SLEEPY EYE - Vengeance is a dish best served on Sunday.
New Ulm VFW Gold served said vengeance not once, but twice to Dassel on Sunday with its 8-1 and 4-3 victories at the Northwest Subdistrict in Sleepy Eye. Dassel had previously beaten Gold 1-0 on Thursday to begin subdistrict play.
"We lost the first game of the tournament, so our backs were against the wall the whole time," said Gold coach Derek Wilfahrt. "Those are all positives - coming back, winning five in a row to get the No. 1 seed. That's a big confidence-booster going forward."
Staff photo by Mark Newsom
Members of the New Ulm VFW Gold team celebrate their victory in the Northwest Subdistrict on Sunday in Sleepy Eye. Gold defeated Dassel 8-1 and 4-3 to take top place and advance to district play.
Because Dassel was undefeated in subdistrict play going into Sunday's games, Gold needed to win twice in order to win the tournament. Had Dassel won the first game on Sunday, it would have handed Gold its second loss to advance.
Gabe Knowles punched Gold's ticket to districts in almost an unsurprising way.
Knowles approached the plate after Dassel pitcher Dalton Asplin walked No. 9 batter Brandon Beranek with two outs and the score knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With a 1-1 count, Knowles belted a shot over the center fielder's head to drive in Beranek as the game-winning run.
"I didn't see a curve ball all game, so I was looking for a fastball just to get a base hit and just find a way on," Knowles said. "But I happened to drive one over the center fielder's head."
In Gold's three games against Dassel, Knowles went a combined 9-for-13 with four RBIs and four runs scored.
Even though Beranek's trek to home plate was as dramatic as it could get, the first game was as anti-dramatic as could be.
In that game, Gold took an early 3-1 lead behind an RBI double by Alex Stark in the first and RBI singles by Matt Rowley and Jack Schwartz in the third.
Pitcher Bailey Batt held Dassel scoreless after the third inning en route to the complete-game victory. That, coupled with Gold's bats going to work for 13 hits, solidified a convincing 8-1 victory to force a true elimination game.
Despite only having 30 minutes between games, Wilfahrt said his players were not too tired to keep going.
"Fatigue's not really a factor, all these kids are gamers," Wilfahrt said. "You've just got to go get it done."
The second game saw Asplin, who got the win in Dassel's 1-0 victory last Thursday, take the mound.
Despite not allowing an earned run until the fifth inning, Asplin buckled as Knowles' two-out double put the proverbial nail in Dassel's coffin.
"I was pretty confident he'd get a hit, but I didn't know he'd get a walk-off RBI double," Wilfahrt said of Knowles. "When he's at the plate, good things usually happen."
Gold will move on to district play in Green Isle on Thursday against the No. 2 seed from the Southwest Subdistrict. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
"We've just got to carry the momentum and use our energy to play like we did in districts," Knowles said.
NUG 102 112 1 - 8 13 1
Das. 001 000 0 - 1 5 0
Das. 020 001 0 - 3 4 3
NUG 100 110 1 - 4 8 3