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Albion Tigers
Matt Towns
510 St Joseph Circle
Edgerton, Wisconsin

Wednesday, February 15

The Albion Tigers mounted a furious three-run rally in the eighth inning on Sunday to defeat the Wiota Indians 6-5 and clinch their first-ever league title.  The win gave Albion a clean sweep of the round-robin Championship Series, and set off a celebration in Albion Park that won't be soon forgotten.

It wasn't roses all day for the Tigers, though.  After Adam Gregory's three-run double gave Albion an early lead, the Indians fought back and took a 5-3 lead after the top of the eighth.  However, Kris Agnew's leadoff triple was followed by an RBI from Tyler Oren to make it 5-4.  Oren was bunted to second, Adam Gregory walked, and Kyle Johnson reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out.  Lars Olstad and Lucas Gregory followed with consecutive RBI singles to drive home the tying and go-ahead runs, making the score 6-5 Albion headed into the ninth.

Wiota catcher and leadoff man Mitch Marty carried the potential tying to third base with two outs, but reliever Lucas Gregory induced a fly ball to rightfield for the third out.  Albion finishes the season with a 18-3 record in HTL play, and a 24-6 overall record. 


TIGERS PULL WITHIN ONE WIN OF THE CROWN!! -- The Albion Tigers defeated the Sauk Prairie Twins 4-1 on Sunday to go to 2-0 in the Home Talent League's Grand Championship Series, and are now one win away from their first league crown in their 70-year history!!!  One more win, next Sunday against Wiota at Albion Park, will do the job!


EASTMAN, DEEGAN LEAD TIGERS TO FINAL FOUR WIN!!! -- Josh Eastman continued his postseason dominance on the mound for the Albion Tigers, shutting down the Eastern Section Champion Monona Braves on a humid Sunday afternoon at Albion Park.  The Southeast Section Champion Tigers posted a 4-1 decision over the Braves, as Eastman tossed 8 1/3 innings to earn his third win in as many playoff games.  The Tiger righty scattered four singles, walked only one, struck out five, and gave up one unearned run. 

In three postseason starts, Eastman is 3-0 and has only allowed one earned run in 21 1/3 innings.

After going 2x3 at the plate as the Tiger's DH, Lucas Gregory went to the mound in the ninth inning with one out to relieve Eastman.  With two runners on and the tying run at the plate, Gregory got Monona rightfielder Collin Crim to ground into a double-play to end the game.

The Tigers offense grabbed a run early against Braves starter Corey Schmidt.  Aaron Laskowski doubled to lead off the first inning. Tyler Oren reached on an infield single, and a throwing error sent Laskowski home.  Following a single by Braves centerfielder Jordan Walker in the top of the fourth inning, a Tiger error allowed an unearned run to tie the game at 1-1.

The Tigers quickly stole the lead back in the bottom half of the frame when Evan Deegan singled and drove home Lars Olstad.

As Eastman continued to shut down the Braves, the Tigers took the lead for good on an RBI single by Olstad in the sixth.  Olstad later scored on Deegan's third hit of the day.

The Tigers visit the Sauk Prairie Twins on Sunday, September 4th at 1:00 PM.  The Twins also won on Sunday, defeating the Wiota Indians 7-6 in the first round of the Championship Round Robin, setting the stage for the winner of the Albion vs. Sauk Prairie game to be in control of the HTL Championship for their games on Sunday, September 11th.


TIGERS TOP GENERALS; RETURNING TO FINAL FOUR!!!  --  The Fort Atkinson Generals eliminated the Albion Tigers from the 2015 playoffs with a convincing 10-1 win in a Sectional Semi-Final, and also bested the Tigers with a 4-3 win at Albion Park in their only meeting earlier this season.  But the Tigers found their revenge on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Generals 8-1 in the Southeast Section championship game and advancing to the HTL Final Four for the first time since 2011. 

Over the next three weekends, Albion will play in the HTL Final Four round-robin tournament for the Home Talent League championship.  The Tigers will host the East Section champion Monona Braves on August 28th at Albion Park, then visit the North Section champion Sauk Prairie Twins on September 4th, and host the West Section champion Wiota Indians on September 11th.  All three games will start at 1:00 PM. 

The Generals' bats were hot in the early innings on Sunday, and it appeared they would go ahead in the first inning.  But Tiger leftfielder Lars Olstad threw out Nick Raether at home on Tim Brokl's single to kill the threat.  Fort Atkinson did take the lead in the second inning, when Josh Crandall's sacrifice fly scored Bryan Wallace.

