By Jim Bastian
Journal Sports Writer
NEW?ULM? - Sometimes a team will play down to a lesser opponent's ability and there are times that a lesser team will step up to the level of that better team.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Zack Hoffmann drives a pitch during the Brewers’ amateur playoff game against Redwood Falls Friday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Friday night, you could say that the 1-21 Redwood Falls Redbirds played up to the 20-2 New Ulm Brewers level for six innings before reality and errors set in.
The Brewers scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to three hits and three Redbirds' errors before tacking on three more runs in the eighth thanks to another error as New Ulm clipped the Redbirds 9-0 in the first game of the best-of-three Tomahawk East League playoff game.
Wade French got the win for New Ulm. He went eight innings and allowed just two hits while striking out 10.
John Jenniges took the loss for Redwood Falls. He went seven innings and was charged with six runs with four of the runs unearned.
Aaron Pfaff, Cory Ranweiler, Brady Ranweiler, Chris Peters, Zach Hoffmann and Drew Pfaff all had two hits for the Brewers.
Game two of the series is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Redwoods Falls.
Despite the big difference in each teams's record, Brewers' manager Al Flor was not surprised by the tight game for six innings.
"Their pitcher John Jenniges has been on of the better pitchers in the last decade," he said. "He just had not pitched much for them this year - he had arm trouble."
Jenniges yielded single runs in the second and third innings to the Brewers with a wild pitch and a groundout allowing the runs.
That precarious 2-0 lead was all that the hard-hitting New Ulm team could muster off of Jenniges for six innings.
"We have to have patience at the plate," Flor said. "You have to have patience in this game - it is nine innings to play so you have to wait."
New Ulm did wait and used some help from the Redbirds' defense to finally get to Jenniges.
In the seventh, Aaron Pfaff singled with one out. After Jenniges got the second out, the Redbirds' defense had consecutive errors on three New Ulm batters that allowed two runs to score for a 4-0 lead.
A Hoffmann RBI single made it 5-0 before Zach More singled in the fourth run of the inning.
The Brewers scored three more runs in the bottom of the eighth off of reliever Tim Krueger on a Brady Ranweiler double, a French sacrifice fly and a Peters; base hit all following the fourth Redbirds' error of the game.