineup in the first three innings without allowing anyone to reach base.
"He keeps the hitters off balance," said Fairmont coach and player Adam Schmidt. "He's always throwing off-speeds and fastballs. He just changes it up so much. That's why he's successful - he's not overpowering, he's just a guy that throws strikes and he throws it where he wants it."
McGuire did just that against the Brewers in those first three innings, during which he averaged an efficient 13 pitches per inning.
This allowed the Martins to get on the board first in the bottom of the third inning, when an overthrow by NU shortstop Zach More allowed Luke Becker to reach second base in a failed attempt at a double play. Becker came home on a sacrifice 6-3 groundout by Scott Chirpich, while Logan Peymann reached home during the next at-bat thanks to another throwing error by More to home plate.
The Brewers closed to within one run in the next inning when Brady Ranweiler hit a double into the right-center gap to drive in Aaron Pfaff. But McGuire squeezed out of the inning without allowing any more runs by getting Garrett Fischer out on a 6-3 groundout with two Brewers left on base.
"We had a lot of experience last year [as] the runner-up, so it almost seems like it's a routine thing coming up here," Schmidt said. "New Ulm was up here too and we knew we'd have a good matchup just based off how our high schools have been battling the last few years. So we knew it was going to be a good game."
NU starting pitcher Wade French could not stop the Martins' bats, which tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning after he was pulled. French took the loss, having allowed four runs - one earned - off four hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
Chris Cariveau attempted to alleviate some of the pressure, but allowed two more runs in the sixth to give the Martins a soon-to-be deciding 6-1 lead.
"We got a couple key hits when we needed to and just kind of chipped away," Schmidt said.
Pfaff almost got the Brewers going in the top of the sixth before those final two runs were scored with his shot to right field from the lead-off spot and the rest of the top of the lineup slated to bat him in.
However, Pfaff was caught off base in the next at-bat, killing momentum for the Brewers.
"We'd been aggressive all season and it is what it is, I guess," Flor said.
Fairmont moves on to face New Market at 1:30 p.m. next Sunday in Delano, while New Ulm's season comes to an end.
"We had a good season," Flor said. "When we had to play defense, we didn't. We'll work on that in the offseason this year."
New Ulm 000 100 000 - 1 5 4
Fairmont 002 022 00x - 6 6 1
W: Shaun McGuire (F) - CG, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 109 pitches
L: Wade French (NU) - 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 94 pitches
Chris Cariveau (NU) - 4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 53 pitches
Aaron Pfaff (NU) 2-4, 1 R
Brady Ranweiler (NU) 1-4, 1 RBI, 2B, 1 K
Luke Becker (F) 2-4, 2 R, 1 K
Shaun McGuire (F) 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 K
Logan Peymann (F) 1-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB