Post 91 drops district opener

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Austin Legion Post 91's floundering offense got a boost from 11 walks issued by Rochester pitching Tuesday night. They were doomed by a shortage of clutch hitting though, as the Patriots spoiled Austin's home debut by a 7-4 count.

"We just didn't get the timely hits, we had the opportunities," said Post 91 coach Bob Stratton.

While it did have its chances, Austin stranded five runners in scoring position. Three times they loaded the bases with less than two outs, but they converted those into just three runs. Rochester, on the other hand had a modest eight hits, but four of them went for extra bases.

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"We knew out front that would be our shortcoming this season," Stratton said of his squad's hitting, "but being the optimist, I think we'll get better as the year goes on."

Austin went with Sean Selmecki to start the game in an attempt to rest Kyle Rizzi for his appearance in this weekend in the Lions All-Star Baseball Tournament. Selmecki was victimized in the first inning when Patriot cleanup hitter Tom Corcoran blasted a two-run homer to right.

While Selmecki retired Rochester in order in the second, he was replaced with Paul Leathers after the first two batters reached in the third. It looked like Leathers might escape allowing just one run when he induced two straight fielder's choices. But the Patriots got a single and a walk to the load the bases for Greg Polt, who delivered a two-run single that took a bad hop over third baseman Andy Swank, making it 5-1.

Post 91 had gotten one of the runs back in the first thanks to an RBI-double from Nels Nelson. He was forced to hold at third though when it looked like Andy Swank's base hit might not drop, and Patriot starter David Arnett got the last two outs to hold them to just one run.

After getting nothing off three walks over the second and third innings, Austin had a golden opportunity to get back in the game when Arnett walked the bases full to start the fourth. Joe Kroc had a one-out sacrifice fly to score Nate Johnson, but Kyle Rizzi's sharp grounder was gloved by the first baseman to keep it at 5-2.

Rochester chased Leathers in the fifth when Ben Schafer laced a one-out double down the left-field line. In relief, Rizzi didn't fare much better as Corcoran followed with a triple and later scored.

Arnett's wildness kept Austin's hope for a comeback alive. He opened the fifth by walking the first two batters. That threat was extinguished though when Nelson was thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.

Austin got back at it in the sixth when Selmecki and John Bastyr opened the inning with base hits. After Kroc walked to load the bases, Rizzi came through with a two-run single to make it a 7-4 game. Arnett loaded the bases again with a walk to Nelson, but he then retired the next two to thwart what would be Austin's last chance to score.

Austin drops to 1-4 after receiving the loss in their First District opener. The Patriots up their record to 2-2 and 2-3 overall.

Post 91 travels to Rochester tonight for a doubleheader with the Redhawks. First pitch will be 6:30 p.m. at Mayo Field.

Notes: Rizzi was selected for the Southern All-Star team in the 29th annual Lions All-Star Baseball Tournament, which will be held this Friday and Saturday at Chaska Athletic Park in Chaska. Rizzi is the first Austin High representative since Nick Rohne in 2000.

Box Score:

Rochester 7Austin 4


White ss2200Kroc ss1101

Ellerbusch lf4000Rizzi lf-p4012

Schafer c4221Nelson 2b2011

Corcoran rf3323Swank 3b2010

Verbout 3b3011Edge c4000

Polt 1b3012Johnson cf2100

Arnett p3000

Ehret ph1000

Fuller 2b3010Slmcki p-lf3110

Steffen cf2010

Leathers p0000

Bastyr 1b2110

VanPrsdy rf1000

Krfhge ph1000




2B--R:Schafer 2, AUS:Nelson. 3B--R:Corcoran. HR--R:Corcoran. SB--R:White, AUS:Kroc. CS--AUS:Nelson. S--R:Steffen. SF--R:Verbout, AUS:Kroc.








Leathers2 1/332211

Rizzi2 2/331103

WP--Arnett. Balk--Selmecki.