NEW ULM - When the Lake Crystal Nine amateur baseball team folded up this past offseason, its top pitcher, Mitch Kelly, knew that his next destination was with the New Ulm Brewers.
Friday night, Kelly had another solid pitching performance for the Brewers as he struck out 15 in a 3-2 win against Searles in Tomahawk East League play at Johnson Park.
The righthanded Kelly now has 48 strikeouts in his 28 1/3 innings of work this season.
Kelly, who posted a 10-2 mark for Lake Crystal last season, scattered five hits and both of the Grizzlies' runs were unearned.
Casey Lux took the loss for Searles. He allowed 14 hits in the game.
Judd Davis, Aaron Pfaff and Brady Ranweiler each had three hits with Ranweiler driving in three runs.
"When Lake Crystal folded up, I knew that I wanted to come here," Kelly said. "I was not considering anywhere else. This is a better league. I needed that because I am going back to college next year at Riverland College in Austin."
The Brewers scored single runs in the first and third innings on a Zach More RBI single and a Ranweiler base hit.
Searles threatened in the fourth when Kelly issued two walks to start the inning and a two-out base hit loaded the bases before he recorded one of his 15 whiffs by fanning Dan Blackstad.
In the sixth, the Grizzlies mounted a threat thanks to a base hit and one of four New Ulm errors in the game.
But again Kelly struck out Blackstad to end the threat.
Ranweiler's second RBI single of the game in the seventh upped the Brewers' lead to 3-0.
Searles scored twice in the top of the eighth on a Cole Dulas base hit and an ensuing error on the play.
Kelly left no doubt in the top of the ninth when he struck out the side to end the game.