NEW ULM - After three innings, New Ulm Legion Blue appeared poised to fall victim to another blowout on Friday as it had on Thursday.
However, Bloomington Gold's 7-0 lead after three was all but a sure thing. Blue scored six runs in the fourth inning, three in the fifth and the eventual game-winner in the eighth for the comeback 10-9 victory on Friday in Day 2 of the Upper Midwest Classic at Johnson Park. All 10 of Blue's runs were scored with two outs.
Riley Ellanson, who was inserted into the No. 8 spot midway through the game, tallied the game-winning RBI single for Blue in the top of the eighth inning, which scored Jarrin Spence for the 10-9 lead and eventual victory.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Blue third baseman Alex Stark backhands the ball as shortstop Alex Guggisberg backs him up on the play during Blue’s win against Bloomington Gold in the Upper Midwest Classic on Friday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
"It was two outs in extra innings, we just needed at least one run to be able to use the defensive plays that we did in the bottom of the eighth," Ellanson said. "We just needed that run to be able to win the game."
Bailey Batt got the no-decision for Blue, but pitched five solid innings and managed to leave the mound with his team ahead 9-8. Batt said he got off to a shaky start, but his performance did not stay shaky for long especially with the run support he got in his final two innings of work.
"It gives you a lot of confidence because you know you can be a little pickier with your spots," Batt said. "We've been hitting the ball, it's just been right at them.
"And today, we finally found the gaps and we showed that we're a good team."
The scoring barrage began in the fourth inning, when Jarrin Spence and Matt Rowley each singled to get on base. Evan Atzenhoefer walked to load the bases, which gave Alex Guggisberg the go-ahead to drive Spence in with an RBI single for a 7-1 deficit.
Connor Forbrook then scored Rowley and Atzenhoefer with a two-RBI single before Matt Vogel loaded the bases by reaching on an error. Alex Stark was walked to drive in Guggisberg and cut Gold's lead to 7-4.
Spence then drove in Forbrook and Brandon Beranek drove in Vogel to put Gold on its toes, cutting the lead to 7-6.
Vogel notched a two-run double in the fifth that drove in Ellanson and Guggisberg, officially giving Blue an 8-7 lead. Stark then traded places with Vogel with an RBI double of his own for a 9-7 lead.
Andrew Stewart came in for Blue and gave up an RBI single by catcher Eric Swenson to erase the "W" next to Batt's name.
Stewart redeemed himself, however, by shutting out Gold in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win and move Blue to 1-1 in Pool D play.
"I've heard in the past that we haven't had a great team, but we play tough teams and you have to play big," Ellanson said.
Blue will play Sleepy Eye at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Johnson Park. The winner will play in the second-place game at 2:30 p.m. and the loser will play in the third-place game at 3 p.m. if Creighton Prep beats Bloomington Gold.
"[Sleepy Eye is] a good team, but we've beaten them before so we can do it again," Batt said. "If we hit the ball like this, we can win tomorrow for sure."
N.U. Blue 000 630 01 - 10 15 3
Blmtn Gold 232 010 10 - 9 14 1
Batt, Stewart (6) and Vogel; Sodergren, Huber (4), Petsinger (5), McNulty (5) and Swenson.
W - Stewart, L - McNulty, ND - Batt (B) and Sodergren (G).
Further stats were not recorded by The Journal.