Post 1216 is aiming at state VFW baseball tournament

Published 7:31 pm Monday, July 23, 2018

This past spring the Austin High School baseball team and Lyle-Pacelli High School baseball team each ended up just short of the Minnesota State Baseball Tournament. Now the Austin Post 1216 VFW baseball team that has players from each of those squads has its sights set on advancing to state as it will play in the District Tournament in Northfield this weekend.

The Packers were one win away from the Class AAA State Tournament and the Athletics were two wins away from the Class A State Tournament. Zach Bollingberg was a starter for that LP team and now he’s stepped up for Post 1216 this summer. Bollingberg picked up a pair of pitching wins over the weekend in Sub-Districts for Post 1216.

“We were just trying to be efficient [this past weekend]. We tried to stay ahead in the count and let our seven do the work behind us. We wanted to make it easy and not waste any pitching,” Bollingberg said. “The spring season helped us get in the the groove and get ready for this summer. I really want to go to state. That would be really fun.”

Jackson Oelfke makes solid contact in practice for the Austin Post 1216 VFW baseball team in Marcusen Park Monday. Rocky Hulne/

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Austin beat Kasson-Mantorville 10-0, and it beat Mayo by scores of 8-1 and 11-0 in the Sub-District Tournament over the weekend in Marcusen Park. Austin has now scored 63 total runs in its last five games as it prepares to take on Winona in Northfield at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“I think our team is really clicking right now and we’re playing our best baseball of the year,” said Anthony Ciola, who shared pitching duties with Bollingberg over the weekend.

Austin head coach Joe Ciola said that Post 1216 has learned that it needs to be ready to come out and play hard every time they get on the field this summer. If Austin can play to its potential, it should be in the running to advance to state as it competes in the four-team, double-elimination District Tournament this weekend.

“I always tell them ‘the biggest competition will be ourselves.’ This last weekend they came out with a lot of energy and were ready to compete and put it on the line. When they do that, they can compete with anybody,” Joe Ciola said. “You can’t just show up at the park. You have to show up to prove yourself and earn a win.”