In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, the Lyle/Pacelli Athletics baseball team, the No. 1 seed in the Section 1A tournament took on No. 2 seed and Southeast Conference rival Southland in the winner’s bracket final at Dick Seltz Field in Austin Saturday afternoon. The two teams split their two regular-season meetings, and with a trip to the championship final on the line in their third meeting, the Athletics were able to rally back from an early 4-0 deficit to edge the Rebels, 5-4.
Southland got out to as good a start as possible as they used two hit batsmen and a single to load the bases against Lyle/Pacelli starter Isaac Nelsen, and designated hitter Jack Bruggeman then cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple to right center to give the Rebels a quick 3-0 lead. A one-out single off the bat of right fielder Easton Meyer then gave Southland a 4-0 lead after a half-inning of play.
The Athletics used a two-out rally to put a run on the board in the bottom of the first when then-center fielder Hunter VaDeer singled, and cleanup hitter Jake Truckenmiller then doubled for an RBI to score VaDeer and make the score 4-1 after one inning. Lyle/Pacelli then trimmed the Rebel lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the second when second baseman Dane Schara led off the inning by reaching on a two-base error in right field by Southland. Catcher Logyn Brooks followed with an RBI double to cut the Rebel lead to 4-2, and he then dashed to third when the throw into the infield rolled loose just far enough to enable him to reach third safely. Brooks then scored when No. 9 hitter Trey Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice for a 4-3 score after two innings.
Lyle/Pacelli then wound up taking the lead for good, it would turn out, in the bottom of the fourth when Southland starter Riley Jax walked Brooks and third baseman Jack Klingfus to start the inning. Anderson followed with an RBI single to score Brooks to tie the game at four, and both Anderson and Klingfus moved ahead 90 feet on a throwing error at short for Southland. Leadoff hitter Landon Meyer then lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Klingfus to put the Athletics ahead for the first time in the game at 5-4, but Jax then came back and struck out VaDeer and Truckenmiller to end the inning with the Athletics leading 5-4.
Southland tried to rally throughout the game as VaDeer came in to start the top of the third for Nelsen, who pitched the first two innings and gave up four runs, all earned, on five hits, striking out two, walking none and hitting two batters. Gavin Nelson led off the top of the second inning with a single off of Nelsen, and he then stole second, but Nelsen induced a fly ball to left, a liner to left and grounder to third to get out of the jam. Southland then advanced a runner to second against VaDeer in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but each time VaDeer, who threw his curveball effectively with his fastball was able to retire the side, most often on strikeouts, as he fanned 12 batters, nine of them looking, including striking out the side in both the sixth and seventh innings to earn the win in relief.
Offensively for Lyle/Pacelli, Trey Anderson went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI’s, Logyn Brooks went 1 for 2 with his RBI double and two runs scored, Jake Truckenmiller went 1 for 3 with his RBI double, Hunter Vadeer was 1 for 3 with a single and a run scored, and Landon Meyer added an RBI with his sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth. For Southland, Tyson Stevens was 2 for 4 with a run scored, Gavin Nelson went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Jack Bruggeman wound up going 1 for 4 with his three-RBI triple and a run scored, Gaston Meyer was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and both Royce Jax and Maverick Hannah went 1 for 3.
Riley Jax was tagged with the loss for the Rebels as he pitched the first 5 and 1/3 rd of an inning and gave up the five LP runs, two earned, on five hits, striking out seven and walking five. Travis Kirtz came on in relief in the top of the sixth inning and gave up no runs on no hits, striking out one and walking none.
With the win, their 11th in a row, Lyle/Pacelli is now 21-1 on the season, and they are the lone unbeaten team in the double-elimination tournament. They will now play again back at Dick Seltz Field on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against either Southland or Fillmore Central/Lanesboro, who met in the elimination bracket final in the second game at Dick Seltz Field Saturday afternoon. One win for the Athletics Tuesday would put them in the State Class A baseball tournament at Dick Putz and Joe Faber Fields in St. Cloud starting Tuesday, June 13th.