Owatonna’s VFW baseball team, who reached the district playoff’s semi-final round by taking down Albert Lea and Cannon Falls last weekend, will face off against Austin on Saturday in Northfield. First pitch is slated for 12:30 p.m.
The two teams met once during the regular season with Owatonna coming out on top 6-5; Owatonna tied the game in the top of the fifth inning with a run and sealed the victory by adding another in the top of the seventh. Chris Homuth and Noah Truelson combined to throw all seven innings, striking out three and surrendering only three earned runs. At the plate, Ayden Walter went 4-for-5 in the lead-off spot with an RBI, while Michael Reinardy went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Alec Harris and Truelson also contributed a hit and an RBI apiece.
Owatonna finds themselves in the midst of an eight-game winning streak in which they have defeated opponents by an average of 4.8 runs. The team, which has allowed five or more runs in only 12 of their 28 games this season, has not played since last Sunday afternoon, meaning that they should have their full arsenal of pitching available to them for the game against Austin. Reinardy (40 innings), Homuth (28), Addison Andrix (22), Mitch Seykora (22) and Truelson (20) are the top five on the team in innings pitched and all own ERAs below 3.65.
Offensively, Owatonna has been in a groove as of late, reaching or eclipsing five runs in 10 of their last 13 contests. Walter leads the team with a .571 batting average and a .610 on-base percentage in 41 plate appearances, while Seykora leads in hits (26), doubles (6), RBI (15), runs (26) and walks (16). In total, Owatonna’s roster boasts nine athletes with double-digit RBI totals.
No team remaining in the tournament field has been as hot as Owatonna has been since June 21. Since that time, the team has accumulated a record of 11-2 with both of their losses coming by a combined five runs (7-4 loss against La Crescent; 4-2 loss against Waseca).
Baseball is a fickle sport to predict and any team can come away victorious on any given day, but Owatonna has as good a shot as any remaining team in the field to come away with the title.