NEW ULM - With nothing on the line except bragging rights, Essig won its first Region 2C playoff game with a 5-1 win against Stark.
Tim Kehren got the complete-game win for Essig striking out nine and allowing four hits.
David Surprenant took the loss for Stark allowing three runs in his three innings of work. Craig Fischer led Stark with two hits.
Kehren had two hits for Essig with James Herzog picked up his first amateur baseball hit.
Stark scored a run in the first when Fischer singled, stole second and went to third on a Landon Zinniel groundout before scoring on a wild pitch.
But Essig scored three runs in the bottom of the inning. Kehren walked and went to third when Kyle Helget's groundball was misplayed.
Kehren scored on a Dusty Fleck groundout. A Mitch Stueber sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk added the other two runs.
Essig scored twice in the sixth on singles from Herzog and Erich Prokosch and an error that allowed both runners to score.
In a related Region 2C game, the New Ulm Brewers beat Lamberton 11-1 in seven innings in Lamberton.
The Brewers will host Hanska at 8 p.m. on Friday at Johnson Park. If the Brewers win, they will be the Region 2C champions. A New Ulm loss would set up a playoff involving New Ulm, Hanska and Lamberton.