ST. JAMES - New Ulm VFW Post 1648 ace right-hander Chase Meyer hurled five perfect innings to open Sunday's Southwest Sub-District championship baseball game in St. James.
Fairmont Post 1222's Cole Emler legged out a leadoff infield hit to end Meyer's bid for perfection in the top of the sixth, but New Ulm's starting pitcher still finished with a four-hitter.
Meyer's complete-game gem, combined with two hits and two runs scored by Alex Stark, engineered New Ulm Gold's 4-1 victory over Fairmont.
TRYING FOR TWO — Fairmont VFW Post 1222 shortstop Spencer Chirpich (right) throws to first base after forcing out New Ulm Gold runner Brach Kraus during Sunday’s Southwest Sub-District championship baseball game in St. James. Fairmont second baseman Parker Monsen looks on. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
New Ulm Gold (24-5), the Southwest Sub-District champion, opens 2nd District action against the Northeast Sub-District runner-up at 7 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Fairmont (15-11), the Southwest Sub-District runner-up, faces the Northeast Sub-District champion at 1 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Park.
"We accomplished what we wanted to this weekend, and that was to qualify for the district tournament," said Post 1222 mentor Todd Sukalski, who led the program to its fifth consecutive district appearance.
While Meyer faced the minimum 15 batters through five three-up and three-down frames, Stark proved the offensive catalyst behind New Ulm plating unearned runs in the bottom of the first and third innings, respectively.
Stark, who went 2-for-3, lined a leadoff single and promptly swiped second base before Fairmont starting pitcher Cole Emler issued a walk to Brach Kraus.
Meyer hit into a forceout that erased Kraus at second base, but the ensuing throw to complete a potential double play eluded the Post 1222 first baseman, allowing the fleet-footed Stark to score for a 1-0 lead.
Stark nearly duplicated his first-inning feat during the home half of the third. New Ulm Gold's leadoff batter drew a walk, wheeled to second base on Kraus' sacrifice bunt and stayed put on a walk to Meyer. Emler coaxed a groundball off Jackson Yackley's bat, but Fairmont's return throw to first skidded away to allow Stark to scamper home for a 2-0 lead.
Meyer then assisted his own cause by clouting a solo home run over the left-field fence off of Post 1222 reliever Parker Monsen with one out in the fifth.
Fairmont, however, recouped the solo run during the top of the sixth. Emler legged out a high-bouncing chopper to third, wheeled to second base when Spencer Chirpich smacked a two-out single to right, moved up 90 feet when Jay Ruen's hot grounder was mishandled and slid home on an ensuing wild pitch.
Three walks and Stark's RBI single into the left-center gap allowed New Ulm to tack on an insurance run during the sixth.
Ben Abel and Michael Hawkins each produced seventh-inning singles for Fairmont before Jonathon Soucek was hit by a Meyer offering to load the bases, but Meyer gloved an infield popout to end the game.
Meyer displayed outstanding control by recording eight strikeouts without issuing a walk in seven innings of work.
Emler allowed two runs - both unearned - on three hits, and walked four in four innings to receive the loss for Fairmont.
Jarin Spence added two hits for New Ulm Gold.
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Cole Emler (LP), Parker Monsen (5), Nate Johnson (6) and Ben Abel. Chase Meyer (WP) and Grant Kannegiesser.
LOB-Fairmont 5; New Ulm 7. HR-Meyer (NU). SAC-Brach Kraus (NU).
Fairmont 9, St. James 3 - Five different batters collected two hits each to power VFW Post 1222 to a 9-3 playback victory over Post 1914 on Saturday in St. James.
Josh Eversman went 2-for-3 with a game-best three RBIs to top Fairmont's 13-hit effort, while teammates Ben Abel and Cole Emler each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Abel also scored two runs.
Spencer Chirpich produced two hits and scored a pair of runs for Post 1222, while Parker Monsen went 2-for-3 and crossed the plate once.
Jay Ruen went 1-for-3 and scored two runs, Bailey Koppen doubled, while Nate Johnson singled and drove in one run in the victory.
Matt Lytle allowed three runs - two earned - on 11 hits, struck out two, walked two and hit two batters in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for Fairmont.
Walker Froehling went 3-for-4 with an RBI to top St. James, while teammates Bransen Petersen, Zach Brandts and Devon Schmitz each contributed two hits. Bransen Petersen doubled, Brandts drove in one run, while Jon Peterson and John Olsen each chipped in a double.
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Matt Lytle (WP) and Ben Abel. Walker Froehling (LP), David Bradley (7) and John Olsen.
LOB-Fairmont 6; St. James 10. 2B-Bailey Koppen (F), Bransen Petersen (SJ), John Olsen (SJ), Jon Peterson (SJ). SAC-Kaleb Mohwinkel (SJ).