With a 1-0 lead, Generals starter Dan Dean was in control in the early innings on Sunday.  He allowed just one hit in the first five innings, a flare single by Olstad in the fifth.  But the Tigers evened the score when Josh Eastman's 2-out RBI single in the sixth inning scored Aaron Laskowski. 

The game ultimately changed in the seventh inning, when Sam Martin and Olstad both scored on Laskowski's 2-out 2-RBI double.  His drive went past the out-stretched glove of General's leftfielder Nate Pfeifer and gave the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish.

Albion added plenty of insurance with a 5-run ninth inning.  Olstad scored on Kris Agnew's single, and Agnew and Laskowski both scored on Tyler Oren's double to deep rightfield.  For good measure, Eastman doubled off the leftfield fence to score Oren, and Adam Gregory's RBI single sent home Eastman.

Eastman was as effective on the mound as he was at the plate, earning the win while giving up one run in six innings of work.  Lucas Gregory tossed the final three innings, allowing just one base hit.


EASTMAN, LASKOWSKI LEAD TIGERS TO PLAYOFF WIN; ONE GAME FROM FINAL FOUR!!! -- The Albion Tigers moved within one game of the HTL Final Four on Sunday by shutting out the Clinton Orioles in a Southeast Section semi-final playoff game.  The #1 seed from the West Division, the Tigers faced off against the #2 seed from the East Division at Albion Park and came away with a 4-0 victory.

The win places the Tigers in the Southeast Section championship game against the #1 seed from the East Division Fort Atkinson Generals.  The Generals bested the West Division #2 seed Stoughton Merchants by a score of 6-2 on Sunday afternoon to advance to the championship game.  The Tigers and Generals faced each other just once earlier this summer, with the Generals leaving Albion Park with a victory on June 12th.  It appeared that day that the Tigers would defend their homefield after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but weren't able to score and the Generals held on for a 4-3 win.

Albion is seeking their first trip back to the Final Four since 2011.

Tiger starter Josh Eastman blanked a formidable Orioles lineup in the semi-final win, tossing seven shutout innings and scattering six hits.  He fanned seven and walked just one before giving way to Lucas Gregory, who threw two more scoreless frames to complete the shutout.  Albion's defense also helped out Eastman and Gregory, as middle infielders Tyler Oren and Adam Gregory turned impressive double-plays to kill Clinton threats in both the fifth and eighth innings.

Leadoff hitter Aaron Laskowski provided instant offense Sunday afternoon by leading off the bottom of the first inning with a ground-rule-triple that passed through the oak tree in leftfield and on to Academy Drive.  He later scored on a wild pitch to give Albion a 1-0 lead.

Laskowski gave his Tigers a 3-0 lead in the fifth when his 2-out, 2-RBI single to leftfield scored Adam Gregory and Lars Olstad.  Gregory was hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Evan Deegan.  Olstad drew a walk, and he and Gregory each moved up a base on Cameren Wileman's groundout, allowing Laskowski to knock them home with his base hit.

Albion got one more insurance run in the sixth inning when Deegan's 2-out single scored Kyle Johnson, whose headfirst slide at home just beat the tag from Clinton catcher Keegan Mickey.

Clinton starter Joe Lange threw a complete game in a losing effort for the Orioles, striking out nine Tigers and walking only two.


TIGERS BEAT DEERFIELD 5-3 TO FINISH 13-3! -- The Albion Tigers put the finishing touches on a division-winning season on Saturday with a 5-3 comeback win against Deerfield.  Albion will host a Southeast Section semi-final on August 14 against an opponent not yet determined.  This is Albion's first division title since 2012, and eleventh postseason berth in the last fifteen seasons.

Saturday started out as a pitcher's duel, as Deerfield's Trey Shaw and Albion's Cameren Wileman matched zeros through the first four innings until Deerfield scored two unearned runs in the fifth.  Albion tied it in the seventh when Sam Martin (3x3 on the day) led off with a single and scored on a deep double to left by Bubba Phelps (2x4), who later scored on a balk.  After Deerfield scored in the 8th, Albion rallied in the bottom half to reclaim the lead for good.  Jake Zeimet reached on an error, and was followed by consecutive bunt singles by Evan Deegan and Brennan Deegan (3x3).  Zeimet scored on a throwing error, Evan Deegan scored on another balk, and Jake Taylor hit a fly ball to left that scored Brennan Deegan for the final margin.

