Austin Eagles take home state U14 baseball title

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Austin Eagles 14 and under All Stars baseball team won the Minnesota Sports Federation’s (MSF) State Championship baseball tournament held this past weekend at the Riverland Baseball Complex. The Austin team went 5-0 on the weekend to bring home the championship trophy.

The Eagles began their quest under the lights at Dick Seltz Field Friday night taking on Eden Prairie Red and came away with a 9-7 victory. Tommy Olmsted led the offense going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, Gabe Kasak was 3-for-5 scoring twice, Jared Gardner went 2-for-4 and scored twice, and Marcus Stoulil was 2-for-4 while scoring once.

Gardner started on the hill with Olmsted coming on in relief to notch the victory. Zach Wessels picked up a save by pitching the last two innings to secure the victory.

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On Saturday morning the All-Stars took on a tough Worthington squad and won 4-2. In a pitching duel with the Worthington pitcher, Marcus Stoulil picked up the complete game victory. Stoulil was steady through the seven inning affair allowing two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts while walking two batters. The Eagles trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, but scored three runs on two singles and two sacrifices. Wessels and Stoulil both had singles and scored with Sean Coffey and Gabe Kasak providing the sacrifices to move the runners. Skylar Johnson also scored in the pivotal inning by reaching on a fielder’s choice, advancing on Stoulil’s single, and scored the eventual winning run on a passed ball.

The victory moved the Austin team into the quarterfinals Sunday morning against a very good team from Hutchinson. The Eagles got off to a fast start by scoring two runs in the top of the first on a single by Stoulil, an RBI triple by Kasak and a double by Olmsted. Austin scored again in the third on singles by Stoulil, Kasak, and Gardner, plating Stoulil to take a 3-1 lead. Hutchinson scored twice in the bottom of the third to tie the game.

Gabe Kasak provided the winning run in the top of the fifth with two outs when he hit a blast to right field that just missed clearing the fence. Kasak sped into third base with his second triple of the game and scored the winning run when the Hutchinson center fielder could not hold Will Waggoner’s fly ball. Hutchinson had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but pitcher Tommy Olmsted, catcher Zach Wessels and third baseman Jared Gardner caught the third base runner straying too far from the base and were able to tag him out in a rundown for the second out. Olmsted, on in relief of Wessels, was able to record the final out on a fly ball to right fielder Skylar Johnson in the wild 4-3 victory.

Austin advanced to the semi-finals where they were pitted against LaCrescent, a team that had advanced by beating this year’s MBT State Champions, Shoreview Red, in their quarterfinal matchup. The Eagles got off to a fast start for the second straight game in the top of the first. Stoulil, Kasak, Waggoner, Gardner, and Zach Huntley opened the game with singles and Wessels provided a double in the four-run inning. Austin scored twice in the fifth on a two-out, two-RBI single by Skylar Johnson. Stoulil and Gardner scored two more runs in sixth in the 8-3 victory.

Jared Gardner led the attack going 4-for-4, scoring three times with one RBI. Marcus Stoulil was 4-for-5, scoring twice with two stolen bases. Gabe Kasak was the pitching star, going seven innings for the complete game win while allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

The win advanced the All-Stars to the MSF State Championship game where their opponent would be Shoreview Blue. Shoreview had advanced by defeating Kenyon-Wanamingo 9-8, in the other semi-final game. The Austin All-Stars won their first ever MSF 14 & under State Championship with a thrilling 3-0 win.

Stellar pitching and outstanding defense by the All-Stars led the way to victory in the championship game. Marcus Stoulil, Tommy Olmsted, and Zach Wessels handled the pitching duties scattering six hits and allowing no runs in the seven inning contest. Olmsted picked-up the win with Wessels recording the save.

Sean Coffey led the offense going 2-for-3 with an RBI and Kasak was also instrumental going 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Stoulil was 2-for-4, scoring a run and had a stolen base.

Coffey provided the defensive play of the game. In the top of the fifth with Austin leading 2-0, Shoreview was threatening with a runner on second and no outs. The lead-off hitter, who was 2-for-2 up to this point, hit a hard grounder back to Olmsted on the mound. The runner broke for third as Olmsted threw the ball to first baseman Zach Huntley for the first out. Huntley fired low to third and the ball got past third baseman Jared Gardner and headed into foul territory down the third base line. Coffey, hustling the whole way, from his spot in left field, picked-up the ball and fired a strike to catcher Zach Wessels at the plate to nail the runner for the second out. The next batter hit a weak fly ball to Huntley at first to record the third out and the All-Stars shutout Shoreview the rest of the way for the victory.

Both Gardner and Huntley helped the defense by each making two, over the shoulder, running catches of pop-ups in foul territory. Ben Farrell provided Austin with an all-important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth by coaxing a two out walk with the bases loaded. Farrell fouled off numerous two strike pitches in battling for the walk that forced in the important third run for the Eagles.

“The guys played great defense all weekend and our pitchers threw strikes. Every team member contributed throughout the tournament and we won close games with hustle and desire,” Austin head coach Rick Stoulil said. “Playing in our home town, with the support of all the local fans, we were able to come away with a State Title and it is a tremendous feeling, something these young men will never forget.”

The All-Stars ended their season with a 19-7 record and a State Championship.

It was a big weekend for Gabby Weis, the long-time leader of the Austin All-Stars youth baseball organization, who retired from the dugout last year after coaching Austin youth for 30 years. He watched anxiously from the side-lines in Austin as the 14 & under team chased a state title while monitoring, via cell phone, the progress of the 12 & under team who were fighting for, and winning, a state title of their own in Owatonna.

“The Gaberoo had a smile as wide as the Mississippi on Sunday evening, knowing that the program he had founded 31 years ago had just won two State Championships on the same day,” Stoulil said.