Mankato East holds off New Ulm

File photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Noah Hauge (11) prepares to make a throw to first baseman Nolan Drill (7) for the out during a recent home game at Johnson Park.

NEW ULM — Mankato East jumped to a 4-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings and then had to hang on to down New Ulm 4-3 Friday afternoon in a nonconference baseball game at New Ulm High School.

Jaeden Kenwood got the win for the Cougars (14-2). He went 4 1/3 innings and was charged with the three runs- all unearned.

Braden Zimmerman took the loss for New Ulm (8-10). He went six innings and allowed all four runs. He gave up 11 hits.

Jake Prybylla and Jackson Keller each had two hits for Mankato East.

Zimmerman had two of the six hits for New Ulm.

New Ulm coach Kevin Briggs said that the loss was due in large part to something that has plagued the Eagles most of the season.

“We started slow again,” he said. “We dug ourselves a hole against a good team and before you know it we are down 4-0. We tried to come back and I am proud of the kids for doing that, but sometimes the holes are too big.”

East scored twice in the first inning and then added solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

An RBI triple off of the bat of Ryan Kuechle and a Travis Noreen base hit gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead in the first before Jared Grams singled in a run in the fourth and Jack Clifford doubled in a run in the fifth.

The Eagles, who host Owatonna in a doubleheader Monday at Johnson Park, would cut the Cougars’ lead to 4-3 with three runs on just one hit, using three East errors in the process.

Hunter Sehr’s wind-blown single started off the inning. Colton Schaefer followed with a walk.

The next three batters — Evan Wiltscheck, Noah Hauge and Jaden Domeier — all reached safely on infield errors, with two runs scoring. A third run came home on a fielder’s choice.

“When we put pressure on them, good things happen, “ Briggs said.

New Ulm mounted a potential game-tying threat in the seventh when Hauge led off with a base hit. A Domeier sacrifice bunt moved Hauge to second. But that was as far as he got as reliever Jake Prybylla retired the next two batters.

Briggs said he was happy with Zimmerman’s performance after the first inning, allowing only two runs in the next five innings.

“That has been his MO,” Briggs said. “He comes out slow and then settles in. And we had chances to score but could not get that key hit.”

The Eagles came into the game as the number four seed in Section 2AAA according to QRF, with East at No. 1.

“I am guessing we will be a four or five seed,” he said. “I do not think that we will be at home because Marshall has a better record. I think that we go on the road.”