Packers use defense to beat Tigers in postseason opener

Published 7:39 pm Saturday, May 26, 2018

The top-seeded Austin baseball team didn’t do a lot of hitting in its Section 1AAA tournament opener against No. 6 seeded Albert Lea, but the Packers did play a lot of defense as they beat the Tigers 2-1 in Seltz field Saturday.
The Packers (13-5 overall) turned two double plays and Austin catcher Hunter Guyette threw out three runners on the base paths to keep the Tigers in check.

“He’s a game changer,” Austin head coach Joe Kroc said of Guyette. “He’s a legit talent back there. You can’t say enough about him as the quarterback behind the plate and he’s done a great job bouncing back from that injury.”

Austin’s Riley Retterrath puts down a tag at third base against Albert Lea in the Section 1AAA Tournament Saturday afternoon at Dick Seltz Fied. Eric Johnson/

AL (6-11) out-hit Austin 10-4, but it didn’t score until the top of the sixth inning when Garret Piechowski singled in a run. The Packers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Hunter Johnson doubled to deep right-center field and he scored on an AL error. Jack Dankert, who picked up the win on the mound, also had an RBI in the frame.
“I went up to the plate thinking this team needed a spark,” Johnson said. “I saw the first pitch and I swung at it because I thought it was a pretty pitch. It went far and it sparked the team up.”
Johnson and the Packers are hoping they can find their hitting stroke as they prepare to host Red Wing at 5 p.m. Tuesday. After that contest, the Section 1AAA tournament will move to Red Wing on June 2 and June 5.
“Everybody’s so tense in the dugout and we’re trying to keep it fun in the dugout, but it seems like when things get rough people get tight and mistakes happen,” Johnson said. “That’s something we’ll work on as we get further into the playoffs.”

Austin senior Josi Bothun shut down AL’s threat in the sixth as he came in to pick up the save. He said the Packers are trying not to be overconfident, although they have the top-seed in the tourney.

Austin’s Jack Dankert turns to throw to first after fielding a bunt against Albert Lea in the Section 1AAA Tournament Saturday at Dick Seltz Field. Eric Johnson/

“It feels nice getting the one seed, but it doesn’t mean anything. Everybody starts off at 0-0 in the playoffs,” Bothun said. “Defense has always been our strong suite, but we can hit too. We just haven’t been able to find it lately. We’ve got to loosen up at the plate.”
AL 0 0 0  0 0 1  0  –  1  10  3
Austin 0 0 2  0 0 0  X  –  2  4   1
Austin pitching: Jack Dankert (W) 4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 3 K; Michael O’Connor, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER; Josi Bothun (S) 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K
Austin hitting: Riley Wempner, 0-for-3; Hunter Guyette, 0-for-3; Phillip Zynda, 0-for-3; AJ Mueller, 1-for-3; Bothun, 0-for-3; Riley Retterath, 0-for-1; Hunter Johnson, 1-for-2, double, R; Pete Conner, 0-for-2, R; Dankert, 1-for-2, RBI; O’Connor, 1-for-1

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