Sleepy Eye VFW tops Mankato

ESSIG – The Sleepy Eye VFW baseball team got the hits it needed to defeat Mankato VFW 2-1 in Day 2 of the Junior Upper Midwest Classic on Friday at Essig Ballpark.

Sleepy Eye (9-1) beat New Ulm VFW Silver on Thursday night and are now 2-0 in the tournament.

“We weren’t perfect offensively, but anytime you get pitching where you don’t give up free bases … I’ll take one error with a win like this,” said Sleepy Eye coach Dustin Mangen. “We had phenomenal defense when we needed to. I’m really happy with the effort, it’s a good win.”

Dylan Klein got the win for Sleepy Eye, going the distance and allowing one unearned run on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

Klein was backed up by a defense that was able to make quick outs when it needed to. Third baseman Austin Fischer accounted for six assisted putouts, nixing the Royals from stringing together hits for potential runs.

“He’s been solid over there,” Mangen said of Fischer. “He’s a two, three-year varsity starter at [Sleepy Eye] Public, he’s really come into his own this year. I think he’s really taken that next step from what he’s done.”

Sleepy Eye began the game with hits from Sam Tessmer and Jared Beltz, but left the bases stranded without any runs in the first.

Sean Salfer was driven in by a sacrifice ground from Koden Kosak in the second for the first run of the game.

Sleepy Eye held a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning, when Luke Kolars drove in Dylan Findlay with a two-out RBI single to tie the game 1-1. Klein struck out Deslauriers to end the inning.

Sleepy Eye turned around and broke the tie in the top of the sixth, when Klein drove in Nathan Schroepfer, who had walked, advanced on a throwing error by the pitcher and again on a sacrifice groundout by Beltz before scoring.

Klein and Kosak recorded the two RBIs for Sleepy Eye. All three runs scored in the game were unearned.

Sleepy Eye continues its stand at the Junior Upper Midwest Classic at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Mueller Park, when it plays Osseo. It will follow that up with a game against Wayzata at 3:30 p.m. at Mueller.

“Expectations are high,” Mangen said. “We’re 2-0, we’re set up good going into tomorrow. Hopefully we take care of business tomorrow and see what happens.

“The biggest thing is that you want to get to Sunday. No matter how you do it, you want to get there. That’s the goal right now and we’re in a good spot to do that.”

Sleepy Eye 010 001 0 – 2 5 1

Mankato 000 010 0 – 1 5 5

Hiechel and Carpenter; Klein and Schroepfer.

W – Klein (S) 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

L – Hiechel (M) 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Leading hitters – Sleepy Eye: Tessmer 1-4, Beltz 1-3, Klein 1-3 1 RBI, Salfer 1-3 1 R, Mielke 1-3; Mankato: Kolars 1-3 1 RBI, Frericks 1-3 2B, Hiechel 1-3, Carpenter 1-3.

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