Austin makes another bite the dust

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 19, 2002

Nels Nelson came out of the bullpen to make his first start of the summer and Nick Bowe went 4-4 as the Austin Legion Post 91 baseball team continued its recent tear against Rochester teams with an 8-5 win over the Redhawks Thursday night at Marcusen Park.

Nelson, a regular starter for Lyle/Pacelli High School during the spring, was relocated to the bullpen for the Legion this summer until he got the nod to start against the Redhawks (16-7, 8-5). He surrendered 13 hits, walked two and hit two, but the Austin defense was again error-free and the offense was even better.

Bowe had his first career four-hit game, Matt Johnson homered in his second consecutive contest, and Jim Knoebel and Kyle Rizzi each drove in two runs as Austin (15-9, 6-5) defeated a Rochester team in back-to-back outings. Post 91 edged the Rochester A's 3-1 on Tuesday.

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"Against a team that's beat up on us twice, we got down and could have folded up our tent," said Austin coach Bob Stratton, "but these guys kept competing."

"If we get good pitching and good defense, we'll be in it. That's how we are competitive. Scoring eight or nine runs is not really our stronghold."

Austin plays a doubleheader at LaCrescent starting at noon Saturday. Post 91 will play at Waseca next Tuesday and at the Rochester Patriots the following Friday.

Getting it done

Nelson struck out four, including Austin nemisis Tim Gerlesberger with a runner on third in the top of the first. Rochester had already knocked in a run on back-to-back singles, and after getting Justin Sokol to ground out, Nelson saw an old familiar face in the batter's box.

"The last time I faced him he crushed a home run off of me. He's a good hitter, I was pretty happy to get that strikeout," Nelson said of throwing a 3-2 fastball by Gerlesberger. "When I let it go I thought 'Oh great, ball four,' but then he swung and missed. I was so happy."

Nelson surrendered solo runs in the second and fourth innings and two runs in the third, but two outfield assists and a tough running catch by Nelson got him out of various jams. Rizzi also sno-coned a line drive in the top of the seventh that eventually prevented the top of Rochester's order from coming to the plate.

"That was a very big catch at that point in the game," Coach Stratton said.

Scoring in bunches

Austin's offense had a lot to do with the win, scoring at least one run off each of four Redhawks pitchers. Brandon Oreilly got the loss after surrendering three runs in one-third of an inning during the fifth.

Grant Lunning led off the fifth with Austin's only hit against Zach Nesler, who successfully silenced the Post 91 bats after they had loaded the bases off starter Ben Martini in the third. Martini walked Rizzi and Johnson to load them up for Knoebel, who went down swinging.

Knoebel saught redemption and got the opportunity in the fifth. Lunning's leadoff single chased Nesler from the hill, but Oreilly was even less effective. Bowe blasted a run-scoring double to the gap in left, and he moved up on Andy Klapperick's flyout to right. Rizzi followed with an RBI single and Johnson walked to put two on for Knoebel, who lined a shot off the top of the fence in right-center.

"We got the bats going again tonight right away, and we saw we could hit their pitchers," Nelson said. "I think that gave us a lot of confidence."

Bowe had four of Austin's 10 hits, including an RBI-single in the sixth. Mike Leathers reached on an error to lead off, moved up on Lunning's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Bowe's hit to right-center.

"I was seeing the ball good tonight," Bowe said. "It was nice because we lost two to Winona this weekend. They're not a great team, they're a good team, but we needed to come back and get some wins.

"It's nice to beat any Rochester teams."

Back-to-back singles by Bowe and Klapperick led to Austin's tying run in the bottom of the first, and a fielding error got Klapperick to third. Rizzi then lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right for the go-ahead run, and Johnson followed with a shot over the fence in left.





Konicek cf4120Lunning lf3110

Martini lf4132Bowe 3b4242

Sokol 1b4011Klprck ss3111

Grlsbrgr ss3020Rizzi 2b2112

Miller 3b2100Jhnsn cf1111

Wahl c3000Knbl dh3012

Meyer 2b4021 Nelson p0000

Heydt p4021 Lilly pr0000

Noll rf2110Hovey 1b3000

Nesler p1100Brgene c3010

Oreilly rf1000Lthrs rf3100





E -- Sokol, Noll, Gerlesberger. Team LOB -- RR: 10, Austin 5. 2B -- Sokol, Bowe, Knoebel. HR -- Johnson. S -- Lunning. SF -- Rizzi, Klapperick. SB -- Konicek, Rizzi. CS -- Bergene.



Martini2 2/353320

Nesler1 1/311101

Oreilly, L1/333310

Heydt1 2/311000


Nelson, W7 135524

WP -- Nelson. HBP -- Gerlesberger (by Nelson), Wahl (by Nelson).

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at