Albert Lea/Austin's Wyatt Paulsen dives back to first base at Rochester Century Tuesday. — Rocky Hulne/Albert Lea Tribune
Albert Lea/Austin's Wyatt Paulsen dives back to first base at Rochester Century Tuesday. — Rocky Hulne/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Trouble in the 1st round

Published 9:07pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ROCHESTER — The Albert Lea/Austin American Legion baseball team had the pitching, but it didn’t have the hitting as it lost 5-0 to the Rochester A’s Tuesday in the opening round of the First District Tournament in Rochester Century.

Albert Lea/Austin, which will now play an elimination game against Faribault at Marcusen Park at 1 p.m. Friday, mustered just four hits in the loss as it stranded nine runners on base in the loss.

“It was just one of those nights,” said Albert Lea/Austin outfielder Dylan See-Rockers. “We were frustrated up there and it just wasn’t our night. We played good ‘D’ and (Clennon) deserved to win the game. We just weren’t hitting the ball tonight.”

Albert Lea/Austin pitcher Steven Clennon gave his team a chance to win as he scattered nine hits — three of which were infield hits — and allowed just three earned runs in eight innings of work.

Clennon pitched out of a jam in the fourth inning where the A’s had runners on second and third with two outs, and he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by striking out two straight hitters.

“He hasn’t had a lot of chances to pitch, but the last few times he’s thrown, he’s done real well,” Albert Lea/Austin co-head coach Bob Stratton said. “Unfortunately he didn’t deserve his fate today. Steven’s a gutsy kid and he pitched well today.”

Clennon retired eight of the first nine hitters he faced, but the A’s got on the board in the fourth when they scored a run. Century went up 3-0 in the fifth when a pair of bunt singles helped them plate two runs.

Clennon hasn’t pitched a lot this year, but he was ready to go on Tuesday.

“I felt really good headed into the game. I didn’t have any butterflies, and I was really confident,” Clennon said. “It was a lot to do with Gabe (Kasak) behind the plate. He’s a great guy, a great mentor and he knows the game. He knows how to calm you.”

No. 6 seed Albert Lea/Austin (8-14 overall) will have its season on the line when it plays No. 7 seed Faribault Friday. The winner of that game will play again at 7 p.m. Friday.

“We’re pumped to get back out there and prove ourselves,” See-Rockers said. “We know we’re better than this.”