Essig Escapes With Win, Forcing Game Three
Springfield entered the second game of the best-of-three Region 2C Tournament series within one win of returning to the state tournament for the first time since 1998. The Tigers had many opportunities, getting at least one base runner in every inning, but they left eleven runners on base, including seven in scoring position. The Bluejay defense provided many opportunities through errors, but the Tiger offense was only able to take advantage of one of the five Essig errors.
Matt Tews started on the mound and surrendered all five of the Essig runs in the first four innings. In the first inning, the Bluejays plated two runs on three hits. Tews retired the Bluejays in order in the second. Essig took advantage of two Tiger errors in the bottom of the third to take a 4-0 lead. They plated their final run in the last half of the fourth, when Terry Helget doubled and came around to score on a Drew Wenniger single.
Springfield came to bat in the top of the fifth trailing 5-0. Tews led off with a double and Kyle Kraska put the Tigers on the board with a base hit, scoring Tews. The Bluejays started the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back odd base hits. The first single hit a piece of plastic behind the pitcher's mound and bounced up in the air. The second batter of the inning hit the ball off the field umpire. With two on and no one out, Tews worked his way out of the jam. It was the last time Essig had more than one runner on base. After the two freak singles, Tews retired eleven of the final twelve batters he faced.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the sixth, but were unable to cut into the Essig lead. In the top of the seventh, Springfield took advantage of a lead-off single by Chris Sturm and a couple Bluejay errors to move the score to 5-2.
Things got exciting in the eighth as Ryan Sturm started things with a double. Bob Fink followed with a single knocking the Essig starter, Dusty Wilfahrt, out of the game. After a ground out moved up the runners, Tews came through with a two-run single, bringing the Tigers within one. Andy Moritz added a base hit in the inning, but the score remained, 5-4, in the middle of the eighth.
Brian Hertling came on to get the final out with two down in the bottom of the eighth, inserting his bat into the lineup for Springfield's last chance in the ninth. Matt Baier reached on an error to start the Tigers' ninth. After there was one out, Ryan Sturm ripped a single. The runners advanced to second and third on a ground out, but there they would remain, as Springfield dropped game two of the series, 5-4.
It's do or done time again for the Tigers as they return home to take on the Bluejays Friday night at Riverside Park in the decisive game three. The winner will advance to the state tournament, but first they will play Searles on Sunday to determine the region champion and runner-up. If the final game of the series is anything like the first two, you'll be in for an entertaining night of baseball! Join the Tigers at 8:00pm for the first pitch!
|R. Sturm, 1B||5||1||4||0||0||0|
|C. Sturm, LF||4||1||1||0||0||0|
|Tews (L, 8-4)||7 2/3||8||5||3||0||3|
More pictures from the game: New Ulm Journal CU Gallery