A.L. wins title outright

Published 9:32 am Sunday, July 22, 2012

AUSTIN — In a game that wasn’t real pretty from either side of the diamond, Albert Lea nipped Austin Post 91 Legion 8-7 Friday night at Riverland Community College.

Despite falling behind 5-1 after two innings, Austin was able to rally back and tie the game at five in the bottom of the fourth inning when Nick Gasner scored on a throwing error, but the rally couldn’t be sustained.

Albert Lea rallied in the top of the fifth, scoring three more times and taking the lead for good even though Post 91 chipped the score back to one run in the bottom half of the inning.

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“I’m happy with thekids tonight,” coach Bob Stratton said despite the loss. “They battled back and hit the ball.”

Albert Lea jumped on Austin early, batting through the line-up and taking a 3-0 lead. Albert Lea’s lead-off batter Carter Kortan started off the game by driving a 3-2 pitch from Austin pitcher Jacob Kempen over the left field fence for a solo home run and a one-run lead.

Albert Lea batters then reached base in four successive at-bats before their first batter was retired.

Austin got one run back in the bottom of the first when Ethan Horstman, who singled to kick off the half inning, scored on a triple from Marcus Stoulil.

Albert Lea added two more runs in the second that saw Austin commit three errors. Austin would go on to commit five errors total in the game and combined with Albert Lea for a total of nine errors in the game.

“We don’t really get on them for errors,” Stratton said. “We get on them for mental errors, but they are what they are. Some of them we made initial plays, but we couldn’t make the throws or make the digs.”

Albert Lea threatened in the third but Luke Mallory, who came in to relieve Kempen got the last out and then went on to shut down Albert Lea in the fourth and fifth innings including getting all three outs in the fifth on ground balls back to Mallory.

Austin cut the lead to 5-4 in the fourth with three runs. Gasner scored on a single from Stoulil and Kempen scored on a walk by Gabe Kasak. A single by Zach Wilder scored Horstman on the next at-bat.

Albert Lea finally got to Mallory in the sixth with three more runs resulting in another pitching change. Albert Lea faced a total of four Austin pitches on the night including Isaac Schumacher and Horstman.

The Albert Lea team finished its season with a 10-2 conference record and a 19-8 overall record. The Tigers next game is a playoff game at Hayek Field on Tuesday at 6 p.m. They will take on Kasson.