Packers win late game of doubleheader
Making key defensive plays in the second game of Tuesday's baseball doubleheader gave Austin a win and a split with Albert Lea at Seltz Field.
In the first game, the Austin Packers didn't make the big plays and lost 9-4 to the Albert Lea Tigers. A pair of double plays and a couple of nifty catches helped the Packers hang on for an 8-5 win in the late game.
Marcus Stoulil was the starting pitcher for the Packers in the opener and took the loss. Jacob Thompson went the distance on the mound in the late game and recorded six strikeouts to get the win.
"We made the plays in the field in the second game and that didn't happen in the first game," Austin coach Troy Watkins said. "The guys played good defense and that's what we need to do. When the defense makes a good play, then the pitcher gets more confidence and it picks up the whole team."
Thompson gave up a run in the top of the first inning, but his defense prevented further damage to open the late game. After the Tigers scored a run, they still had runners at first and second base with only one out.
Needing a couple of quick outs to quell the threat, Thompson got them in one sequence. He struck out the batter, then Packers catcher Gabe Kasak cut down the lead runner trying to advance to third and the inning was over.
Bouncing right back with three runs, the Packers took advantage of three walks in the bottom of the first inning. Kasak, Zach Huntley, and Stoulil all scored for the home team. Hunter Gleason delivered a clutch two-run single in the rally.
Giving up a leadoff hit in the top of the second, Thompson got out of the frame facing just the minimum. The infield turned a double play and Thompson struck out the last batter. The Tigers had the lead runner on again in the third, but a strikeout and two nice catches in the outfield ended that inning.
"I had a lot of confidence on the mound, because the defense played well behind me," Thompson said. "We won because all nine guys played as a team. I knew the guys would make plays in the field and this was big for us to get a win against Albert Lea."
Although he gave up two runs in the top of the fourth and the Tigers tied the game, Thompson wriggled out of the jam with a strikeout and a nice defensive play on a ground ball by third baseman Anthony Condit.
The defense shone again in the next inning after the leadoff man got aboard for the Tigers. The infield turned a 6-4-3 double play. Huntley, the Packers first baseman, then ended the inning with a defensive gem as he snagged a foul ball with an over-the-shoulder catch.
"Our defense is definitely coming back and we just needed to make some plays in the field to get a win," Huntley said. "We wanted that second game real bad and it's exciting to beat Albert Lea. The guys got pumped up in the dugout and then, we took care of business."
Taking the lead back in the bottom of the fourth, the Packers (4-9, 3-8) scored their final five runs. Gleason started the rally with a walk and the bottom of the order did most of the damage. Gleason, Trevor Feuerhak, Tommy Olmsted, Condit, and Kasak all scored in the uprising for the Packers.
ALBERT LEA 9, AUSTIN 4
Albert Lea ....... 104 022 0 — 9 9 2
Austin ..... 100 010 2 — 4 6 2
Austin:Jacob Thompson 1-for-4, RBI; Gabe Kasak 2-for-3, SB; Zach Huntley 0-for-2, BB; Marcus Stoulil 1-for-4, SB, R, RBI; Trevor Feuerhak 0-for-1, 2 BB; Hunter Gleason 0-for-2, BB; Tommy Olmsted 1-for-3, R; Tyler Belknap 1-for-1; Anthony Condit 0-for-0, 2 R.
LP:Stoulil 5 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 1 HB, 4 K. RP: Belknap 2 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K.
AUSTIN 8, ALBERT LEA 5
Albert Lea ....... 100 200 2 — 5 14 3
Austin ..... 300 500 x — 8 8 1
Austin:Kasak 2-for-4, 2B, SB, 2 R, RBI; Huntley 0-for-2, 2 BB, R; Stoulil 1-for-3, BB, R; Thompson 0-for-2, 2 BB, RBI; Gleason 1-for-2, BB, R, 2 RBI; Feuerhak 1-for-2, R; Olmsted 1-for-2, BB, R; Condit 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI. WP:Jacob Thompson 7 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 14 H, 2 BB, 6 K.