Post 91 pounds on LaCrescent

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2003

A shaky start did not stop the Austin Legion Post 91 baseball team from achieving its first of two goals Saturday at Marcusen Park.

Post 91 opened the game with two defensive errors and a hit batsman, loading the bases for LaCrescent with no outs in the first game of a First District doubleheader. Austin pitcher Nels Nelson and his troops buckled down and gave up just one run, eventually shaking off the rust and rallying to a 12-2, run-rule shortened victory.

Austin had not played a game since the championship finals of the Post 91 Classic last Sunday, and barely scratched together a full lineup of nine players Saturday afternoon. The local Legion team sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run fifth inning and capped off the 10-run triumph with a solo run in the bottom of the sixth.

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Nelson moved his overall record to 4-5 with nine strikeouts and one earned run in six innings. He allowed just three hits and no walks, but hit three batters.

Nate Johnson's three-run homer in the third opened up an Austin offense that struggled early to find its way against LaCrescent's Luke Shimshak. Nick Ehret singled to start the third, Adam Edge walked one out later, and Johnson drove a line drive over the right-center field fence.

Austin finished with 11 hits, with Ehret accounting for three of them, including a two-run single through a drawn-in infield in the seventh.

Scott Hanson delivered a two-out RBI-single in the fourth to plate Joe Kroc, who reached on an error, for a 4-1 Post 91 lead.

After Nelson reached on an error to start the fifth, John Bastyr, Sean Selmecki and Andy Swank singled to plate the first of seven runs. Kroc was hit by a pitch to force in another, and Ehret pounded a single through the middle for two more.

Hanson walked to reload the bases for Edge, who also plated a run with a base on balls. Nate Johnson's would-be bloop single was close enough to the centerfielder that Ehret had to wait and tag, but the ball dropped and a strong throw home recorded the force-out.

Nelson ended the rally with a two-run single down the left-field line, and struck out the side in the top of the sixth while guarding an 11-2 lead.

Post 91 (10-10, 5-2) made the final decision academic with no outs in the sixth. Swank earned a leadoff walk, Kroc singled to right, and Ehret forced a tough throw on his infield single. The throw to first went wild, and Swank trotted across as the game-ending run.

Edge was the only Austin batter without a hit, but he reached three times on walks and scored twice. Ehret finished with three singles and Bastyr had two. Both Nelson and Ehret -- products of Lyle/Pacelli -- had two RBIs.

Results from the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, as well as Sunday’s noon non-league game with Mankato, will be reported in Monday's edition of the Herald.




Shimshak and Tukua; Nelson and Hanson. WP--Nelson (4-5). LP--Shimshak. 2B--LAC: Tukua. HR--AUS: Johnson.