New Ulm VFW Silver defeats Mankato VFW

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau New Ulm VFW Silver’s Jaden Drill makes a throw from third to first in Monday’s VFW playoff game against the Mankato Royals in Sleepy Eye.

SLEEPY EYE — It took New Ulm VFW Silver a little while on Monday to put runs on the board against the Mankato Royals in District 2, Southwest Subdistrict playoff action, but a fifth-inning two-run double by Jaden Drill with the bases full was a nice way to get Silver started.

Those two runs proved to be huge for Silver as they came away with a 3-2 win over Mankato at Sleepy Eye Ballpark.

After a pair of walks with one out in the top of the fifth to Zander Fischer and Isaiah Rieser, Carter Lang was walked intentionally to fill the bases and create a force at any bag. Drill took advantage of the bases-full situation, however, driving a pitch to left field for a two-run double and a 2-0 Silver lead.

“He [Mankato’s Collin Jacobs] was a leftie, so it just came in on me and I just went with it and it flew,” Drill said of the pitch he took to left for the two-run double.

Aiden Eckstein brought in Silver’s third run with two outs in the same inning on a base hit to left, scoring Lang for a 3-0 Silver lead.

Drill led Silver at the plate, going 2 for 3 with the two-run double, while Carter Lang and Isaiah Rieser each had a single for Silver’s other two hits in the game.

Mankato made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh, getting three consecutive two-out hits to trail 3-1 after a Danny Bequette RBI single. Collin Jacobs then pushed Mankato’s streak of hits in the inning to four after driving a pitch to left-center to score Jaden Mann and have Mankato down by one. During the play, however, Silver left fielder Brayden Geariety fired the throw in to third to get Bequette out for the final out of the inning and the win.

Geariety already came up with two nice diving grabs in left field earlier in the game, but his throw from left-center was perhaps his biggest play of the evening. Silver committed just one error in the game, that coming in the seventh inning after an errant throw to first allowed a runner to take second.

Jace Schaefer got the complete game win for Silver, giving up nine hits and a walk for two runs allowed. The left-handed Collin Jacobs took the loss for Mankato in six innings of work, allowing all three Silver runs.

Schaefer had three straight 1-2-3 innings during the game.

“Jace keeps the ball down nice, he’s our leading pitcher this year,” Silver coach John Giefer said. “Leading innings, leading ERA and he keeps the ball down and guys hit it into the ground and he kind of keeps them off balance. Our defense knows what’s coming and they make plays for him. He’s done this kind of thing all year.”

Silver will now play Sleepy Eye VFW Post 800 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Sleepy Eye as tournament action continues. When asked about Sleepy Eye, Drill kept things short and said, “We can beat ’em.”

Giefer said that Drill will need that confidence Tuesday night when he takes the mound for Silver.

“We can [beat them] and they can beat us, it’s what we’ve got going,” Giefer said of Sleepy Eye. “And I’m glad he’s [Drill] got that kind of confidence because he’s starting pitching [Tuesday]. Hopefully that rides through for [Tuesday]. It’s their home field, and they got to sit and wait until our top [pitcher’s] gone.”