Mankato defeats Gold, 15-11

NEW ULM – Rarely does a baseball game that is two outs away from the 10-run rule become a close game.

New Ulm VFW Gold was down 15-4 in the top of the fifth inning to Mankato, but Gold managed to score seven runs in a comeback effort before falling to Mankato 15-11 in the 2013 Junior Upper Midwest Classic Championship game on Sunday.

Gold scored four runs in the fifth inning and added three in the top of the sixth, but its efforts were not enough to overcome Mankato.

Kevin Kleist got the pitching win for Mankato. He was the second of three pitchers used in the game by Post 950.

Jarin Spence took the loss for New Ulm (17-4). He relieved starter Baily Batt after a four-run inning by Mankato. Spence allowed the remaining 11 runs.

Cooper Wolfe and Connor Wollenzein each had two hits for Mankato.

Gabe Knowles and Matt Rowley each had three hits for New Ulm. Knowles drove in four runs, and Alex Stark brought in two runs.

Mankato outhit New Ulm 19-13.

“We did not give up,”?said New Ulm coach Derek Wilfahrt whose team lost to Mankato for the third time this season. “Mankato hit the ball – jumped on us early, but we answered and gave ourselves a chance toward the end of the game.”

Mankato scored in each of the first four innings to take a seemingly comfortable 15-4 lead going into the top of the fifth inning.

Then Gold rallied.

Jack Schwartz singled, and Rowley followed with a double. Connor Forbrook reached on an error that allowed Schwartz to score. After two outs, Knowles delivered a two-run triple to cut the lead to 15-7 and end Ryan Thiessen’s day. Kleist allowed an RBI single to Stark as New Ulm crept closer at 15-8.

Gold added three runs in the sixth inning.

Collin Helget walked before Luke Irmiter and Schwartz singled to load the bases with no outs.

A Rowley single brought in a run before a fielder’s choice closed the gap to 15-10. Kevin Marzolf became the third Mankato pitcher, and he allowed a run-scoring base hit to Knowles to pull Gold to 15-11.

In the top of the seventh inning Helget reached on a one-out infield single before Marzolf retired the last two batters.

“I have to tip my hat to my players,”?said Wilfahrt. “They stayed in it. They battled and made a game of it. There are a lot of coaching points here in that you never give up. Baseball is a weird game. We had our chances.”

New Ulm gained the title game with a 4-2 win over Hutchinson earlier Sunday.

Helget got the win for New Ulm. Spence, Irmiter and Brandon Beranek each had two hits. Both of Irmiter’s hits were doubles, driving in three runs.

Mankato reached the title game with a 1-0 win over the Tonka Mudhens.

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