VFW Gold works overtime, falls short to Mankato West
NEW ULM — The Mankato West Junior Legion baseball team scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and defeat New Ulm VFW Gold 6-3 Sunday for the Junior Upper Midwest Classic title.
Kaylor Chamberlain got the win in relief for West, who avenged a 6-0 loss to VFW Gold in the opening round.
Lucas Suess took the loss for Gold. He went 8 2/3 innings and was charged with six runs — three of them were unearned — and struck out three.
Jake Finstad led New Ulm with three hits, with Zach Riederer adding two.
Adam Timm led West with three hits.
VFW Gold coach Collin Helget was pleased with his team’s effort in the tournament that saw them get to the finals with a 3-2 walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th over Prior Lake to get to the championship earlier in the day.
“Overall we played well,” he said. “This was a rematch from Thursday. I told our guys that unfortunately there has to be a loser. I am beyond proud of the players on what they did this weekend.”
West scored three runs in the top of the third inning after two were out when Adam Timm and Mason DuRose singled. A infield error allowed Timm to score. Chamberlain followed with an RBI single and a second infield error made it 3-0.
“That is how baseball goes,” Helget said about the errors. “It takes one inning.”
Gold did battle back with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to tie the game.
In the fourth, Kaden Larson reached on an error and took second on a wild pitch. A Cody Serbus groundout moved him to third and Matt Seidl singled him home.
In the fifth, Zach Riederer led off with a single and took second on an error. A Logan Mielke single and a Larson groundout plated Riederer.
New Ulm then tied the game in the sixth when Parker Kamm and Seidl walked. A Jake Finstad base hit scored Kamm.
VFW Gold threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning when they loaded the bases but failed to score.
“We did not hang our heads when we got down — we got baserunners and we had a shot to win.”
The nine-inning contest was the second extra-inning game played by New Ulm on Sunday.
In the opener, Cody Serbus’ two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning scored pinch runner Zack Paszkiewicz from third to cap a two-run inning and give New Ulm a 3-2 win over Prior Lake.
Kaden Wilson got the win for New Ulm. He went 10 innings, struck out five and allowed five hits.
Serbus had two hits for New Um.
“That first game was a marathon,” Helget said. “Everybody contributed and it was a lot of fun — it was a tight game all the way.”
Prior Lake broke a scoreless game with a run in the top of the seventh. New Ulm tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Serbus walked and raced to third on a throwing error. He scored on a Parker Kamm suicide squeeze bunt.
Prior Lake scored a run in the top of the 10th, but Gold put together a two-run, game-winning rally in the bottom of the inning.
Zach Riederer and Logan Mielke laced back-to-back singles before Larson got the third single of the inning to tie the game at 2-2.
After a strikeout, Cody Serbus ended the game with New Ulm’s fourth single of the inning.
Helget said that he is seeing this team bonding together recently.
“Even last weekend we saw guy starting to mesh together,” he said. “Everyone is stepping up. We put on a show for our home fans. We can see them coming together as a team.”
And the Gold pitching staff was stellar.
“Up until this point, we had given up four runs in five games and I am beyond proud of all of the pitchers and players on this team.”
VFW Gold hosts Marshall Tuesday night at Mueller Park for a doubleheader starting at 5:45 p.m.