Huskies Beat Tigers, Play for Conference Title Monday
The Huskies took care of business Saturday in Albert Lea and will play for a piece of the Big Nine title Monday against Mankato West. Owatonna edged the Tigers 3-2 in a makeup game at Hayek Field behind a great pitching performance from Matt Seykora. The first game Monday at Franklin Rogers Field at 4 pm will decide the league title before the teams play a nonconference game right afterward.
Seykora went six innings with an economic pitch total Saturday. Payton Beyer earned the save. He also scored the first run on a first-inning hit by Grant Achterkirch, drove in the tie-breaking run in the sixth and stole three bases. Taylor Bogen had the other RBI. Mason Kunkel turned an assisted double play at first in the seventh inning. The Tigers runs were unearned.
OHS coach Tate Cummins said West is loaded, "They're super good from top to bottom. They have four guys that are throwing well. Setting up for the AAA tournament. They're definitely a favorite to win it. Can we show up on Monday and create some issues for them? Absolutely."
The Scarlets are top-rated in Class AAA. The Huskies play in AAAA in the playoffs. The double-dip was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 27 but the schools agreed to move it up to Monday to allow for enough rest for their pitching staffs with playoffs beginning as early as May 29.
Mankato West (10-0 in the conference) has already secured no less than a share of the Big Nine title for the first time since 2003. OHS (9-1) won the title most recently in 2018. See the full history of Big Nine baseball titles at www.big9.org.
Owatonna began the weekend with a 10-1 nonconference loss to Northfield. The game, already a makeup of a rainout at Northfield, was held at Memorial Field in Dundas due to downpours that left the field at Northfield High School unplayable.
Memorial Field, on the other hand, was in great shape, "You walk around on the turf (grass) and can see they put a lot of money into this facility...It's absolutely the best playing surface we've been on this year," Cummins said. Dundas will co-host the state amateur tournament in 2022 with Bell Field in Faribault.
A highlight of the game was the relief work of Addison Andrix, pitching four innings and getting stronger as he went on, retiring the final eight batters he faced. The Huskies had an early 1-0 lead, but the Raiders scored five in the second and five more in the third.
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