New Ulm Gold zips Fairmont in sub-state legion opener

TURNING TWO — Fairmont American Legion Post 36 second baseman Lance Becker (left) forces out New Ulm Post 132 runner Josh Seidl at second base en route to turning a double play during Division 1, Sub-State 2 baseball tournament action Wednesday night in New Ulm. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

NEW ULM — Cole Backer shut down the Fairmont bats.

Backer pitched all six innings in a 10-0, six-inning run-rule shortened baseball game. New Ulm Gold American Legion Post 132 beat Fairmont Post 36 in the first round of the American Legion Division 1, Sub-State 2 tournament Wednesday night at Mueller Field in New Ulm.

Backer worked his way through the Fairmont lineup, allowing only two hits and two walks, while never letting a runner reach third. Backer struck out five.

With the win, New Ulm Gold moves on to play Jordan Post 3 at 1 p.m. today at Mueller Field. Jordan beat Mankato National Post 11, 3-2. Fairmont (4-8) moves to the elimination bracket where it will play Mankato National at 2 p.m. today in Searles.

Facing elimination, Fairmont coach Matt Lytle said the Post 36 players need to focus more on the little things.

” … We’ve got to make all the defensive plays,” Lytle said. “We made a couple of errors that would have got us out of some innings. We need to move guys around better, we never had a guy get past second base. They just have to come ready to play.”

Jack Hested and Zach Jorgensen collected Fairmont’s lone hits in back-to-back at-bats in the third inning. Fairmont had its best scoring opportunity of the day, but a double play ended the chance.

New Ulm got its first run on the board in the second inning.

Mason Cox reached base on a two-out error, before Colton Schaefer singled to short right-center field. The ball evaded Fairmont gloves after a diving attempt and the runners advanced to second and third before Cox scored on a wild pitch.

In the third, Jaden Domeier and Josh Seidl each walked before Hunter Ranweiler dropped a bunt down the third-base line for a single to load the bases. Braden Zimmerman followed with a line drive over Eli Anderson’s head at third base for two RBIs and Chris Knowles knocked in the third run of the inning on a groundout.

New Ulm posted another three-run inning in the fourth.

Schaefer led off the bottom half of the frame with a single through the left side of the infield past a diving Anderson and after back-to-back flyouts, Seidl walked and Ranweiler punctuated the game with an inside the park home run. Ranweiler sent the ball flying toward the 400-foot center-field fence, reaching it on a bounce. Ranweiler sprinted around the bases, reaching home far ahead of the coming relay throw.

New Ulm scored its final three runs in the sixth to end the game an inning early.

Domeier led off with a triple that rolled to the left-center field wall, then scored when Seidl singled up the middle. Ranweiler was hit by a pitch and Teagan Kamm singled to center in his first at-bat of the day to load the bases. Chris Knowles ended the game with a two-run double to the wall in left field.

Lytle said though the result wasn’t great, there were bright spots for Fairmont.

“We could have played a little better,” Lytle said. “New Ulm played really well, they hit the ball all over the place. We made some good defensive plays, we had some good at bats, but we need to capitalize on some of those innings when we had more than one guy on base.”

Dalen Keltgen started on the mound for Fairmont, throwing four innings and allowing seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and four walks, while striking out two. Cale Steuber pitched the final inning-plus for Fairmont, allowing three runs on four hits and a hit batter.

FMT 000 000 — 0 2 3

NUG 013 303 — 10 12 2

Winning run scored with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Dalen Keltgen (LP), Cale Steuber (5) and Zach Jorgensen. Cole Backer (WP) and Hunter Ranweiler.

LOB–Fairmont 4, New Ulm 7. 2B–Braden Zimmerman (NU), Chris Knowles (NU). 3B–Jaden Domeier (NU). HR–Hunter Ranweiler (NU).