Closing charge: Packer baseball team is hoping a strong senior group can lead them to a big finish

Published 5:34 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

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Experience can go a long way when the postseason arrives and the Packer baseball team is betting on their strong senior class to raise the bar as the team closes in on the final stretch.

Austin has eight total seniors on its roster and shortstop Peyton Ransom, catcher Dakota Retterath, second baseman Ethan Anderson, and outfielders Isaiah Conway and Isaac Osgood have all been fixtures in the lineup.

“We’ve all been really good friends since we started playing together at 12 years old and always have fun out here,” Anderson said.

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It’s been a long ride for this senior class and they are nearing the destination point. With a sweep over all three Rochester schools in the first half of the season and competitive losses against Section 1AAA leaders like Kasson-Mantorville and Stewartville, the Packers feel they have the potential to make a run this spring, especially because the semifinals and finals of Section 1AAA will be held in Marcusen Park this season.

“I feel like we could make a state run,” Retterath said. “If we play clean baseball, we have a chance at going to state.”

As it often goes, family connections brought most of the senior boys to baseball. Retterath’s older brother Riley is a former Packer player and current assistant coach, Anderson’s mom was a softball player who steered him towards baseball, Conway’s dad once played for the Austin Greyhounds and Ransom’s older brother Jordan recently played baseball, football and basketball for the Packers just like him.

“I grew up watching my older brother play the same sports as I play and my dad played baseball and he coached me as well,” Peyton, who is Austin’s ace pitcher, said. “It’s always been fun with this group. We’ve gotten a lot of varsity experience throughout the years and we’re really improving as a team. Come section time, we’ll be a dangerous team.”

Conway has emerged into a much larger role this season as he provides a punch in the lineup and a pitcher in the rotation. He’s loving every minute of this spring.

“We hang out together outside of practice and we all get along well,” Conway said. “I’m enjoying this season and I’m excited for sections.”

Austin (5-6 overall) will host Northfield on senior day at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

That will be the first of a six-game stretch in nine days to prepare the Packers for the postseason. To improve, the Packers are focusing on cutting back on their miscues.

“We’ve had some close games that we’ve lost because of errors, but we know we can beat good teams,” Anderson said. “We’re going into the last part of the season trying to get some wins playing clean baseball.”