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Way too many errors

Mankato hands Austin just second loss of the season

By Scott A. Kolb

skolb@postbulletin.com

A towering home run by Dan Swift in the final inning on Saturday wasn’t enough to prevent the Austin Blue Sox from losing their second game of the season.

An error-filled performance in the second half of Saturday’s matinee at Marcusen Park left the Blue Sox with an 8-5 loss to the Mankato Mets, a Class C amateur baseball team. The Blue Sox committed a total of five errors in the home loss.

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Nels Nelson was the starting pitcher for the Blue Sox and went six innings in taking the loss. Ryan Palmer pitched the seventh in relief of Nelson, and gave up four runs.

Errors led to a pair of runs for the Mets in the top of the second inning and they led the whole way. After an error and a single, the Mets had two runners aboard.

Sam Stier, who graduated from Austin Pacelli, then hit a grounder and it was booted by the Blue Sox defense. This led to a pair of runs for the visitors. The Mets added two more runs in the top of the third for a 4-0 lead.

"We didn’t play well and there’s not much good to say about this game," Blue Sox player/manager Josh Kunze said. "Our guys have to show up ready to play and that didn’t happen (today)."

Despite their lackluster play in the field, the Blue Sox got a couple of runs back in the bottom of the third due to a defensive miscue on the Mets. Brandon Rector started the rally with one out when he reached base on an error.

Kunze followed with a base hit to put runners at the corners. Casey Toops was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rector scored the first run for the Blue Sox on a wild pitch. Kunze went to third on the errant toss and scored on a sacrifice fly by Swift.

That would be it for the Blue Sox offense until their final at-bat of the day.

The Mets were also blanked the rest of the way against Nelson. Palmer then came in and got knocked around by the Mets hitters.

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Making a homecoming to the ballpark he played at during high school, Stier didn’t disappoint his family and friends gathered to watch the game.

Stier had a two-run single to cap the rally by the Mets in the top of the seventh inning.

Mankato pitcher Andy Stolt had kept the Blue Sox lineup in check most of the day, until he put a couple of runners on base ahead of Swift in the bottom of the seventh.

Kunze reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs and Toops singled.

Frustrated by his team’s poor performance, Swift took out his angst out on a Stolt offering and drove it deep.

The ball soared out over the right-field fence for a three-run homer. This closed the gap, but it didn’t change the final outcome.

"That’s the first time I’ve pulled a pitch for a homer run in a while," Swift said. "I was so upset about the way we played that I smashed it out of the park. We can’t have any more games like this the rest of the summer."

Austin Blue Sox (14-2) play host to the Blue Earth Pirates on Wednesday night at Marcusen Park.

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MANKATO METS 8, BLUE SOX 5

Mankato 022 000 4 — 8 11 2

Blue Sox 002 000 3 — 5 4 5

Mankato Mets: Jake Krier 2-for-4, HR, 2 runs, RBI; Josh Anderson 3-for-3, HBP, 2B, 2 runs; Nick Johnson 2-for-4, run, 2 RBIs; Sam Stier 1-for-4, 2 RBIs. WP: Andy Stolt 7 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 HB, 6 K.

Austin Blue Sox: Brandon Rector 0-for-3, walk, run; Josh Kunze 1-for-4, 2 runs; Casey Toops 1-for-2, 2 HBP, run; Dan Swift 1-for-3, HR, run, 4 RBIs; Mark Harber 0-for-2, walk; Winston Smith 1-for-3, HBP. LP: Nels Nelson 6 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 HB, 3 K. RP: Ryan Palmer 1 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 0 K.

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