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Packers split doubleheader with Winona

By Scott A. Kolb

skolb@postbulletin.com

Solid pitching and late scoring rallies led to the first Big Nine Conference win of the season for the Austin Packers baseball team.

Mark Harber went the distance on the mound for a 4-1 win by the Packers in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Winona Winhawks at the Riverland complex.

Winona then came back with a 7-2 win in the late game for the split of the conference twinbill.

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"In the first game, Mark did a nice job of mixing his pitches with the change-up and fastball," Austin coach Troy Watkins said. "It was good to see the guys come back and hit the ball in the late innings to get our first conference win."

The only run allowed by Harber was unearned and it came in the top of the third. Harber then pitched shutout ball the rest of the way.

Austin rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. Brady Klingfus started the rally by reaching base on an error.

Dylan Monson then bashed a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. John Kirby and Steven Rizzi followed with RBI singles.

The Packers added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Adam Hemann walked to start the rally. A double play then left the offense in a lurch.

Monson appeared to end the threat when he grounded out, but catcher’s interference was called and the inning continued. Nick Grage then hit a RBI single and an error led to another run.

This was more than enough offensive support for Harber. The Packers hurler set down the last seven batters he faced.

"I just tried to keep the ball low and make them hit it," Harber said. "Even though we got down early, I kept throwing strikes and hung in there. It was only one run and I knew we could comeback to get our first Big Nine win."

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Things didn’t go so well for Austin starter Jake Schmit in the late game. Schmit didn’t make it out of the second inning, and allowed five early runs in taking the loss.

Hemann finished in relief on the hill, but the Packers couldn’t rally from the deficit. Tom Kreidermacher got the win for Winona as he fanned seven batters in the first three innings.

"We didn’t do a very good job of putting the ball in play in the second game," Watkins concluded. "Winona made some good defensive plays in the field, and we couldn’t get out of the early hole."

Austin (2-5, 1-5 Big Nine) plays a makeup doubleheader with Owatonna at Dartts Park on Thursday.

Austin 4, Winona 1

First game

Winona 001 000 0 — 1 5 2

Austin 000 022 x — 4 7 1

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Winona: Brandon Schmit 1-2, run. LP: Jake Walther 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K.

Austin: John Kirby 2-4, RBI; Steven Rizzi 1-3, walk, RBI; Adam Hemann 1-2, walk, run; Jake Schmit 1-3; Brady Klingfus 0-3, run; Dylan Monson 1-2, 2B, CI, 2 runs; Nick Grage 1-3, RBI. WP: Mark Harber 7 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K.

Winona 7, Austin 2

Second game

Austin 010 001 0 — 2 6 1

Winona 230 110 x — 7 8 1

Austin: Kirby 1-4; Harber 1-4, 2B; Nate Wagner 1-2, 2B, walk, run; Hemann 1-3, run; Klingfus 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI. LP: Jake Schmit 1 2/3 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 0 K.

Winona: Brandon Schmit 2-4, 2B, 3 B, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Jake Filand 2-3, run, RBI. WP: Tom Kreidermacher 7 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K.

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