The Austin Packers baseball team, the No. 5 seed in the Section 1AAA tournament traveled to Byron Tuesday afternoon to take on the top-seeded Bears in the winner’s bracket semi-finals, and it was the Bears jumping out to a 6-0 lead and holding off several Austin rallies from there in a 6-2 victory.
Byron sent nine men to the plate in the second inning and scored three runs, and they added three more in the third when they sent eight men to the plate for a 6-0 lead. Austin advanced runners into scoring position in every inning but the fifth and finally broke through in the top of the sixth when third baseman Jordan Ransom drew a one out walk, went to second on a groundout to short and scored on a RBI single from Blake Smith. The Packers wound up loading the bases in that inning with two outs, but releiver James Durst induced a fly ball to left to end the threat. Austin scored their other run in the seventh when cleanup hitter Dakota Retterath reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a bases loaded walk to cut Byron’s lead to 6-2. The Packers wound up loading the bases again and had the potential tying run at the plate, but a strikeout for Durst ended the threat and preserved the win for the Bears. Both teams left a number of runners on base in the contest, with Austin stranding 12 men and Byron 10.
The Packers racked up eight hits in the game, with leadoff hitter Lathan Wilson going 1 for 3 with a double to start the game, Nic Robertson was 1 for 3 with a walk, Jordan Ransom was 2 for three with a walk and a run scored, designated hitter Blake Smith was 2 for 2 with two walks and a RBI and Bryce Fischer was 1 for 2 with a walk.
Lance Jacobs earned the win on the mound for Byron as he pitched the first five innings and gave up no runs on five hits, striking out one and walking three. Nic Robertson was the first of four pitchers to take the mound in the game for Austin and was tagged with the loss as he gave up three runs, two earned on five hits in one and two-thirds innings of work, striking out two and walking two.
With the loss, the Packers are now 6-11 on the season, and they fall into the elimination bracket to take on Red Wing, who defeated Faribault 3-0 Tuesday to stay alive in the tournament. You’ll hear the game live from Red Wing Thursday on AM 1480 KAUS, with the Austin Packers pre-game show at 4:50 p.m., and first pitch at 5:00 p.m. You can also listen online on our webpage Thursday at myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio and Radio.com apps.