Austin Post 91 downs Albert Lea with big rally in the fifthPublished 9:29pm Thursday, June 12, 2014
You couldn’t blame the Austin Post 91 baseball team if it was feeling a little frustrated early on against Albert Lea in Marcusen Park Thursday.
After committing six errors in a loss to Owatonna on Tuesday, Austin committed an error on the first play of the game and it was in a 2-0 hole after one inning. Post 91 also stranded 10 runners on base in the first four innings, but Austin didn’t give in as it used a big fifth inning to take the lead for good in an 8-3 win over Albert Lea.
“It says a lot about the kids,” Austin co-head coach Joe Kroc said. “After having that first error, it would’ve been easy to fold and say here we go again.”
Austin (2-1 overall) never committed another error the rest of the game, and it finally came through in the fifth when Nate Conner lined a two-out single to left field to make it 4-3 and Jordan Hart, Nik Gasner and Ethan Horstmann each added two-out RBIs in the frame to push the lead to 8-3.
Conner didn’t know that Post 91 would have a big inning when he gave Austin the lead, but he had a good feeling.
“It was hard to tell. It could’ve gone either way,” Conner said. “We stayed on two outs for awhile. I felt pretty confident in my at-bat and I knew Jordan was due when I got on first.”
The win was especially sweet for Austin as it shared a team with Albert Lea last summer. Steven Clennon was a member of that co-op team and on Thursday he was shutting down some of his old teammates as he pitched four shutout innings and struck out five.
“There was only a few of them that were on the team last year, but I had a good idea of what most of them were capable of. It was definitely a fun game to win,” Clennon said. “I’m seeing my spots with the fast ball and I’m following it up with a couple other pitches to keep them off balanced.”
Kroc said Clennon, who is 2-0 on the mound for Post 91, has given the squad a big boost so far.
“We know he’s capable of that. We see it in spurts,” Kroc said. “When he’s spotting, he’s a great, great pitcher, when’s he’s a little wild, he’s ineffective. He has some out pitches, that other pitchers on out team don’t have.”
AL 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 3 3 2
Austin 0 0 1 1 6 0 X — 8 10 1
Austin pitching: Jacob Kempen, 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 HBP, 1 K; Steven Clennon (W) 4 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 4 K
Austin hitting: Daniel Bollingberg, 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, BB; Nate Conner, 2-for-4, RBI, R, SB; Jordan Hart, 2-for-3, RBI, 2 R, BB; NIk Gasner, 2-for-3, RBI, 2 R, BB; Ethan Horstmann, 1-for-3, RBI, BB; Zach Huntely, 1-for-1, RBI, 2 BBs; Alex Ciola, 0-for-2; Dylan Gasner, 0-for-3; Isaac Schumacher, 0-for-2, 2 R, BB; Shawn Case, R; Clennon, 1-for-2, R; Mitch Truax, 0-for-1; Hunter Lewis, BB