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18U wraps up regular season with win, playoffs start Monday

A combination of timely hitting and pitching when it counted gave Austin 18U a 2-1 win over Mankato East to round out the regular season.

Anthony Ciola got the win, pitching 4 1/3 innings before running into a jam in the top of the fifth inning.

Cole Walter then came to the mound in relief with only one out and the bases loaded; however, he got the final two outs including an inning-ending strike out.

He then held Mankato West down the rest of the way to earn the save.

“Every time I pitch I want to give my team the best chance to win by just throwing strikes and not walking anybody,” Walter said.

Down 1-0 after Mankato West scored in the top of the second, Austin rallied back to take the lead in the bottom of the third inning on Zach Bollingberg double that drove in two runs and gave Austin the 2-1 lead that would hold for the rest of the game.

The win sets Austin up as the No. 1 seed, but they will have to wait until after a play-in game Sunday to see who they play Monday night, time yet to be decided.

As the regular season wraps up, Walter said he was feeling good about his team’s chances as they gear up for the postseason.

“We’re really confident we can beat anybody,” he said.