Column: New Ulm Junior Gold and Legion Gold wrap up their respective seasons
To say that the American Legion baseball program was a success again here in New Ulm this summer may be an understatement.
Combined, New Ulm Legion Gold and the New Ulm Junior Legion (or Junior Gold) each earned state tournament trips.
Legion Gold won the Upper Midwest Classic, beating teams like Creighton Prep, Chaska and Eastview.
Both teams earned Sub-State titles and each won two games in their respective state tournaments, with Legion Gold defeating Cold Spring and St. Cloud and Junior Gold beating Bloomington Gold and Eden Prairie.
Combined, they posted a 57-15 record, with Legion Gold going 33-6 and Junior Gold ending at 24-9.
And on the field, each team conducted themselves with class.
Both teams had teams where everyone contributed at one point in the season.
In the Gopher Classic, every player started a game.
In watching Chris Peters of Legion Gold and Mike Munce of Junior Gold coach their respective teams, you could tell that they were “players coaches” in that they both worked well with their teams.
They were not intense coaches but rather they let the players play the game, did not pressure them, but were also respected by their players.
New Ulm is very fortunate to have both of these men as head coaches. They worked well with the players from all three high schools in New Ulm.
Legion Gold loses just three players for next year.
But those three players — Mark Schommer, Aaron Portner and Hunter Ranweiler — will be very difficult to replace.
Schommer and Portner were the backbone of the Gold pitching staff and Ranweiler was the leader on the field from his catching spot. I can’t remember a Gold player getting as many intentional walks as Ranweiler received.
He got four walks in one game — two intentional and the other two unintentional intentional walks.
But with the bulk of the Gold team eligible to come back and with players from Junior Gold and VFW Silver coming up, the future looks bright.
POSSIBLE GOPHER CLASSIC GAMES HERE IN TWO YEARS: With the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament here next season, there was talk at this year’s Gopher Classic about possibly moving two “pods” of the Gopher Classic games (four teams in each pod) to Johnson and Mueller Parks in 2021 because of the facilities here.
REGION 2C GAMES TUESDAY NIGHT: The New Ulm Brewers’ 5-4 win over Stark this past Sunday night leaves the Brewers as the only unbeaten team in the Region 2C round-robin playoffs.
The Brewers host Lamberton (1-1) Tuesday night at Mueller Park, with Stark (1-1) at Springfield (1-1) and Sleepy Eye (1-1) at the 0-2 Hanska.
All games are at 7:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, the Brewers are at Hanska and Lamberton is at Sleepy Eye for first-pitch games at 7:30 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Springfield plays at the Brewers, with Stark at Lamberton.