Late rally falls short for Packers

Scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning wasn't enough to overcome eight errors on Monday and the result was another close loss for the Austin Packers baseball team.

Mankato East took advantage of all the Austin mistakes in the field and pulled out a 5-4 win in the Big Nine Conference game. Still, the Packers led through the middle innings and the late rally gave the home fans a chance to cheer at Seltz Field.

Each team scored a run in the first inning. Gabe Kasak got the Austin offense started on the day with a single and then scored off an error for a 1-1 tie.

The Packers took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Jay Ettinger led off with a single. stole second base, and scored on a single by Quinn Yocom. The Packers had a 2-1 lead, but it didn't last.

"We showed flashes of playing well in this game, but just can't seem to put it all together," Austin coach Troy Watkins said. "In a one-run game, committing all of those errors just won't get the job done."


Packers starting pitcher Jake Thompson gave the team a solid effort with six innings on the mound. Thompson took the 2-1 lead into the top of the fifth, but an error on a ground ball led to a rally for the East Cougars.

After tying the game in the fifth, the visitors took the lead for good in the top of the sixth inning. Thompson was once again a victim of shoddy fielding as three errors led to an unearned run and East took a 3-2 lead.

More unearned runs followed in the top of the seventh inning. Mankato East (1-3) padded its lead with two additional runs off Austin reliever Luke Mallory.

Despite the three-run deficit, the Packers didn't go down without a fight. Yocom led off with a single in the bottom of the seventh, then was erased on the bases when Joey Raso hit into a fielder's choice. Raso went to second on a single by Caleb Whalen.

Andrew Kaiser next hit a sharp grounder toward first base and the East defense committed an error. Raso scored and Whalen went to third on the miscue, which then gave Kaiser a chance to steal second base.

Marcus Stoulil, who had three hits for the Packers, stroked a single and plated Whalen. But with runners at first and third, Kasak hit a liner to East pitcher Daniel Lindstrom. After snagging the line drive, Lindstrom fired off to third and doubled-up Kaiser to end the game.

"It was good to see us scratch and claw for a couple of runs in the last inning," Watkins said. "Our pitchers threw well enough to get us a win, but we didn't make the plays behind them in the field."

Austin (0-5 overall, 0-4 Big Nine) is scheduled for a doubleheader today in Owatonna at Dartts Park.


Mankato East 5, Austin 4

Mankato ....... 100 011 2 — 5 5 2

Austin ..... 110 000 2 — 4 9 8

Mankato East:Tyler Jung 2-for-4, 2B, run; Brandon Kowalski 1-for-2, walk, RBI. WP: Daniel Lindstrom 7 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 5 K.

Austin:Marcus Stoulil 3-for-4, SB, RBI; Gabe Kasak 1-for-4, SB, run; Jay Ettinger 1-for-3, SB, run; Quinn Yocom 2-for-3, RBI; Joey Raso 0-for-3, run; Caleb Whalen 1-for-3; Andrew Kaiser 1-for-3, SB. LP: Jake Thompson 6 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K. RP: Luke Mallory 1 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K.

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