Brewers come back to top Stark behind French’s complete game

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Stark Longhorns pitcher David Surprenant (2) up to bat during the Thursday game at Mueller Park Wednesday. Stark lost to the New Ulm Brewers 3-2.

NEW ULM — Through seven innings, Stark left-hander Adam Sellner had held the New Ulm Brewers’ bats to just five hits and had held New Ulm to only one run.

And after setting down the Brewers’ first two batters in the eighth, it looked like Sellner and Stark were going to tighten up the Tomahawk East League as the Longhorns were clinging to a 2-1 lead.

But a Wade French single, followed by an Andrew Peters’ triple and an RBI single off of the bat of Sam Berg, saw the Brewers erase a 2-1 Stark lead and go on to win 3-2.

French got the complete game win for the Brewers, now 13-3 in the Tomahawk East League.

French scattered five Stark hits in the game, with two of them coming in a two-run Longhorns first inning. At one time, the right-handed French set down 11 straight Longhorn hitters. He ended up with six strikeouts.

Staff photo by Gage Cureton New Ulm Brewers pitcher Wade French (8) pitches the ball during the Wednesday game against the Stark Longhorns at Mueller Park. New Ulm beat Stark 3-2.

Sellner took the loss for Stark (8-6). He allowed eight hits, with three of them coming in the two-run New Ulm eighth inning.

He fanned six.

Braden Zimmerman had two hits for the Brewers.

“This has been a great year for our team,” Brewers manager Al Flor said. “This was a team win. We have had unlikely heroes — every time it is a different person that picks up the next guy.”

Stark had taken a fast 2-0 lead over New Ulm in the top of the first when Zach Haala singled, went to second on a French error and scored on a Brandon Helget triple to right field.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Stark Longhorns pitcher David Surprenant (2) pitches the ball during the Wednesday game against the New Ulm Brewers at Mueller Park. Stark fell to New Ulm 3-2.

Helget came home on an Adam Sellner sacrifice fly.

The Brewers cut the lead in half in the third when Justin Hoffmann walked and stole second. He went to third on a Hunter Ranweiler flyout and then scored on a Judd Davis base hit.

The score remained that way as both pitchers dominated the other team’s batters.

“Sellner was pitching really well,” Flor said. “We did square some balls up early and we felt that eventually they would drop in.”

Like Sellner, French was just as tough as he kept the Longhorns off of the scoreboard.

“Sometimes his first inning is the one that we have to jump over,” Flor said.

French agreed that for whatever reason the first inning has been a slow start for him.

“They came out swinging and were hitting the ball,” he said. “But it was the first inning, it was early and I just tried to keep my head up. I knew we were going to score some runs sooner or later.”

That sooner became later in the bottom of the eighth when the Brewers made their comeback with French’s two-out single followed by a Peters’ triple on a 2-2 offering from Sellner to tie the game.

With Peters standing on third, Sam Berg, who had gone hitless in his first two at-bats against Sellner, came though with a clutch single for what would be the game-winning run.

“I was nervous to be honest,” Berg said. “I took a big hack at the first pitch and Al (Flor) called me over and told me to settle down. I went with the pitch — he blew a fastball by me on the first pitch and went the fastball on his second pitch.”