Brewers top Longhorns, win Region 2C championship
Stark rallies past Lamberton, earns state berth
FAIRFAX — New Ulm Brewers manager Al Flor said it was not one of his team’s best performances this season in the Region 2C championship game against Stark Saturday in Fairfax.
“But it was just good enough,” he said.
The New Ulm Brewers took a 3-0 lead over Stark after three innings and then plated single runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings as they downed the Longhorns 6-3 to win the Region 2C championship.
Adam Nilson, the second of three pitchers used in the game, got the win as New Ulm improved to 30-3 on the season.
Mitch Bockenstedt pitched the final four innings and allowed an unearned run.
Josh Kopacek took the loss for Stark, going nine innings. He allowed 10 hits and fanned four.
Hunter Ranweiler had four hits for the Brewers and drove in two runs.
Brandon Helget and Josh Kopacek each had two hits for Stark.
Both New Ulm and Stark qualified for the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament beginning next weekend in Faribault, Dundas and Miesville.
With the Brewers having already in the state tournament, Flor said it was a “lackluster, not a game to get up for. But Stark battled to get to this game (earlier in the day) and you could tell that. They are a friendly opponent, so it was hard to get motivated.”
The Brewers 3-0 lead came on a single run in the first when Colton Schaefer doubled and later scored on a Hunter Ranweiler sacrifice fly.
New Ulm mad it 3-0 in the third on a Trevor Nissen sacrifice fly and a strikeout and ensuing passed ball.
Stark cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth on a two-run single from Brandon Helget off Brewers starter Adam Slander, who left after the single with a blister on a finger his pitching hand.
“He got that blister and we had to make due with our other pitchers,” Flor said. “It was not exactly planned that way, but it worked out.”
Stark would get just three more hits in the game and just one run.
New Ulm padded their lead in the bottom of the fourth when J.T. Hoffmann walked, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on a Hunter Ranweiler double.
In the fifth, the Brewers scored when Jaden Domeier and Andrew Peters singled before Domeier scored on a wild pitch.
Stark cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the seventh on a Kopacek single that scored Zach Haala from third. Haala got to third on a rare triple after popping up a pitch in between home plate and the mound. After the ball dropped in between a few Brewers, Haala raced to second and third base, which were both left uncovered.
The Brewers added an insurance run in the eighth on an error and another Hunter Ranweiler double for his fourth hit of the game.
“Every hit he had today came on two strikes,” Flor said. “He is by far our best two-strike hitter. And our pitchers did well and we had some key errors that we usually do not make. But we will clean it up.”
Earlier in the day and coming off of a 14-inning win over Springfield Friday night, Stark pulled off a comeback win against Lamberton.
The Longhorns scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to erase a 3-1 Lamberton lead for a 4-3 win.
Zach Haala got the win for Stark. He gave up three runs to Lamberton in the first inning — aided by two Stark errors — and shut them down after that.
Haala allowed just six hits the rest of the way.
Eli Fest took the loss for Lamberton.
Singles from Brandon Helget, Adam Sellner, Haala and Nick Labat keyed the winning rally.
After the Stark-New Ulm game, the Brewers drafted pitchers Eli Fest from Lamberton, Mark Schommer of Searles and Tori Helget from Springfield.
Stark drafted pitchers Justin Haugo from Springfield along with Jackson Bode and Chase Meyer from Courtland.