The Austin VFW Post #1216 baseball team, the No. 6 seed in the District 1 tournament took on 11th seeded Waseca in the opening round in Owatonna Saturday, and it was Waseca jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead and eventually holding off a furious comeback late from Austin to hang on to win 8-7.
Waseca tallied five runs in the top of the first for the quick 5-0 cushion, but Post #1216 tallied two runs of their own in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 5-2. Waseca answered with one in the fifth and two in the sixth for an 8-2 lead, and a five-run rally by Austin in the bottom half of the sixth eventually left Post #1216 just shy of coming all the way back.
Offensively for Austin, Sam Oelfke led the way by going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI’s, Landon Meyer went 2 for 3 with a run knocked in and scored two more, Peyton Ransom and Cooper Napton each added a RBI and Isaac Osgood walked three times and scored twice in the contest, plus Napton, Dane Schara and Ethan Anderson all scored one run apiece for Austin, who left 13 men on base in the game.
Blake Cummings pitched into the sixth inning and was tagged with the loss, giving up the eight Waseca runs, with only three earned, on ten hits, striking out five and walking four. Isaac Nelson went the rest of the way on the mound for Post #1216, giving up no runs on no hits, striking out none and walking none.
The loss put Austin up against 13th seeded Byron, who fell to Owatonna in the first game of the day Saturday, and it was Byron rallying back from a 3-0 defict with four runs in the top of the fourth inning to eventually edge Post #1216 6-5.
Austin scored one in the first and two in the second to take the 3-0 lead, but Byron answered with four in the top of the fourth for the 4-3 lead, and the game then remained scoreless until the top of the sixth when Byron added two big insurance runs for a 6-3 lead. Austin came back with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to 6-5, but Post #1216 was held off the scoreboard the rest of the way in the loss.
Ethan Anderson led Austin at the plate in the game by going 2 for 4 with a double and three RBI’s, Peyton Ransom was 2 for 3 with a run knocked in, and Isaac Nelson and Isaac Osgood both went 1 for 2 for the other hits in the game for Post #1216. Sam Oelfke tallied a RBI and scored a run as well, but unfortunately for Austin, men left on base was the key stat for the second game in a row as although Post #1216 drew seven walks in the contest, they stranded 14 men on base in the loss.
Sam Oelfke pitched the first five innings for Austin and took the loss, giving up four runs, all earned, on seven hits, striking out two and walking five. Isaac Osgood pitched the last two innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on two hits, striking out none and walking two.
With the two losses, Austin was eliminated from the District tournament, but Post #1216 will return to action in the State VFW Baseball Tournament, as the host team earns an automatic bid. Austin will play an opponent yet to be determined in one of the first games of the tournament, which will be played at Marcusen Park August 4th-7th.