Both Austin Legion and VFW baseball teams qualify for respective state tournaments

What a weekend for Austin area baseball!

Both the Austin Legion Post #91 and VFW Post #1216 baseball teams were in district tournament action over the weekend with a chance to advance to their respective state tournaments, and in the Sub-State 1 Legion Baseball Tournament at Marcusen Park Saturday afternoon, No. 3 seed Austin took on the top-seeded Rochester Redhawks, with Rochester needing a pair of wins to advance to state after Austin edged the Redhawks 3-2 in the winner’s bracket final Friday afternoon.  In Saturday’s matchup, starting pitcher Zach Bollingberg gave up only one run on five hits in 6 and 2/3rds of an inning, plus he was 2 for 3 at the plate with a double, a RBI and a run scored to help lead Post #91 to a 5-1 win.

Rochester took the lead with a run in the top of the second, but Austin came back to take the lead for good with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, plus another in the third and two more insurance runs in the fifth.  Austin belted out 12 hits in the game as besides Bollingberg’s two hits, Sam Nelson, who has continued his torrid hitting pace from the spring with Lyle/Pacelli was 3 for 4 with a RBI, Teyghan Hovland was 2 for 3 with a double, Jed Nelson was 1 for 2 with a pair of RBI’s and Jordan Ransom, Logan Murphy, Cole Walter and Tony Ciola all added hits in the winning effort.  Ciola came on in relief of Bollingberg in the top of the seventh and registered the last out of the game to put Austin into the Divison 1 American Legion Baseball State Tournament this Thursday through Sunday in the St. Cloud area.

The qualifying teams will be split into four different pools, with Austin in Pool 3 to start play Thursday at St. John’s University in Collegeville at 10:00 a.m. against the champion of Sub-State 2.  They will then play the champion of Sub-State 3 Thursday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., and the champion of Sub-State 11 Friday at 3:30 p.m.  The four pool winners will advance to play Saturday at Dick Putz and Joe Faber Fields in St. Cloud, with the third place and championship games to be played at Putz Field on Sunday.

The Austin VFW Post #1216 baseball team traveled to Northfield for the District 1 tournament Saturday and Sunday, and in the opening round Saturday versus Owatonna, Post #1216 trailed by the score of 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning before scoring four runs on five hits and a walk to propel themselves to a 7-4 win.  Nick Robertson was strong on the mound for Austin as he went six innings to get the win, striking out nine and walking only one.  Peyton Ransom was 4 for 4 to help lead a 14-hit attack for Austin, while Sam Oelfke added three hits in the win.

Austin took on Stewartville in their second game of the tournament Saturday, and Nick Robertson belted out three of Austin’s 14 hits in the game and knocked in four runs, and Peyton Ransom pitched five innings, striking out five and walking three to help lead Post #1216 to a 9-3 win.  Ransom added two hits to help his own cause on the mound, and Mac Nelson and Kody Blom each added two hits apiece in the win for Austin to put them into the championship game Sunday.
Austin faced Owatonna again in the championship game Sunday, and trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third, Post #1216 plated four runs and never looked back from there on their way to a 7-3 win to claim the District 1 championship.  Austin received yet another strong pitching performance, this one from Brayden Bishop who went 6 and 2/3rds, striking out nine and walking three.  Peyton Ransom got the last out of the game to earn the save, plus he also belted out three of Austin’s 14 hits in the game in the winning efford.  Jared Lillemon also chipped in three hits, including a double and three RBI’s while Bishop and Isaiah Conway each added two hits in the win.
Austin will enter the VFW state tournament having gone 6-0 overall in the play-offs after winning three straight in the sub-district tournament last weekend in Austin, and they have now won 18 in a row, dating back to June 21st.
Austin will host the Minnesota State VFW Baseball Tournament at Marcusen Park and Riverland Community College August 12th through the 16th.