A#039;s staying alive

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 3, 2002

Adam Linbo did not get the game-winning RBI, but by making contact with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Linbo gave his team a chance to win -- and they did.

Linbo's full-count grounder towards first base skipped beneath the glove of Belle Plaine first baseman Pat Moriarty, and Matt Juncker came across as the game-winning run as the Hayfield/Austin Athletics Class C amateur baseball team advanced one game further into the postseason with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory Friday night at Marcusen Park.

The error disallowed Linbo's run-batted-in, but the ground ball got the job done just the same.

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Lee Aadahl's bloop single started the A's comeback rally with one out in the bottom of the ninth and Belle Plaine -- a defending Class C state tournament team -- leading 3-2. Juncker then hammered an RBI-double to left-center field to tie the game.

Belle Plaine pitcher Dan Huber elected to intentionally walk Al Dahlen, whose two-run homer in the fifth knotted the score at 2-2. Belle Plaine attempted to turn a double play on Jamie Morrison's grounder up the middle, but Morrison was safe at first to leave runners on the corners and two outs for Linbo.

After fouling off Huber's 3-2 offering, Linbo, the Winona State-bound football prospect, delivered in the clutch.

"I'm glad we won, I was so pumped," said A's starting pitcher Luke Fischer, who got a no decision for his 8 1/3 innings. "I saw (the error) coming the whole way."

In the program's second season, Hayfield/Austin advances one game further into the postseason than in last year's campaign. The A's (15-20) will need to win three games next week to reach the state tournament. The Athletics will play Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at either Cannon Falls or Lonsdale.

Early advantage

Fischer surrendered nine hits, three walks and two hit batsmen, but none of Belle Plaine's three runs seemed legit to the Hayfield native. The Tigers scored solo runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to take a 3-2 lead.

Belle Plaine designated hitter Brad Muehlenhardt broke up Fischer's perfect game with a single in the third, and two wild pitches pushed him into scoring position. No. 9 hitter Adam Hoffman grounded weakly to short to plate the game's first run.

Tim Huber opened the fourth with a fly ball to left, but A's outfielder Troy Holtz never saw it. Huber strolled in with a double and, after stealing third, scored on a single by Pat Schultz.

A passed ball with the bases loaded allowed Daron Anderson to score Belle Plaine's third run.

Getting started

The A's got on the scoreboard after Juncker reached on an infield single with one out in the fifth -- despite considerable argument from the Belle Plaine dugout. Dahlen silenced the crowd and tied the game at 2-2 with his moon-shot over the scoreboard in left. The blast was Dahlen's first home run of the season.

Hayfield/Austin's defense kept the team in the game with double plays in both the seventh and eighth innings. With no outs in the seventh, Belle Plaine loaded the bases after an error and two hit batters. Leadoff hitter Trace Selly lifted a fly ball to center field, and Linbo's throw home nailed the runner trying to tag up.

Back-to-back singles in the eighth threatened again, but a dazzling stab by A's shortstop Nick Bowe started a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Fischer found trouble again in the ninth, and this time Holtz went to draftee reliever Tim Welke, who struck out two consecutive Belle Plaine batters to strand the bases loaded and allow for the A's comeback in their last at-bat.

Belle Plaine left nine of their 10 stranded runners on base over the final four innings.

"The kids played a great game," said Holtz, the team's player/coach. "Their pitcher threw effectively and our top hitters were pretty quiet tonight. Aadahl had the blooper, Juncker doubled, and Adam Linbo simply putting the ball in play got us the win."

The A's seemed slated for their 14th one-run loss of the season as Huber -- who struck out 11 -- blanked Hayfield/Austin's 3-4-5 hitters. Holtz, Stewartville-Racine draftee Chuck Krom, and Bowe all went 0-4. Juncker, batting seventh, had two of the A's six hits.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at :mailto:sports@austindailyherald.com.



Belle PlaineHayfield/Austin


Selly cf5030Linbo cf5010

Andersn ss3100Beck 1b4010

THuber rf4110Holtz lf4000

Moriarty 1b5000Krom c4000

Witt lf4010Bowe ss4000

Kruschke lf0000Aadahl 2b3110

Schultz c4021Juncker dh4221

DHuber p3000 Fischer p0000

Mhlnhrdt dh4110Dahlen 3b3112

Creighton 3b0000Morrison rf3000

Hoffman 2b3011


Belle Plaine001101000--393


Two outs when winning run scored.

E -- DHuber, Creighton, Moriarty, Beck 2, Dahlen. Team LOB -- BP 10, H/A 7. DP -- H/A 1. 2B -- THuber, Juncker. HR -- Dahlen (1). SB -- Selly 2, THuber, DHuber, Morrison. CS -- Schultz.


Belle Plaine

DHuber, L8 2/3643111


Fischer8 1/393238

Welke, W2/300002

WP -- Fischer 2. PB -- Krom. HBP -- by Huber (Morrison). IBB -- by Huber (Dahlen).