The Austin 17U baseball team, the No. 3 seed in the Southern Minny League playoffs hosted No. 6 Mankato East at Marcusen Park Tuesday evening, and although three Austin pitchers allowed only three hits for the game, East picked up two of them in a two-run top of the 7th to rally to defeat Austin 3-2.
Austin took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third when No. 9 hitter Blake Smith, Lathan Wilson and Bray Klapperick belted three singles in a row to load the bases. Dusty Copley then followed with a RBI groundout to second, and a wild pitch with designated hitter Kody Blom at the plate scored Wilson with the second Austin run.
Mankato East had threatened to score in the top half of the inning when they put runners on second and third with only one out, but Copley, who got the start for Austin on the mound pitched out of the jam to keep the game scoreless at that point. East pushed a run across in the top of the fifth to cut the Austin lead to 2-1 and then took the lead for good in the seventh when Joey Uldrych lined a RBI single to right field to tie the game at two. Another single kept the inning alive and East was then able to push an unearned run across for the eventual game-winner with an Austin fielding error with two outs. Austin tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh when Nick Robertson led off by drawing a walk and Lathan Wilson drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second, but a fly ball to shallow center field ended the game in favor of East.
Klapperick was 2 for 4 in the game for Austin, while Wilson was 1 for 3 with the seventh inning walk and a run scored. Blake Smith was 1 for 3 and scored the other run for Austin while Blom drew a pair of walks and stole a base. Nick Robertson and Nelson both also drew walks for Austin, who finished their season with a record of 5-4. With the win, Mankato East moves on to play No. 2 seed Rochester Lourdes tonight in Rochester, as they downed tenth-seeded Rochester Century 6-3.
The other Southern Minny League semi-final will pit top-seeded Mankato West against No. 4 seed Faribault. West blew past eighth-seeded Owatonna Tuesday night 10-1 while Faribault clipped No. 5 seed Rochester Mayo 3-2.