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AUSTIN EDITION -- Fischer turns up heat with game at stake

Austin-Hayfield Athletics win playoff opener

By Guy N. Limbeck

glimbeck@postbulletin.com

With the game on the line, Luke Fischer went to his fastball Wednesday night.

The right-hander pitched out of a bases loaded jam with no outs in the seventh inning as the Austin-Hayfield Athletics eliminated the Kasson Coyotes 3-1 in the Twin Rivers League Zumbro playoffs in Class C amateur baseball.

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Early in the game at Austin's Marcusen Park, Fischer wasn't depending on his fastball. He went to it at crunch time, however.

"I was using my slow breaking pitch to set up my fastball," Fischer said. "I didn't have my good fastball."

Fischer was very effective as he took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning. He quickly ran into trouble in the seventh as his error and two singles loaded the bases. He then walked pinch hitter Alex Grahlke to force in a run.

Holding a slim 3-1 lead, Fischer got tough. He proceeded to strike out pinch hitter Korey McDermott, losing pitcher Broc Threinen and Pat Fitch to avoid further damage.

"I threw 10 straight fastball to strike three guys out," Fischer said.

"That was probably the biggest key to the game," Athletics player/manager Troy Holtz said.

Fischer then shut Kasson down the final two innings. He struck out the side in the ninth inning as well to finish with 10 strikeouts and two walks. He allowed just five hits.

Athletics catcher Matt Juncker said Fischer got stronger as the game went on.

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"He was probably topping out at 85, 86 (miles per hour) at the end," Juncker said. "He was bringing it. I guess it was time to win."

The victory puts Fischer's record at 5-2 this season.

"At the end I was throwing as hard as I was early in the game," Fischer said.

Juncker provided the key hit for the Athletics. After Lee Aadahl was hit by a pitch in the third, Juncker hit a two-run homer to put Austin up 2-0.

"He threw a BP (batting practice) fastball," Juncker said of Threinen. "You couldn't ask for a better pitch."

The Athletics extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Holtz singled, moved to second on an error and scored on Nick Bowe's RBI single.

"We still have to find a way to score some more runs," Holtz said.

The Athletics had chances as they collected 10 hits, but they had trouble moving runners along once they got on base. Holtz and Eric Schmeling had two hits each for the Athletics. Josh Burton had two of Kasson's five hits.

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The Athletics, the No. 4 seed, now advance to the next round of the Zumbro playoffs. They will play the top-seeded Rochester Blues in a best-of-three series starting Friday in Rochester at 7:30 p.m. Jon Severson will start for the Athletics.

Game Two is Saturday in Hayfield and Game Three, if needed, would be Sunday in Rochester.

"I'm going to try and come back Saturday (and pitch) if I can," Fischer said.

ATHLETICS 3, KASSON 1

Kasson 000 000 100 --1 ; 5 2

; Austin-Hayfield 002 100 00x --3 10 2

; Threinen and Ky.McDermott; Fischer and Juncker.

HR -- AUS-HAY, Juncker.

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