West knocks out New Ulm
NEW ULM — Mankato West pushed across two runs in the top of the seventh inning after two were out to break a 5-5 tie as the Scarlets eliminated New Ulm 7-5 Saturday morning in a Section 2AAA baseball playoff game.
Avery Miller got the win for the Scarlets (14-9). He went six innings and held the Eagles to four hits. Three of the Eagles’ runs were unearned as West was guilty of five errors in the game. Lucas Warner earned the save for Mankato West pitching a scoreless seventh inning.
Braden Zimmerman took the season-ending loss for the Eagles as the defending Section 2AAA champions end their season at 11-12.
Warner led the Scarlets with three hits with Avery Miller, Sam Vosburg and Andrew Mihm each adding two hits. Mihm had two RBIs as West out-hit the Eagles 13-4 in the game.
“It was playoff baseball and the ball bounced their way today,” Eagles coach Kevin Briggs said. “I was proud of the kids in the way that we battled. We did not hit particularly well today but we put pressure on them.”
When the Eagles did put the ball in play — particularly against the Scarlets’ infield defense — New Ulm got results.
After West took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a Mihm RBI single to right field, the Eagles took advantage of a West error.
Zimmerman and Cole Ranweiler singled to start the inning. Both tagged up and advanced a base on a Colton Schaefer fly out to right field.
Hunter Sehr’s safety squeeze scored Zimmerman and when the West third baseman’s throw was low to first, Ranweiler scored.
West regained the lead in the third with four runs off of New Ulm starter Teagan Kamm, getting five of its 13 hits in the game and taking a 5-2 lead.
“Hitting is contagious and they kept hitting it where we weren’t and they put together a big inning,” Briggs said.
But another costly infield error by West allowed New Ulm to score two more runs to slice West’s lead to 5-4 in the fourth inning.
Zimmerman was nicked by a pitch to start the inning and Schaefer legged out a one-out infield single. A balk moved up both runners. Evan Wiltscheck’s groundball to third was thrown away and let both Zimmerman and Schaefer to score.
The Eagles then tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Ranweiler singled and took second on Schaefer’s sacrifice bunt. An error by Miller put him on third and a Sehr sacrifice fly tied the game.
“We did not roll over — we battled back and kept putting pressure on them,” Briggs said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win.”
And it looked like the game would go into the bottom of the seventh tied. After a hit batsman, Zimmerman retired the next two batters. But three straight hits and a walk scored four runs and ended New Ulm’s season.