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Robert Williams / Forum News Service, Published June 13 2013

Brauch helps Perham clip Delano in quarterfinals of Minnesota Class 2A state baseball tourney

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – 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 on Thursday.

“Eric wanted to come out here,” Perham 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,” Brauch added. “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. Our confidence is full right now and we’re going to take it into our next game.”

Perham never trailed in the game using small-ball tactics to move runners into scoring position in the first and second innings, and was aided by two hit batsmen from Tigers starter Zach Muckenhirn.

Muckenhirn hit Josh Still to start the game, and Still later moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Stigman. With two away, Brauch belted a base hit to score Still for an early 1-0 lead.

The teams traded runs in the second inning.

Joey Lindberg was hit by a pitch 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 an unearned run from third.

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 third base got away.

Delano used a Brett Norling bunt to score Schleper to cut the Perham lead to 2-1.

In the fifth inning, Still reached on an error for Perham 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 the Yellowjackets up 3-1.

Muckenhirn had a game-high 11 strikeouts and issued two walks in addition to hitting two batters. Two of the three Perham runs were earned on four hits, two off the bat of Brauch. Stigman and Sailer had Perham’s other hits.

Brauch allowed one earned run on eight hits, walking one and striking out four. He kept Tigers batters off-balance with a slow breaking ball that confounded Delano’s hitters.

“Early in the game, we were establishing the fastball and then they started hitting me hard,” said Brauch. “We talked to coach and he said ‘establishing the curveball is what you’ve got to do,’ and the curve got them off balance a bit. After that, it was smooth sailing.”

Perham will meet Watertown-Mayer at 2:30 p.m. today. Watertown-Mayer upset the No. 3-seed Minnehaha Academy 1-0.

P 110 010 0–3 4 0

D 010 000 0–1 8 2

Brauch and Mulcahy. Muckenhirn and Hanson. W–Brauch. L–Muckenhirn.

Williams is the Sports Editor for the Perham Focus