Packers shut out in home baseball opener
The inability to get runners on base led to a second straight shutout loss for the Austin Packers baseball team in Tuesday's home opener at Seltz Field.
Although they made some nice defensive plays in the field, the Packers had no offense to stay with the hot hitting Winona Winhawks. The visitors hit a pair of home runs in the first inning and rolled to a 13-0 win in the Big Nine Conference game.
Packers starting pitcher Marcus Stoulil ran into trouble right away with the Winona leadoff hitter getting a single. Brandon Beech then followed with a two-run home run. Zach Benson next hit a solo shot over the left-field fence for a 3-0 lead.
"They hit the ball right away and hit it hard," Austin coach Troy Watkins said. "We got down early and needed to battle, but that didn't happen. We have to get some guys on base."
Gabe Kasak, the Packers sophomore catcher, stroked a one-out single in the bottom of the first inning. But there would be no rally as Anthony Condit next hit into a double-play.
Stoulil struggled with his control in the second inning and walked a pair of batters. Kasak bailed his out, when the lead runner for broke for third and he gunned him down trying to steal. This got the Packers out of top of the second, but there was no answer on offense.
"Gabe played hard and came up with our only two hits," Watkins said. "He also made a nice throw to get that runner in the second inning. We need more of those kind of plays from everybody on the team."
Instead, things went from bad to worse for the Packers in the top of the third. The Winhawks would score seven runs in the inning and chase Stoulil from the hill. The visitors had a 10-run lead and the game would be over in two innings.
Kasak added a hit in the fourth inning and Stoulil walked in the fifth, but that was it for baserunners by the home team.
Jay Ettinger, the Packers shortstop made a nifty defensive play in the top of the fifth to prevent the deficit from getting any larger. With runners on first and second, Ettinger snagged a line drive then stepped on second and relayed the ball to first base for the third out.
Austin (0-2, 0-2 Big Nine) plays a home doubleheader on Thursday against Rochester Mayo at the Riverland complex No. 2 diamond.
Winona 13, Austin 0
Winona:Ryan Woodard 1-for-4, SB, run, RBI; Brandon Beech 3-for-3, 3B, HR, walk, 3 runs, 3 RBI; Zach Benson 1-for-3, HR, walk, SB, 2 runs, RBI; Trae Cierzan 1-for-3, 2B, run. WP: Hunter Gamoke 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K.
Austin:Gabe Kasak 2-for-2; Marcus Stoulil 0-for-1, walk. LP: Stoulil 2 1/3 IP, 8 R, 8 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 1 K. RP: Jake Thompson 1 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K; Quinn Yocom 0 IP, 2 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K; Anthony Condit 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K.