The Austin Packers baseball team, the No. 5 seed in the Section 1AAA playoffs traveled to Red Wing Saturday to take on the fourth seeded Wingers, and the Packers parlayed three unearned runs in the 4th inning, a huge two-out, RBI single from Jared Lillemon in the 7th inning and a strong start from ace Teyghan Hovland on the mound to nip the Wingers 6-5 in the section quarterfinals.
Austin took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Hovland singled with one out, stole second and scored on a RBI single from catcher Dakota Retterath. Red Wing knotted the game at one in the bottom half of the inning with a single from leadoff hitter Cooper Chandler, who then went to second on a passed ball, to third on a sacrifice and scored on a sacrifice fly from pitcher Drew Ball. The single from Chandler would be the Wingers’ last hit until the sixth inning, though, as Austin took the lead in the fourth inning when leadoff hitter Lathan Wilson was hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt from Nic Robertson, Jordan Ransom followed with a RBI single to put the Packers ahead 2-1. Ball picked up a strikeout for the second out, but No. 8 hitter Ian Bundy then reached on an error, nine hitter Bryce Fischer walked to load the bases and with leadoff hitter Bray Klapperick at the plate, a wild pitch scored Ransom and moved Bundy to third and Fischer to second. Klapperick then reached on another Red Wing error to score Bundy to put Austin ahead 4-1, but Fischer was thrown out at the plate trying to score to end the inning.
The Packers tacked on another run in the fifth when Teyghan Hovland led off with a single and with one out, Lathan Wilson and Nic Robertson belted back-to-back singles to score Hovland and put Austin ahead 5-1. Red Wing put themselves back in the game in the bottom of the sixth when then used a single, a double, a two-RBI single with one out and another RBI single with two out to cut Austin’s lead to 5-4. The Packers scored what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the seventh when Dakota Retterath walked to start the inning. He went to second on a passed ball and later scored on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Jared Lillemon to make the score 6-4. The insurance run proved huge as leadoff hitter Christian Koehler doubled to start the bottom of the seventh inning off of reliever Nic Robertson. A single by Cooper Chandler moved Koehler to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly from Deso Buck to cut the Austin lead to 6-5. Robertson shut the door from there, though, as he got both Drew Ball and cleanup hitter Evan Petersmeyer to fly out to center to end the game.
Offensivley for the Packers, Teyghan Hovland picked up two of Austin’s seven hits in the game with two singles and two runs scored, Dakota Retterath was 1 for 3 with a RBI and a run scored, Bray Klapperick was 1 for 4, Lathan Wilson went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Nic Robertson was 1 for 2 with a run knocked in, Jordan Ransom was 1 for 3 with a RBI and a run scored, Jared Lillemon was 1 for 4 with the bit two-out RBI single in the seventh inning and Ian Bundy reached on an error and scored in the fourth.
Hovland gave Austin the strong start they were looking for on the mound as he went the first five and two-thirds of an inning and gave up four runs, all earned on five hits, he struck out six and walked one. Nic Robertson earned the save as he went the last one and two-thirds of an inning and gave up one run, which was earned on two hits, and he did not strike out or walk a batter.
With the win, Austin moves to 6-10 overall on the season, and the Packers are back in action Tuesday afternoon in Byron against the No. 1 seeded Bears, as they edged No. 8 seed Faribault Saturday 2-1. You’ll hear the game on AM 1480 KAUS, with the Austin Packers pre-game show on the air at 4:50 p.m. and first pitch at 5:00 p.m. You can also listen online on our webpage at myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio and Radio.com apps.