VFW Gold goes 1-1 on Friday to stay alive
WILLMAR — New Ulm VFW Gold scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning and held off Centennial 6-5 in an elimination bracket game on Friday at the State VFW tournament.
Earlier in the day, Gold lost 9-0 to Monticello and was sent to the elimination bracket. There, Gold rallied late after being down 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Mark Schommer doubled to score Zach Helget, who was pinch-running for Teddy Giefer and that tied the score at 5-5.
Noah Helget then delivered on a squeeze bunt, scoring Owen Rich, who was running for Schommer.
Schommer, the third VFW Gold pitcher, earned the win. He went two innings, allowed two hits and struck out two.
Gold scored four runs in the third inning to take the early lead. Alex Hillesheim, Mason Cox and Giefer all had RBI singles and Braden Zimmerman had an RBI fielder’s choice.
Centennial slowly chipped away and eventually took a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, but Gold rallied late to pull off the win. Gold (29-15-1) will play the winner of Luverne and Rochester at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In the first game, Monticello (25-3) defeated Gold 9-0. Benett Konz was sharp for Monticello, allowing only one hit in seven innings. He struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter.
Nolan Drill had New Ulm’s only hit and that came in the second inning.
T.J. Sweere took the loss. He went three innings and allowed eight hits and six runs.
Monticello hit Sweere hard from the beginning. Tommy Blackstone led off the bottom of the first with a triple and Dom Dehmer followed with a double to score Blackstone. Dehmer came home when Sweere’s pickoff attempt at first base was errant, allowing Dehmer to score from third.
Monticello added to the lead in the bottom of the second, scoring two more times. Carson Sawatzke doubled with one out and later, Isaac Frandsen hit a two-out single to score Sawatzke and Blackstone.
Monticello then scored three times in the fourth. Blackstone had an RBI single that scored Jason Axelberg and Blackstone later scored his third run of the game on an RBI single by Frandsen. Frandsen later scored on a passed ball to make it 7-0 Monticello.
“We knew how tough they were, we had to come out and play a perfect game,” VFW Gold coach Mike Munce said. “We got beat by a better team today and that happens.”
Monticello scored twice more in the sixth inning and Konz shut the door on Gold in the seventh.