VFW Gold advances

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello A Shakopee baserunnner safely slides into second before New Ulm VFW Gold shortstop Cole Ranweiler can tag him during playoff action Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — A safety squeeze and a shutdown relief performance.

New Ulm VFW Gold used that combination to come away with a 2-1 win Thursday night in the Second District Tournament game against Shakopee at Johnson Park.

Tony Geiger got the win in relief for New Ulm. He came in in the fourth inning in relief of starter Jace Marotz who went the first three innings and allowed the only Shakopee run.

Geiger allowed just one hit the rest of the way and struck out six.

Gavin Stadler took the loss for Shakopee.

New Ulm now plays Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Johnson Park against Mapleton while Shakopee enters elimination play Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Mueller Park against Mankato Maroon.

“This was a great win against a great team,” New Ulm Gold coach Mike Munce said. “We faced a hard-throwing left-hander (Stadler) who was probably the best pitcher we have seen this year.”

“We battled them, out-hit them (seven to four) and executed and managed to score a couple of runs,” Munce said.

Shakopee got on the board first when it took a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Eli Temp walked and Alex Ege followed with a double. Owen Seppenan coaxed a two-out walk from Marotz to load the bases. Tom Wilkie followed with an infield ground ball that was booted and allowed Temp to score.

New Ulm knotted the contest in the third when Cole Ranweiler walked and scampered to third on Nolan Drill’s one out single. Ranweiler scored on a Mason Cox infield single.

Gold then used Shakopee’s only error of the game to score the eventual game-winning run.

Cole Backer walked and went to third when Stadler’s pick-off throw sailed down the right field line.

With left-handed batter Hunter Sehr at the plate, Munce called for the safety squeeze that Sehr got down to score Backer.

“We had a left-handed batter on a left-handed pitcher,” Munce said. “We were going to take a strike and then squeeze. That is the game of baseball — you get guys on and then you make the other team execute.”

That was all that Geiger needed as he worked out of a jam in the seventh inning when he put runners on first and second with one out but got an infield out and then a game-ending fly out.

“Jace got us through three [innings] and then we brought in the hard thrower and he shut them down,” Munce said.