Harrisburg shuts out Springfield

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Springfield’s Mitchell Buerkle connects with a pitch during the opening game of the Upper Midwest Classic tournament against Harrisburg on Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Springfield Post 257 outhit Harrisburg on Thursday in the opening game of the Upper Midwest Classic. Unfortunately for Springfield, those hits didn’t translate to any runs in a 3-0 loss at Johnson Park.

It also didn’t help that Harrisburg lefty and starting pitcher Jared Inskeep kept Springfield batters from reaching when it mattered. Inskeep got the win, striking out 12 while allowing five hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings.

Springfield head coach Carter Erickson said that it’s always tough going against a left-handed pitcher, and with it being the first time his team took on Harrisburg, they had a tough time.

“Timely hitting — we just didn’t get the one or two hits that we needed,” Erickson said. “We had runners in scoring position four out of the seven innings, and we could have scored. And those three runs that we gave up were because of walks [and hit batters] to start off innings. That’s going to hurt you, and that’s what you preach as a coach.”

Harrisburg took a 1-0 lead in the first after Collin Kehrwald got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He later scored on a passed ball.

Harrisburg added another run in the third after Kehrwald took a two-out walk and was driven in on a base hit from Trevor Berreth. Inskeep took a bases-loaded walk in the sixth to score the final run of the game.

Hunter Mathiowetz got the loss in five innings of work, allowing just one earned run with four strikeouts. He allowed two hits and three walks.

Mathiowetz escaped trouble in the fourth inning after two walks and a wild pitch had runners in scoring position for Harrisburg. He got a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning.

He also escaped trouble in the fifth after a double from Nick Zabel led off the inning. He forced a popout on a bunt, followed by a 1-3 groundout and a strikeout to end the inning.

Springfield got a hit each from Henry Scheitel and Mathiowetz in the first inning but failed to bring anyone in.

Springfield’s Nolan Hovland led off the fifth inning with a bloop single to center, but Inskeep struck out the next three men he faced, ending the first half of inning. Hovland again singled in the seventh with two away, and despite Dylan Batlaff reaching next on an error, Harrisburg reliever Zachary Ryan Felderman ended the game after a shallow popout.

Mason Rummel also added a hit for Springfield.

Springfield is without two key leaders for the UMC in Isaac Fink and Decker Scheffler, and that certainly makes things more challenging for the team.

“It hurts not to have them here, it really does,” Erickson said. “You don’t want to say it, but it does. Those are two leaders of the team, so if you don’t have that, it brings a team down a little bit.”

Erickson still said, however, that his team has responded well to the pressure.

“But these guys have stepped up, and we’ve played well,” Erickson said. “Today we outhit them [Harrisburg, 5-4]. We didn’t hit well by any means, but we outhit them, we played well defensively, and what more can you ask for from your pitching staff, too? That’s just baseball.”

Post 257 next takes on Chaska at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Johnson Park.