New Ulm Brewers postseason preview: Brewers clicking at right time

NEW ULM — The playoffs for the Tomahawk East League start Friday at six different sites.

The No. 5-seeded New Ulm Brewers host No. 8-seeded Essig at approximately 8 p.m. on Friday. That game time depends on the completion of the second round of the Second District VFW Tournament that is being played that day at Johnson Park.

Also on Friday, No. 12-seeded St. James travels to No. 1-seeded Stark for an 8 p.m meeting, while Courtland heads to No. 2-seeded Hanska for a 7:30 p.m. meeting.

Leavenworth, the No. 10 team, plays at No. 3 Lamberton at 8 p.m. and Searles, the No. 9 team, plays at No. 4 Springfield, with the game being played at 7:30 p.m. in Leavenworth.

Seventh-seeded Gibbon heads to Sleepy Eye for an 8 p.m. contest.

The top four teams entering the playoffs have identical records, with Stark, Hanska, Lamberton and Springfield all sporting 17-5 records.

“I think that it depends on when teams got their wins,” New Ulm Brewers manager Al Flor said. “A lot of teams were missing players.”

The Brewers enter postseason play with a 12-10 regular season mark but have won three of their last four games with wins over three top teams in Stark, Lamberton and Springfield.

“We got our pitching back,” Flor said. “And we have had more consistency with our players and some of our key high school players that we depend on coming at some point. We also worked back (pitcher) Mitch Kelly from Tommy John surgery, [which] has really helped us. Second baseman Judd Davis was injured at the end of last season and has come back pretty strong. Everything is starting to click.”

And pitcher Wade French has been the strength of the Brewers pitching staff.

“He is our leader,” Flor said. “We lean on him and it helps that Mitch is back pretty much at full strength.”

Flor also looks at the newcomer in outfielder Sam Berg, who has stepped up big in the last part of the season.

“We figured he could be that kind of player for us. He fits in with our team well.”

Flor feels that the Brewers, who split with Essig in the regular season, can be a force in the playoffs.

“We know what we have to do.”

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