Maiers blanks Chargers

Photo courtesy of Valerie Fischer Minnesota Valley Lutheran third baseman Leyton Brau tags out Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart’s Dylan Maiers at third base during Thursday’s Section 2A playoff baseball game at Johnson Park.

NEW ULM — With a pair of aces on the mound for Thursday’s Section 2A playoff opener, it was a pretty safe assumption that runs were going to be tough to come by.

Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart managed to push across a single run in the fourth inning, then watched as Dylan Maiers shut down the Minnesota Valley Lutheran bats in the process. BLHS advanced to the second round, ending MVL’s season with a 1-0 win at Johnson Park.

Maiers went the distance. He struck out four and allowed two hits. He escaped a late jam when he got MVL’s Luke Thompson to hit a soft liner back to him for the game’s final out. At that point, the Chargers had runners on second and third with two outs. With the game riding on Maiers, he came through.

“I was just not trying to think about it, just trying to stay calm,” Maiers said of the late-game situation.

Jace Marotz took the loss for MVL. The junior was tough all game, too. But the Mustangs were able to take advantage of a Seth Kirtz leadoff single. After stealing second, Kirtz eventually scored on a grounder by Braden McColley for the game’s only run.

Marotz allowed five hits and struck out five in the loss.

“This is definitely a Tomahawk playoff game where we’re not going to see a ton of scoring because the pitchers are going to throw strikes and the defense is going to play sound behind them,” MVL coach John Gunderson said. ”That’s what we saw on both sides, give it to them, they were able to get that one run across and we weren’t able to.

“Jace looked great, he had been doing that all year,” Gunderson said. “For the most part, giving up one run is not going to mean that we’re going to go home on the losing side, usually that’ll mean that we’re going to win that game. Just not today.”

Maiers, for one, is confident in his team’s ability. The Mustangs face No. 2 seed Springfield in Springfield on Tuesday.

“We’re pretty confident, I think we can beat Springfield,” Maiers said.