Brewers clinch playoff berth

NEW ULM?- In a game in which hits were few and far between, the New Ulm Brewers got a key hit at the right time.

Wade French’s two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Garrett Fischer from second to earn the Brewers a berth in the Minnesota state amateur baseball tournament with a 1-0 win against Springfield on Friday night in Region 2C play.

While French’s hit – one of only four in the game for the Brewers – was big, it was oveshadowed by a shutout pitching performance by righthander Chris Cariveau.

Cariveau went the distance on the mound for the Brewers, allowing just two hits to the Tigers – a third-inning base hit to Matt Vogel and a ninth-inning infield single to Brandon Wilhelmi – in getting the state tournament berth win. Cariveau fanned two and walked two.

“It was just awesome,” said Cariveau who stranded four Tiger runners on base in the game. “Everyone played well together. We played well as a team tonight – we came together.”

Dayton Larson took the loss for Springfield. The draftee from Hanska permitted just four hits and also struck out two. Larson worked out of New Ulm scoring threats in four of the first seven innings as the Brewers stranded nine runners on base through that time.

“Dayton pitched a hell of a game,” said Tigers’ manager Steve Helget. “They got the one big hit that they needed. Both pitchers threw well – there were only six total hits in the game – and we did not give them nothing. They had to earn it.”

The only run of the game came after there were two outs in the home half of the eighth.

Fischer singled to right field and swiped second setting the stage for French’s double.

But New Ulm fans had seen the Brewers mount threats off of Larson earlier in the game and come away empty-handed.

In the second, the Brewers had runners on first and second with two outs but failed to score. In the fourth inning, Brady Ranweiler and Chris Peters coaxed consecutive walks to start the inning but again failed to score.

And in the bottom of the seventh, the Brewers used a two-out single from Aaron Pfaff – who had two of New Ulm’s four hits in the game – and a walk to Cory Ranweiler before Larson got Zach Hoffmann on a foul fly to end another threat.

“Our defense played very well,” Helget said. “And Cariveau has always pitched well against us all year. He has our number for some reason, you got to hand it to him.”

Cariveau wasn’t quick to defer Helget’s sentiment.

“For the most part I have had success against them,” Cariveau said. “I maybe have had one game where I lost to them but besides that we have beaten them every game that I have pitched.”

Springfield now has a big game Saturday when it hosts Lamberton at 8 p.m at Riverside Park.

“We have a couple of options on the mound but I am not sure who,” Helget said. “We will be ready to go.”

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