ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Austin Eagles All-Stars win MSF state title

By Scott A. Kolb

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

Winning five games in front of their home fans gave the Austin Eagles All-Stars 14-and-under baseball team the championship trophy in the Minnesota Sports Federation State Tournament held at the Riverland Complex.

The Eagles began their quest under the lights at Dick Seltz Field last Friday night. Austin took on Eden Prairie Red and came away with an exciting 9-7 victory.

Tommy Olmsted paced the offense in going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Gabe Kasak was 3-for-5 and scored twice, Jared Gardner went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, and Marcus Stoulil was 2-for-4 while scoring once.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gardner started on the hill with Olmsted coming on in relief to notch the win. Zach Wessels picked up a save by pitching the last two innings to secure the victory.

On Saturday morning, the All-Stars took on Worthington and recorded a 4-2 win. In a mound duel with the Worthington pitcher, Marcus Stoulil picked up the complete game victory for Austin.

Stoulil was steady throughout the seven-inning affair in allowing two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The Eagles trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, but scored three runs to take the lead.

"Wessels and Stoulil both had singles and scored with Sean Coffey and Kasak providing the sacrifices to move the runners," Austin coach Rick Stoulil said of the rally. "Skylar Johnson also scored in the pivotal inning by reaching on a fielder’s choice, advancing on Stoulil’s single, and coming home with the eventual winning run on a passed ball."

Austin moved into the quarterfinals on Sunday morning against Hutchinson. The Eagles got off to a fast start by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on a single by Stoulil, an RBI triple by Kasak, and a double by Olmsted. Austin scored again in the third on singles by Stoulil, Kasak, and Gardner to take a 3-1 lead.

Hutchinson rebounded with two runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game. Kasak then provided the winning run in the top of the fifth inning.

With two outs, he hit a blast to right field that just missed clearing the fence. Kasak sped into third base with his second triple of the game and scored the winning run when the Hutchinson centerfielder couldn’t hold Will Waggoner’s fly ball. This was enough offense for a 4-3 win.

Advancing to the semifinals, Austin was pitted against LaCrescent, a team that had advanced by beating this year’s MBT State Champions, Shoreview Red, in the quarterfinals. The Eagles got off to a fast start for the second straight game with a scoring rally in the top of the first inning.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stoulil, Kasak, Waggoner, Gardner, and Zach Huntley opened the game with singles. Wessels provided a double in the four-run inning. Austin scored two more times in the fifth on a two-out single by Skylar Johnson. Stoulil and Gardner each scored in the sixth to cap off the 8-3 victory.

Gardner led the offensive attack in going 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Stoulil went 4-for-5 from the leadoff spot, scored twice, and had a pair of stolen bases. Kasak was the pitching star as he went all seven innings for the complete game win. Kasak allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

This win advanced the All-Stars into the MSF State Championship game where their opponent was Shoreview Blue. The Austin All-Stars captured their first ever MSF 14-and-under state title with a thrilling 3-0 win.

"Stellar pitching and outstanding defense led the way to victory in the championship game," the coach said. "Marcus (Stoulil), Olmsted, and Wessels handled the pitching duties. Our three pitchers scattered six hits and allowed no runs in the seven-inning contest. Olmsted picked up the win with Wessels recording the save."

Sean Coffey led the offense for the Eagles by going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Kasak was also instrumental in going 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Stoulil was 2-for-4, scored a run, and had a stolen base. Coffey also provided the defensive play of the game.

In the top of the fifth with Austin leading 2-0, Shoreview was threatening with a runner on second and no outs. The leadoff hitter laced a hard grounder back to Olmsted on the mound. The runner broke for third as Olmsted threw the ball to first baseman Huntley for the first out.

Huntley then fired low to third and the ball got past third baseman, Jared Gardner, and headed into foul territory down the line. Coffey, hustling the whole way from his spot in left field, picked up the ball and fired a strike to catcher Wessels at the plate to nail the runner for the second out.

The next batter hit a weak fly ball to Huntley at first to record the third out and the All-Stars blanked Shoreview the rest of the way for the victory. Ben Farrell provided Austin with an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Farrell coaxed a two-out walk with the bases loaded and that plated the final run of the tournament.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The guys played great defense all weekend and our pitchers threw strikes," coach Stoulil concluded. "Every team member contributed throughout the tournament and we won close games with hustle and desire. Playing in our home town, with the support of all the local fans, we were able to come away with a state title and it is a tremendous feeling; something these young men will never forget."

The Eagles ended their season with a 19-7 overall record. It was a big weekend for Gabby Weiss, the longtime leader of the Austin All-Stars Youth Baseball organization, who retired from the dugout last year after coaching the youngsters for 30 years.

Weiss watched anxiously from the sidelines in Austin as the 14-and-under team chased a state title while monitoring, via cell phone, the progress of the 12-and-under team in Owatonna. The "Gaberoo" had a smile as wide as the Mississippi River on Sunday evening, knowing that the program he founded three decades ago had just won two state championships on the same day.

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.