Mankato eliminates New Ulm VFW Silver

Staff photo by Jeremy Behnke New Ulm Silver’s Carter Lang delivers a pitch against Mankato in the VFW baseball playoffs Thursday in Sleepy Eye.

SLEEPY EYE — While New Ulm Silver had some chances, the team couldn’t come up with the big hit when it needed to.

The Mankato Royals ended New Ulm Silver’s VFW season with a 6-4 win in Sleepy Eye in the Northwest Subdistrict playoffs on Thursday.

New Ulm committed four errors in the game and stranded six runners.

The game was tough for both teams because of the heat, but New Ulm coach John Giefer said that wasn’t an excuse.

“Both teams had to deal with it, they had to deal with it twice [Mankato defeated St. James earlier in the day], so that can’t be an excuse,” Giefer said. “But there were some boys that were feeling it, catcher and pitcher for sure. But they got some big hits in situations and we didn’t. We had few errors and actually some bad hops. The field didn’t play that well today, there were some bad hops that happened and that’s baseball.”

Mankato put the pressure on Silver right away, scoring three times in the top of the first off starter Carter Lang. But New Ulm got a run back in the bottom of the first when Lang walked and eventually scored on a double by Aiden Eckstein.

The Royals added another run in the top of the third after Wyatt Block scored on an error.

But New Ulm rallied in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three times to tie the game at 4-4. Zander Fischer, Isaiah Riser and Lang all had an RBI, scoring Maddox Mortenson, Josh Giefer and Zander Fischer.

But Mankato scored two runs off reliever Jaden Drill — one run in the sixth and another in the seventh — to end Silver’s season at 11-15. Drill took the loss for Silver.

Giefer was proud of his team, which was younger than most opponents it played this year.

“We played quite a few junior legion teams this year and those guys are going to be a senior,” Giefer said. “A lot of our guys are not at that level yet, it’s an eye-opener, it’s a different way of playing baseball when you’ve played the youth level growing up. It’s an adjustment period and we did okay. Offensively it was another game for those guys. Our team batting averaged hovered around .220 most of the year, but that’s alright, they’ll get better in the next year.”