All’s well that ends well: Austin scores three in a hitless inning to survive an upset bid

Published 9:58 pm Monday, August 3, 2020

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The top-seeded Austin 18U baseball team almost found itself on the wrong end of a big upset, but it stayed poised and caught a bit of luck in a 6-5 win over No. 8 Rochester John Marshall in a Southern Minny Tournament quarterfinal game Monday night in Marcusen Park.

Austin trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, and while it didn’t record a hit in the frame, it came up with a walk-off win when Tanner Murphy reached on a JM error with two outs to score Andrew Schumacher.

Members of the Austin 18U baseball team celebrate their win over Rochester John Marshall in Marcusen Park Monday. Rocky Hulne/

Murphy was mobbed by teammates after the play, which saw him push a grounder to the right side of the infield.

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“I thought it was going to be up the middle and I hustled up the line,” Murphy said.  “I guess I dove to first for the heck of it.”

Austin had four walks in the inning, including a bases-loaded walk drawn by Zach Bollingberg to make it a 6-5 game. Anthony Ciola struck out with the bases loaded and one out, but Ian Bundy scored on a wild pitch with two outs to make it a tie game before Schumacher came home to end the contest.

Austin’s Andrew Schumacher slides safely into second base against Rochester John Marshall. Rocky Hulne/

Schumacher drew a walk to start Austin’s seventh inning rally.

“We knew we just had to be patient. He wasn’t giving us much to hit,” Schumacher said. “We just had to be safe and keep taking pitches until we saw something.”

Austin had the tying run at second base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Jed Nelson struck out with runners on second and third to end the threat. Anthony Ciola doubled in a run earlier to pull Austin within 5-3 with one out in the sixth.

JM took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning when Sam Fretz singled in a run with two outs.

Austin’s Zach Bollingberg rounds third base en route to scoring a run in Marcusen Park Monday. Rocky Hulne/

Austin had a pair of chances to get back in the game, but left the bases loaded after a two-out groundout by Nick Dunlap in the third and left runners on first and second after Cole Walter grounded out to end the fifth inning.

JM scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning that saw Austin commit three errors.

Monday’s win gives Austin second life as the team was on the verge of seeing its season come to an end. Austin now has a new sense of focus for the single elimination tournament.

“Every team can bring it and you can’t just sit back,” Schumacher said. “For some of us this could be our last time playing organized baseball. We’re happy to be playing Wednesday.”

Austin will host a Southern Minny semifinal  against Mankato East at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

JM 0 2 1  0 0 2  0  —  5  9  2

Austin 1 1 0  0 0 1  3  — 6  7  5

Austin pitching: Anthony Ciola 5 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 3 ER, 4 K; Cole Walter (W) 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 

Austin hitting: Zach Bollingberg, 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, BB, 2 R; Ciola, 1-for-4, double, RBI, BB; Tanner Murphy, 1-for-4, double, RBI; Jackson Oehlfke, 1-for-2, BB; Dawson Mills, 0-for-1, 3 BBs, R; Nick Dunlap, 1-for-2, BB; Cole Walter, 0-for-3, BB; Andrew Schumacher, 1-for-3, SB, BB, R; Jed Nelson, 0-for-2; Sam Nelsen, R; Ian Bundy, BB, R

Austin’s Cole Walter looks to throw from second base. Rocky Hulne/