JORDAN – The New Ulm Brewers spotted Loretto a 2-0 lead after two innings before responding with five unanswered runs as the Brewers topped the Larks 9-4 Saturday afternoon in the Class “C” Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
Mitch Kelly shook off a shaky start to pick up the win for New Ulm, now 23-7. Kelly went 6 2/3 innings and gave up all four Loretto runs. He struck out five and gave up four hits. Chris Cariveau and Adam Sellner, a draftee from Stark, finished up.
Jordan Flick, a draftee from Dassel-Cokato, took the season-ending loss for Loretto (16-10).
Cory Ranweiler led the 14-hit New Ulm attack with three hits, including a solo home run. Aaron Pfaff, Brady Ranweiler, Zach Hoffmann and Judd Davis each had two hits for the Brewers. Jason Shaul added a three-run homer in the seventh as New Ulm out-hit Loretto 14-6.
New Ulm will now play the winner of the Sartell-Belle Plaine game at 11 a.m. next Saturday in Belle Plaine.
For the Brewers and manager Al Flor, the early deficit may have been more of an early shock then anything else.
“I think that we were all taken back a little bit by their two runs right away,” he said. “But we fought back and showed what we can do – we can hit.”
Loretto scored single runs off of the righthanded Kelly in the first and second innings – innings where Kelly struggled. He threw 44 pitches in the first two innings but then settled down.
In his final four-plus innings he totaled 60 pitches.
“It took me a couple of innings to warm up,” said Kelly. “I rushed myself – I need to relax and take my time, Later I got on a roll.”
And when Kelly got going he was dominating. After the first two innings, Kelly set down 12 straight Larks hitters before he walked two batters in the seventh inning to end his day.
“He struggled with his location all game,” Flor said. “And he threw a lot of pitches where they were not supposed to be. But he pitched well enough to keep us in the game.”
With Kelly reasonably in command, the Brewers went to work.
New Ulm erased that 2-0 Loretto lead in the bottom of the third inning with three runs.
Matt Suess reached on an error to start the inning before Davis reached on a bunt single. A Pfaff sacrifice bunt moved up both runners.
Garrett Fischer followed with a two-run single to tie the game. Fischer scored on a Cory Ranweiler base hit for a 3-2 Brewers’ lead and end Flick’s mound duties.
Troy Beckman took over and gave up a run in the bottom of the fifth when Cory Ranweiler turned on a 2-2 Beckman offering and sent it over the fence in left field for a 4-2 Brewers’ lead.
New Ulm scored a solo run in the sixth when Shaul was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a passed ball.
He scored on a Davis base hit.
Loretto cut into the New Ulm lead with two runs in the top of the seventh to pull to within 5-4.
However, the Brewers quickly put any water on a Lark’s comeback in the bottom of the inning.
Cory Ranweiler singled and Brady Ranweiler walked.
Pinch-runner Drew Pfaff scored on a Hoffmann base hit before Shaul unloaded the biggest hit of the game with a three-run home run over the right field fence off of reliever George Faue.
Hoffmann’s blast was the final nail in the Loretto season.
“We have good sticks on this team,” said Flor. “And we showed it with 14 hits today. That is what we are all about.”