Aces Beat Hounds with Small Ball, Big Inning
The Owatonna Aces topped Austin 12-2 in seven innings Wednesday night in their next-to-last game of their abbreviated season. Owatonna used small ball to produce a five-run fourth inning. And followed up with a four-run fifth to put the game out of reach.
Matt Simon delivered the game-ending hit in the seventh to plate Payton Beyer and put the ten-run rule into effect. It was Simon's third hit and third RBI. Beyer also had his third hit. He singled with one out and stole second. Beyer moved to third on a dropped third strike that was the second out.
Tucker Alstead got hit by a pitch and the Greyhounds intentionally walked Kodey Kiel to load the bases. Simon got ahead in the count and fouled off a 3-2 pitch before drilling a line drive past the 'Hounds third baseman to push in the winning run.
In the game-changing fourth inning, Benji Hager worked an eight-pitch walk with one out. The Aces followed with singles by Dawson Leer, Jake Hines, Beyer, and Dexter Leer. Alstead hit a sac fly. Simon hit a two-run single. The five-spot put Owatonna up 7-1.
Austin got one back in the top of the fifth, the only earned run allowed by Aces starter Tyler Smith who threw the complete game on about 90 pitches. He allowed seven hits, all singles, and struck out three while walking one.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dawson Leer blooped a single, Beyer got a walk, Dexter Leer and Alstead hit singles, and Kiel smashed a ball to the center field fence for a double putting the Aces up 11-2 over the league leaders.
Hager made a nice running grab in right field to open the third inning. Smith induced ten fly ball or pop outs.
Team manager and Owatonna Super Fan Chris Caldwell (better known as CC) celebrated his birthday by throwing out the first pitch. The picture that accompanies this story shows CC joining the post-game celebration.
The Aces (5-4) host Waseca Friday, July 24 at 7:30 pm at Chuck Fuller Field at Dartt's Park to close out the regular season.