Austin Legion's Alex Ciola swings on a pitch against Owatonna Thursday night at Marcusen Park. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Austin Legion's Alex Ciola swings on a pitch against Owatonna Thursday night at Marcusen Park. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin Post 91 wins big over Owatonna, will be top seed in Districts

Published 9:29pm Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Austin Post 91 baseball team’s bats were as hot as they have been all season as they put up nine runs in the first three innings and beat Owatonna 15-10 to close out the regular season in Marcusen Park Thursday.

Austin (17-8 overall) led 9-0 before Owatonna pulled to within 9-6 in the top of the fifth inning. Post 91 had an answer in the bottom of the fifth as Jordan Hart knocked in two runs with a single, Alex Ciola singled in a run and Steven Clennon doubled in a run to put Austin up 14-9.

Jacob Kempen slides into third against Owatonna Thursday night at Marcusen Park. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Jacob Kempen slides into third against Owatonna Thursday night at Marcusen Park. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“We almost let them crawl back in it, but when adversity came, we didn’t falter,” Austin co-head coach Joe Kroc said.

The win shows the improvement Austin has made this season as Post 91 lost its season opener 8-6 to Owatonna Jun 10.

Hart had two doubles and five RBIs in the win for Post 91, which has now won eight straight games.

“It’s good to have a streak going,” Hart said. “You’d don’t want to be down before the playoffs, you want your self confidence to be up.”

Austin will open the District playoffs as No. 1 and it will host a first round game against Kasson of the eight-team double elimination tournament at Marcusen Park Tuesday at 6 p.m. If Austin wins Tuesday, it will play in Winona Thursday, and if it loses Tuesday, it will play in Winona Friday.

Austin’s win on Thursday was certainly a good confidence builder for Post 91 as it enters the tournament with its highest seeding in at least six years.

“We’re not used to putting runs up this quick against Owatonna,” said Dylan Gasner, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs Thursday. “We’re hot at the right time. If the defense keeps playing well, pitchers keep pitching well and we keep hitting well, we should be good [in the postseason].”

Kroc is hoping his team comes out focused for the District tournament and he’d like to see the team make a run.

“The regular season was exactly what we hoped for,” Kroc said. “On Tuesday, that’s behind you. We want to make a good run at the District championship.”

Austin Post 91 will play an exhibition game against the Austin Blue Sox Friday at 7 p.m. in Marcusen Park.

Owatonna 0 0 0 3 4 0 3 — 10 13 1

Austin 4 3 2 0 5 1 X — 15 19 0

Austin pitching: Jacob Kempen (W) 4 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 3 ER; Steven Clennon, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R; Jordan Hart, 1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 2 K

Austin hitting: Daniel Bollingberg, 1-for-2, RBI, R, BB; Dylan Gasner, 3-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 R, BB; Nik Gasner, 2-for-3, RBI, 2 R, 2 BBs; Hart, 3-for-5, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, 2 R; Zach Huntley, 1-for-1, 2 RBIs; Steven Clennon, 3-for-4, double, 2 RBIs; Nate Conner, 0-for-4; Kempen, 3-for-4, 3 R; Isaac Schumacher, 2-for-3, R, BB; Alex Ciola, 1-for-2, RBI; Brady McDermott, 0-for-2, R


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