Austin catcher Gabe Kasak puts the tag on Winona's Lucas Bade who tried scoring from second base in the first inning Thursday at Dick Seltz Field. Bade was ruled safe on the play.
Austin catcher Gabe Kasak puts the tag on Winona's Lucas Bade who tried scoring from second base in the first inning last season at Dick Seltz Field. Herald File Photo

Baseball: Austin’s Kasak commits to University of Sioux Falls

Published 9:30pm Monday, March 25, 2013

Austin senior Gabe Kasak saw his lifelong dream come to fruition recently when he received a scholarship offer to college baseball next season.

Kasak has verbally committed to play baseball at Division II University of Sioux Falls, S.D. with a partial athletic scholarship next season.

Kasak, who hit .378 with an on-base percentage of .420, to go along with nine extra base hits, 10 RBIs and 21 runs for the Packers last season, said USF was his first offer and he didn’t hesitate to accept it.

“I’m very excited,” Kasak said. “I’ve been playing since I was real young and my dad’s always been pushing me. After I hung up the phone on Friday, I did a couple of fist pumps to myself. After so many years, I finally feel like I accomplished something.”

Kasak, who has played catcher and second base at Austin, will play catcher at the next level and he has a chance to play right away. The Cougars will bring back just one catcher from this year’s team, so that will give Kasak a chance to compete for playing time in his freshman season.

“There will be competition, but I’m a competitive person and I don’t shy away from that,” Kasak said.

Going to USF also means Kasak will be going to the school as his longtime friend Tom Aase, who will be playing basketball at USF next season. Kasak and Aase worked together to build a wiffelball field near Austin Baptist Chapel two years ago and they’ll be near each other at college now.

“We’ve been best friends for years and now we’ll be together for a couple of more years,” Kasak said of Aase. “He’s one of the first people I called after I committed.”

The Austin baseball team is scheduled to open its season by hosting Owatonna April 2 at 5 p.m., but it’s unlikely the fields will be ready by then.

Kasak is hoping the Packers can improve on last year’s record of 6-14 overall, when they lost four games by one run.

“There’s a different feel to the team this year,” Kasak said. “We’re all excited and we all know what we can do. We’re hoping to win a lot of the one run games we lost last season.”

In 2012, USF finished 10-29 overall and the Cougars are off to a 4-13 overall start this season.

The Cougars play in the Northern Sun Conference.

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