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Cooper Chandler hits a single during a Section 1AAA playoff game against Austin on May 29, 2021 at The Ath. Jake Pfeifer / Republican Eagle

RED WING — A frantic late-inning rally was stopped one run short Saturday at The Ath as Red Wing lost its Section 1AAA first-round playoff game to Austin, 6-5. The game was every bit as close as the score indicated, as either team could have won. But the mistakes skewed slightly more towards the Wingers’ direction, giving them the loss and sending them into the elimination bracket.

The turning point in the game occurred in the fourth inning, when Austin put three runs on the scoreboard to take a 4-1 lead. It wasn’t just the three runs either, but how those runs scored that sapped the energy from Red Wing in the middle innings. Austin started the inning with a hit batter that advanced to second base on a sac bunt. An RBI single scored Austin’s first run as a pitch that got past Reid Hartmann at the plate and a Red Wing error allowed the Packers to add two more runs.

Austin kept the momentum going with one more run in the fifth inning to go up 5-1 but that was short lived as Cooper Chandler sparked a rally for Red Wing. Chandler hit a leadoff single in the sixth inning, followed by a double by Deso Buck to put runners at second and third with nobody out. A two-run single by Evan Petersmeyer two batters later provided the life the Wingers needed to get back in the game. Before the sixth inning was finished, Jorgen Ulvenes added one more run to the scoreboard with an RBI single to trim Red Wing’s deficit to one run heading into the final inning.

Austin scored one run in the top of the seventh inning on a two-out single after a pair of walks put two runners on base. That run proved to be all the difference in the end as Red Wing managed just one run in the bottom of the inning — a Buck sac fly that scored Christiaan Koehler.

Pitching stats: Drew Ball (5 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 5 H, 3 ER), Chandler (2 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, 2 H, 1 ER)

Batting stats: Chandler (3 H, 2 R), Buck (1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI), Ball (1 RBI), Petersmeyer (1 H, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB), Mitch Seeley (1 BB), Reid Hartmann (1 H), Ulvenes (1 H, 1 RBI), Koehler (1 2B, 1 R)

With the loss, Red Wing, 6-14, moves to the elimination bracket of the Section 1AAA playoffs. The Wingers will next face No. 8 seed Faribault on Tuesday at The Ath.

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