The Austin 18U baseball team, the No. 1 seed in the Southern Minny League playoffs hosted eighth-seeded Rochester John Marshall in the quarterfinals Monday night at Marcusen Park, and Austin survived a major scare by parlaying four walks, including one with the bases loaded, a wild pitch and a two-out error into three runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally for a 6-5 win.
Austin led 2-1 heading into the top of the third when a two-out, RBI single put JM in the lead 3-2. JM increased their lead to 5-2 in the fifth with a pair of unearned runs courtesy of three Austin errors, but Austin rallied in the bottom half of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 5-3 on an RBI double off the bat of Tony Ciola.
Ciola, who got the start on the mound for Austin wound up going 1 for 4 at the plate with the RBI double and a walk, Zach Bollingberg was 2 for 3 with two runs knocked in, a walk and two runs scored, Tanner Murphy was 1 for 4 with a double and a RBI, Jackson Oehlfke and Nick Dunlap were both 1 for 2 with a walk, Andrew Schumacher, who scored the winning run for Austin in the seventh when Murphy reached on an error was 1 for 3 for the game with a stolen base, a walk and the run scored, Dawson Mills drew three walks and scored a run and Sam Nelsen and Ian Bundy both scored runs for Austin in the dramatic win.
Tony Ciola started on the mound for Austin and pitched the first five innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking five. Cole Walter pitched the last two innings for the win as he gave up two runs, one earned on two hits and walked a batter.
With the win, Austin moves into the Southern Minny League semi-finals against No. 4 seed Mankato East, who defeated No. 5 seed Red Wing Monday night 4-0. First pitch for the game at Marcusen Park Wednesday night is slated for 6:30 p.m. The other semi-final will pit No. 2 Rochester Mayo against No. 3 seed Owatonna. Mayo defeated seventh-seeded St. Peter 11-1 and Owatonna upended No. 6 Mankato West 5-4.