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Post 91 splits twinbill with Waseca

Making up for poor fielding with good hitting allowed the Austin American Legion baseball team to get a split in Tuesday's doubleheader with Waseca.

Numerous errors once again plagued the Austin Post 91 defense on Tuesday in this First District twinbill at Seltz Field. Waseca only scored two earned runs in the opener, but it was enough for a 5-4 win.

In the late game, the Austin boys simply outscored the opposition and got the split. The 9-6 win came despite repeated misadventures running the bases and another five errors in the field.

Adam McMasters pitched all seven innings in the first game for Post 91 and was the hard luck loser when the defense failed. Luke Mallory had to endure a somewhat similar fate in the late game, but he had more run support and struck out nine batters to get the mound win.

""It's kind of been the story of our season with all of the errors," Post 91 coach Bob Stratton said. "Still, the pitchers did a good job and they each hung in there for the full seven innings. We should've won the first game, but Waseca played error free and that was the difference."

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Going deep

The recent power display from Austin shortstop Joey Swatfager continued in the first game with a home run. He also had a triple in the late game.

Quinn Yocom led off the bottom of the first inning with a single. After an out, Swatfager stepped to the plate and blasted a pitch from Nathan Draheim of Waseca off the scoreboard beyond the left-center field fence.

Swatfager's long ball clanged off the Austin High School crest on the lower half of the scoreboard and the home team had a 2-0 lead.

"It was early in the game and I didn't go up there looking for any particular pitch," Swatfager said. "He threw me a fastball and I got around on it."

Waseca rallied to tie the game with two runs on three hits in the top of the second. The visitors then took the lead for good with two unearned runs off a pair of Austin errors in the top of the fifth. The Post 91 boys got a run back in the bottom of the frame, but couldn't overcome the deficit.

Defensive disaster

Throughout the opener, the Post 91 defense made enough bad plays to let Waseca off the hook. Most of the time it's a simple game of pitch and catch, yet it can be a maddening experience for a fielder when the little things go wrong.

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Down by a run in the top of the sixth, McMasters gave up a leadoff single. He then got the next batter on a groundout and appeared to also have the second out of the inning. Instead, an error by Swatfager allowed a run to score.

The dichotomy of good to bad in the span of a few innings for Austin resulted in a split. Swatfager singled and scored the final run for Post 91 in the bottom of the sixth, but it wasn't enough to prevent a close loss.

"The offense was there, but the defense wasn't," Swatfager succinctly summed up the loss. "The bats helped us get the lead, then we threw it away."

That trend continued at the start of the second game. Austin committed four errors in the top of the first inning and Waseca scored two runs. After that display, the Austin guys played better in the field and they let their bats decide the outcome.

Scoring surge

Back came the Post 91 hitters with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. The late game would be a see-saw affair. Yocom, the leadoff hitter for Post 91, reached base four times and was the catalyst for the repeated rallies.

Yocom beat out an infield hit to open the bottom of the first. Walks to Gabe Kasak and Swatfager followed to load the bases with nobody out. Yocom scored the first Austin run off a wild pitch. Nate Paris was a courtesy runner for Kasak and scored on a groundout. Swatfager made it a 3-2 lead on a single from Mallory.

Waseca rallied for two runs in the top of the second and took the lead back. That didn't last long as Post 91 got two runs back in the bottom of the frame.

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With two outs, Yocom's speed down the baseline caused a Waseca throwing error. Scooting down to second on the errant throw, Yocom then scored off a single by Kasak to tie the game.

"We're starting to come together as a group of hitters and the bats got it done in the late game," Yocom said. "We settled in and were determined to get runs for our pitcher. I like low outside pitches and was able to get some hits to jump start the offense."

Aaron Goetz was hit by a pitch to start another rally in the third. Mallory followed with a double and two runs would later score on a single by Caleb Whalen. A single from Yocom capped the rally as Whalen scored for an 8-4 lead. The home team was on top to stay.

On a day when the defense was suspect at best, Yocom finished it off by flashing the leather. Waseca had a runner on second base with one out in the top of the seventh.

A sinking fly ball was hit to center but Yocom came on for the catch. The runner had taken off, so Yocom flipped the ball back to the infield and the game ended on a double play.

Austin Legion (6-12 overall, 4-10 First District) plays a home game tonight against Rapid City, S.D. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dick Seltz Field.

LEGION BASEBALL

First game

Waseca 5, Austin 4

Waseca .......#020#021#0#—#5#10#0

Austin .....#200#011#0#—#4#5#4

Waseca:Kevin Glynn 1-for-4, R; Erik Balfe 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R; Jon Mitchell 1-for-4, R, 2 RBI; Jake Brenden 2-for-4, RBI. WP:Nathan Draheim 6 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 HB, 6 K. SV: Balfe 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 HB, 0 BB, 1 K.

Austin Post 91:Quinn Yocom 2-for-4, SB, R, RBI; Joey Swatfager 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; Preston Higbe 0-for-2, HBP; Gabe Kasak 1-for-1, RBI; Aaron Goetz 0-for-2, BB; Jake Thompson 0-for-3, SB, R; Nate Paris 0-for-2, HBP. LP:Adam McMasters 7 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 5 K.

Second game

Austin 9, Waseca 6

Waseca .......#220#200#0#—#6#8#2

Austin .....#323#010#x#—#9#14#5

Waseca:Glynn 2-for-4, 2B, SB, 3 R, RBI; Clint Larson 1-for-3, BB, 2B, SB, 2 R, RBI; Draheim 1-for-3, 2 RBI; Jordan Steffens 1-for-3, 2B; Mitchell 1-for-2, BB, R. LP:Steffens 5 IP, 9 R, 7 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 1 HB, 2 K. RP: Kyle Waugh 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K.

Austin Post 91:Yocom 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Kasak 1-for-3, BB; Paris 0-for-0, 2 R; Swatfager 1-for-3, BB, 3B, R, RBI; Aaron Goetz 2-for-3, HBP, 2B, R, RBI; Luke Mallory 3-for-4, 2B, RBI; Thompson 0-for-0, R; Jordan Lysne 1-for-4, R; Caleb Whalen 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI; Joey Raso 1-for-2. WP:Mallory 7 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 9 K.

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