Post 91 snaps out of slump

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Austin pitcher Jacob Thompson delivers against Owatonna Wednesday night at Dick Setlz Field. - Eric Johnson/

After dropping five straight contests, the breaks finally went Austin Post 91’s way as it salvaged a split with Owatonna in a baseball doubleheader in Dick Seltz Field Wednesday.

After dropping the opener 13-2, Austin was clinging to an 8-7 lead in the top of the seventh of the second game with a runner on second and Matt Simon at the plate with two outs.

Owatonna had already scored two runs in the seventh to get within one and Simon had already launched two doubles and a single off of Austin pitcher Luke Mallory, but this time things went different.

Austin's Marcus Stoulil connects on a pitch against Owatonna in the second inning Wednesday night at Dick Seltz Field. - Eric Johnson/

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Mallory forced Simon to hit a little dribbler that Mallory picked up and threw to first to give Austin (2-5 overall) an 8-7 win in the nightcap.

“I wasn’t feeling (confident) at all. I was very nervous and I’m glad he didn’t crush one, because he was hitting good all day,” Mallory said. “(When he hit it) I just thought ‘get the ball, get the ball.’”

Mallory picked up the win on the mound, despite not pitching since early in the high school season. Mallory made two starts before missing the rest of the varsity season with mononucleosis.

“Owatonna hits the ball and I told Luke that before the game They were going to hit, but just don’t give the free pass,” Austin head coach Bob Stratton said. “He made some quality pitches tonight.”

In the first game Austin committed five errors, hit into two double plays and had two runners thrown out on base.

Things were much different in the second game as Austin had just one error and the offense was much more effective — thanks mostly to outfielder Zach Wilder.

Austin baserunner Luke Mallory dives back into second on a pick-off attempt as Owatonna's Brett Meyer covers during their Legion game Wednesday night at Dick Seltz Field. Austin baserunner Luke Mallory dives back into second on a pick-off attempt as Owatonna's Brett Meyer covers during their Legion game Wednesday night at Dick Seltz Field. - Eric Johnson/

Wilder, who didn’t play during the high school season, drove in three runs with a double to left in the third to make it a 6-2 Austin lead and he singled in two more runs in the fifth inning to make it 8-4.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit early in the year, but I just sat in there, waited for that pitch and just hit it,” Wilder, who will be a senior this fall, said. “This feels good, especially after struggling in the first game. It was great to come back with a win.”

Austin started the season off with a win, but it had lost two of its last three games by more than 10 runs before stepping up in the nightcap.

“We executed a few plays when we needed to and we had timely hitting. These guys needed a win after a couple of tough losses,” Stratton said.

Austin pitcher Jacob Thompson pitched well early in the first game as seven of the first eight runs he allowed were unearned.

Owatonna jumped out to a 6-1 lead when it scored four times in the second.

Owatonna 2 4 0 0 3 1 3 — 13 13 2

Austin 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 2 7 5

Austin pitching: Jacob Thompson (L), 7 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 13 R, 6 ER, 7 K

Austin hitting: Quinn Yocom, 1-for-4, R; Gabe Kasak, 1-for-4; Adam McMasters, 0-for-4; Aaron Goetz, 3 BBs; Marcus Stoulil, 1-for-3, double; Zach Huntley, 0-for-2, R, BB; Luke Mallory, 2-for-2, double; Mike Tindal, 1-for-3; Joey Raso, 1-for-3, double; Joey Swatfager, 0-for-1

Owatonna 0 0 2 2 0 1 2 — 7 12 1

Austin 2 0 4 0 2 0 X — 8 8 1

Austin pitching: Mallory (W), 7 IP, 12 H, 5 BBs, 7 ER, 3 K

Austin hitting: Yocom, 0-for-1, R, SB, BB, HBP; Kasak, 0-for-2; McMasters, 1-for-4; Tindal, 2-for-2, triple, RBI, 2 R, BB; Mallory, 1-for-3, RBI; Zach Wilder, 2-for-2, double, 5 RBIs, SB, BB; Caleb Whalen, 0-for-3; Jordan Lysne, 1-for-3; Stoulil, 0-for-2, R; Thompson, 0-for-1