NEW ULM - Jacob Gieseke's sacrifice fly to right field with one out in the bottom of the ninth scored Tanner Kluis from third and lifted New Ulm Legion Gold to a 5-4 win over Worthington Sunday afternoon at Johnson Park to capture the first Sub-State 2 Championship.
Jordan Guggisberg got the pitching win for New Ulm. The righthander went the distance and allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out five.
Logan Rogers took the season-ending loss for Worthington (17-6). He pitched the ninth inning in relief of starter Lucas Henning, who ran out of innings in the tournament. He allowed 10 hits and fanned six.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Legion Gold’s Tanner Kluis (14) is greeted at home plate by his teammates Jory Dove (center), Wyatt Peterson and Tim Kehren after he scores the winning run in the top of the ninth inning in the Sub-State 2 championship game against Worthington Sunday at Johnson Park in New Ulm. Gold advances to the Legion State Tournament with the win.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Blake Rogers and Tyler Hattermann each had two hits for Post 5.
Drew Pfaff paced Gold's offense with four hits and two runs scored. Tim Kehren and Gieseke each had three hits for New Ulm.
New Ulm Gold, 25-7 on the season, now advances to the Minnesota State American Legion Baseball Tournament. They will play 10 a.m. Friday in Richfield at the high school field against the Sub-State 1 winner. Sub-State 1 finals were delayed until today by rain.
Sunday's championship game forced Gold to overcome Worthington leads of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-1 early in the game and eventually earn the win.
"In the beginning I do not believe that we played real sharp," said Gold coach Bob Weier. "Jordan was not sharp. We did not play real sharp, and we did not hit the ball until the fourth inning. Then we started to hit the ball."
Worthington took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Aaron Pavelko walked and scored on a RBI double from Blake Rogers.
Gold knotted the contest in the bottom of the second when Pfaff collected the first of his four hits with a base hit to left field. Gieseke singled him to second and Guggisberg followed by reaching on an error to load the bases.
Tim Kehren then coaxed a walk to force in Pfaff to tie the game.
But Post 5 scored twice in the third on a Lucas Henning two-run double to take a 3-1 lead before making it a 4-1 game in the fourth on New Ulm's only error of the game.
That run would be the last one allowed by Guggisberg. He scattered three harmless singles in the final five innings.
"Jordan did not have his best stuff," said Weier. "But he started to hit his stride.He started to show his command and was very effective. My biggest concern was his pitch count (130 for the game.)"
Gold picked away at the lead.
In the bottom of the fourth Gieseke singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Nick Dewanz.He raced home on a bloop single to right field by Guggisberg. Kehren and Brach Kraus both reached on consecutive errors from Post 5 shortstop Logan Rogers that loaded the bases. Meyer's walk forced in Gieseke to cut the lead to 4-3.
Pfaff's second hit of the game to lead off the fifth inning resulted in a run. Gieseke followed with a base hit before Pfaff scored on a two-out double off the bat of Kehren that tied the game at 4-4.
Gold pieced together the game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth when Tanner Kluis walked and went to third on Pfaff's fourth hit of the game.
"This is a compliment, but he is streaky hitter, "Weier said about Pfaff. "He can go 0-for-7 but then go 4-for-4. ... When he hits the ball, he hits it solid. He had a great at-bat in the ninth inning."
"This is three years in a row for me," said Pfaff about winning the last two District Two titles and now a Sub-State 2 crown. "It is nice to go back again. Their pitcher (Henning) is a Minnesota State-Mankato redshirt, and he was tough. We got some chances, and we finally pulled through in the ninth."