NEW ULM - When opportunity knocked, New Ulm Cathedral answered as it downed Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 5-1 on Thursday at Johnson Field in Section 2A baseball playoff action.
"We took advantage of their little mistakes," said Cathedral coach Bob Weier.
Cathedral opened the game with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Nate Palmer walked and later scored the first run of the game on an error when the St. Mary's right fielder overthrew the third baseman. Collin Helget scored Cathedral's second run when Mike Skillings grounded out.
Jon Kopacek walked in the top of second inning. Mike Zinniel singled and Elliott Braun walked to load the bases. Jared Rothmeier walked to score Kopacek, cutting the Greyhounds' lead in half.
David Surprenaut came to the plate with the bases still loaded and struck out on a called third strike to end the threat. It was 2-1 for Cathedral at that time.
"It's a game of opportunities. New Ulm Cathedral capitalized on their opportunities," said St. Mary's coach Bruce Woitas.
Brandon Beranek drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the second for Cathedral. Jack Schwartz hit a single to left field and a wild pitch by Kopacek advanced the runners, which set up a suicide squeeze by James Herzog that scored Beranek from third base, making it 3-1 for Cathedral.
Kopacek threw a wild pitch and Schwartz scored for a 4-1 advantage.
Both teams tried to mount threats, but none materialized into runs.
Helget hit a leadoff single to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning. Skillings struck out and Helget stole second base on the same play.
Beranek stroked a single that scored Helget from second for an insurance run for the Greyhounds. The score was 5-1 for Cathedral after five innings.
"We'll take every run that we can get," Weier said.
Jared Rothmeier grounded out when he hit a line drive up the first base line. Russ Hoffman fielded the ball and flipped it to Collin Helget, who covered first base in the top of the seventh inning.
Surprenant was hit by a pitch, Beltz hit a pop fly that was caught by Alex Guggisberg.
Brandon Helget struck out to end the game and secure the Greyhounds' spot against Mankato Loyola in the next round of the Section 2A playoffs on Saturday at Franklin Park in Mankato. Game time is set to begin at 11 a.m.
St. Mary's (18-5) will play Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Franklin Park.