Brauch leads Perham baseball to 1st round win
ST. CLOUD — Eric Brauch had a pair of two-out RBIs and pitched a complete game in the Perham Yellowjackets’ 3-1 victory over the No. 2-seeded Delano Tigers in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Class 2A State baseball tournament at Dick Putz Field Thursday evening.
“Eric wanted to come out here,” Head Coach Hans Hanson said. “I’ve never seen him so focused and ready for a game, and it showed. His performance today was outstanding.”
“We’re putting Perham on the map right now,” said Brauch. “I’m not going to lie, we kind of came in scared. Delano has about double the enrollment we have. Coming up with a victory against them; we’re not scared, at all.”
Perham never trailed in the game, using small-ball tactics to move runners into scoring position in the first and second innings, aided by two beanballs from Tigers’ starter Zach Muckenhirn.
Muckenhirn beaned Josh Still to start the game and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Stigman. With two away, Brauch belted a base hit to score Still for the early 1-0 lead.
Joey Lindberg was also beaned, and moved to second on a walk to Luke Sailer with one away.
Still walked to load the bases and a Stigman chopper bounced off the glove of Delano first baseman Christian Triplett to allow Lindberg to score from third unearned.
Adam Schleper and Justin Oja led off the Delano second with back-to-back singles and both moved into scoring position when a throw to Stigman at the third base bag got away.
Delano employed small-ball strategy, scoring Schleper on a Brett Norling squeeze bunt to cut the Perham lead to 2-1.
Perham scored the final run in the fifth in a similar fashion to their run in the first. Still reached on an error and Stigman put down his second sacrifice bunt to move him over.
Brauch laced a two-out double to the right-center gap to score Still and put Perham up 3-1.
Muckenhirn had a game-high 11 strikeouts.
Brauch allowed one earned run on eight hits; he walked one and struck out four pitching to contact inducing fly balls and slow grounders.
Perham met Water-town-Mayer Friday, with the state title game played Saturday at Target Field.