NEW ULM - Defense has been a strong point all season for the Sleepy Eye VFW team. But Sunday morning against Maple Grove, Sleepy Eye's defense faltered.
Sleepy Eye committed six errors as it fell to Maple Grove 9-6 in a semi-final game of the Junior Upper Midwest Classic.
Bubba Horton was the winning pitcher for Maple Grove. He allowed six hits and fanned five for the complete game win.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye second baseman Matt Mielke (left) watches as a Maple Grove baserunner beats his throw to first baseman Jayden Mickelson during Maple Grove’s win in the Junior Upper Midwest Classic Sunday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Alex Bruggeman took the loss for Sleepy Eye.
Nate Schroepfer hit a double for Sleepy Eye, and Schroepfer and Austin Fischer each drove in two runs.
Luke Burrington, Brett Schulze and Jayden Roehl each had two hits for Maple Grove which won the Upper Midwest Classic with a 7-3 victory over the Tonka Mudhens.
"Defense let us down today," said Sleepy Eye coach Dusty Mangen. "Six errors is pretty uncharacteristic of this team. Our defense got us here, but today it was what sent us home."
Maple Grove took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second before Sleepy Eye took its only lead with two runs in the top of the third.
Matt Mielke led off with a walk from Horton before Jayden Mickelson coaxed a one-out walk. One out later, Nate Schroepfer drove a two-run double for a 2-1 lead.
Maple Grove scored four runs in the bottom of the inning. using five hits aided by two Sleepy Eye errors. A Horton RBI double, a wild pitch sandwiched around the miscues gave Maple Grove a lead that they did not lose.
Maple Grove tacked on three more runs in the fourth for an 8-2 lead.
Sleepy Eye scored a solo run in the top of the sixth when Schroepfer walked and then scored on a wild pitch.
Maple Grove added its ninth run in the bottom of the sixth on a walk and the sixth error of the game by Sleepy Eye.
However, in the top of the seventh, Sleepy Eye scored three runs after two were out.
Sam Tessmer reached on a passed ball on a strikeout, and Schroepfer walked. Jared Beltz singled-in Tessmer. Dylan Klein's base hit loaded the bases before Horton uncorked a wild pitch for another run.
Austin Fischer's base hit brought in Beltz to cut the lead to 9-6. But Horton got the final out to preserve the win.
"I liked the way that we kept battling," said Mangen. "Especially in that seventh inning. He was a tough pitcher. If you would have told me that when I saw him warming up that we were going to score six runs off of him, I would have taken that for sure, It was an accomplishment to make it to Sunday. Defensively we played well except for today."
Maple Grove took the championship of the Junior Classic with a 7-3 win over the Tonka Mudhens on Sunday afternoon. Brett Schulze got the win for Maple Grove.
Eric Steingas took the loss.
Jensen Erickson had two hits for Maple Grove.
Matt Mitchell and Pierson Pass each collected two hits for the Mudhens.
In earlier Sunday action, Tonka topped Wayzata 10-1 to earn its way to the title game.