New Ulm Eagles fly to 2AAA finals
NEW ULM — New Ulm Eagles’ head baseball coach Kevin Briggs said that Luke Scheid is a pitcher who is not going to strike a lot of batters out but is effective.
Saturday afternoon Scheid was just that as he went five innings against Mankato West in the winner’s bracket of the Section 2AAA playoffs. He fanned three in his stint and allowed just two runs on four hits. New Ulm scored four runs in the first inning and added two more runs in the second as the top-seeded Eagles downed West 6-2 at Johnson Park.
The right-handed Scheid walked just two and was backed by a defense that turned two double plays in the game — one started by Scheid in the first inning — that killed potential Scarlet rallies.
Brandon Seidl pitched the sixth and seventh innings and allowed two hits.
Luke Warner took the loss for the Scarlets, who fell to 12-10 on the season and also dropped into an elimination game Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Johnson Park where they will meet Marshall.
The winner of that game meets New Um (19-3) on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Johnson Park for the sectional title. That winner will have to defeat the Eagles twice to win the section.
Tyler Roufs had three hits for New Ulm and drove in two runs. Andrew Peters and Sam Berg each added two hits, with Berg driving in two runs. Braden Zimmerman also drove in two runs.
“They hit the ball hard but we made the plays today,” Briggs said. “Keep the ball low and trust the defense. Luke hit his spots [today]. West is a good hitting team, but Luke wanted the ball today — he is a gamer.”
“I have really taken a step up from last year,” Scheid said. “Last year I was just a middle of the team pitcher, but this year I have been playing a lot better.”
After a 1-6 double play by the Eagles ended the top of the first, New Ulm wasted little time in making Warner’s day miserable.
Scheid walked and courtesy runner Teagen Kamm swiped second and went to third when West catcher Sam Vosburg’s throw was airmailed into centerfield.
Andrew Peters also drew a walk before Berg laced an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. Tyler Roufs’ two-out base hit scored Peters. A stolen base preceded a two-run single from Braden Zimmerman.
The Eagles made it 6-0 in the second when Hunter Ranweiler reached on a bunt single and took second on a Scheid groundout. Peters singled before Berg drove in his second run of the game for a 5-0 lead. Roufs’ RBI single gave Scheid and New Ulm a 6-0 lead after two innings.
“It is helpful,” Scheid said about getting that comfortable lead. “It gives me a little breathing room and I do not have to worry about every hit. We had a good performance fielding.”
While Briggs was happy with the scoring in the first two innings, he was disappointed in the last four innings where the Eagles did not score and managed four hits.
“Getting four runs was good, but I did not like that we did not score in the last four innings,” he said. “We need to score a run each inning but credit to West, we did not get it done.”
West scored a single run in both the fifth and sixth inning for their scores.
“We have not accomplished anything yet,” Briggs said with his team one win away from the state AAA tournament. “These kids have played together since they were 10 years old and they know how to play for each other.”