Wileman did yeoman's work on the mound, throwing 7.2 innings and allowing only one earned run while striking out eight.  Zeimet relieved him in the 8th and earned the win with a perfect 1.1 innings of relief. 


 SCHULTE'S SHUTOUT PUSHES TIGERS INTO NIGHT LEAGUE PLAYOFFS! -- The Albion Tigers solidified a #2 seed in the HTL Night League Tournament by shutting out the Cambridge Blues on Thursday night at Albion Park.  Southpaw Bryant Schulte scattered three singles by the Blues and didn't walk anyone in his second complete game shutout of the season in Night League play.  The win gives Albion a 6-2 regular season record in Night League, and they will host Poynette in a first-round game at Racetrack Park in Edgerton at 7:30 PM on Thursday, August 11th.

Amazingly, the Tigers triumphed with only one base hit on the night.  Albion catcher Lars Olstad reached on an error in the first inning and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.  Olstad scored again in the third inning after he walked, stole second base, advanced on another wild pitch, and scored on Tyler Oren's RBI groundout.

Brett Witkowski was the hard-luck losing pitcher for the Blues, as he tossed a complete game one-hitter but walked six Tigers.  That one hit didn't come until the sixth inning, when Jake Zeimet singled to right and advanced Tim Houfe to third after he had walked.  Tiger centerfielder Cameren Wileman drove home Houfe for more than enough insurance for Schulte.

Schulte was quick and efficient in his work, needing only 67 pitches to close out his seven innings of work.  He threw only four pitches in the seventh, and battery-mate Olstad threw out a would-be Cambridge basestealer to end the game.


TIGERS BEAT JOHNSON CREEK 8-7  --  The Albion Tigers traveled to Johnson Creek for an exhibition game on Wednesday night and hit their way to a 8-7 victory over the Pioneers.  Albion banged out a total of 13 hits, with 9 men hitting safely and 6 different Tigers driving in runs. 

After a slow start, the Albion bats came alive in the third.  Ryan Phelps walked to load the bases with nobody out, and Lars Olstad's double to deep right scored Jake Taylor and Cameren Wileman to make the score 2-1.  RBI hits from Jim Eastman, Kris Agnew, and Austin Mades followed to give the visitors a 5-1 lead. 

After the Pioneers evened the score in the fifth, Albion re-took the lead in the sixth when Jake Zeimet was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Cole Demrow's line drive single to right field.  After a Taylor double, Wileman flew to deep right to score Demrow.  Olstad then added a key insurance run in the seventh when he led off with a double and scored on a single from Tyler Oren.

Zeimet, Agnew, and Taylor shared mound duties, with Agnew earning the win in relief and Taylor striking out four in a two-inning save. 


OFFENSE GIVES WILEMAN MORE THAN ENOUGH SUPPORT IN 13-2 VICTORY! -- The Tigers offense got rolling in the second inning with a double to deep left-center by Kyle Johnson and a bunt single by Lucas Gregory.  Jesse Appel knocked home Johnson, and a throwing error on Evan Deegan's bunt single allowed Gregory to score.  Aaron Laskowski followed with an RBI single to plate Appel, and Josh Eastman's RBI sent home Deegan.  Consecutive RBI singles by Adam Gregory and Tyler Oren scored two more runs, and another run followed on a Jays error to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Albion extended their lead to 10-0 in the fourth on Eastman's 2-RBI single and an RBI single by Johnson. 

The Jays finally got to Wileman in the fifth when Matt Drefahl's sac fly scored Mike Maves.  But consecutive singles by Ryan Phelps and Austin Mades, followed by Sam Martin's RBI single, gave the Tigers an 11-1 lead in the bottom half of the frame.  Albion struck again in the sixth when Adam Gregory drove home Lars Olstad, then scored on Tyler Oren's double to left.

Albion clinched the West Division of the Southeast Section on July 24th with their win at Utica, and will host a first-round playoff game on Sunday, August 14th at 1:00 PM. 


TIGER LEFTIES SHUTOUT GROVE; ALBION CLINCHES NIGHT LEAGUE PLAYOFFS -- Crafty left-hander Bryant Schulte tossed 8+ scoreless innings and his hard-throwing buddy Cameren Wileman finished the job as the Albion Tigers won a 2-0 thriller at Cottage Grove on Thursday night to clinch a Night League playoff spot. The Tigers are now 5-2 in Night League play, and will open that tournament on August 11 at Racetrack Park against an opponent yet to be determined.

The pitchers' duel finally cracked in the ninth inning, when Aaron Laskowski singled and stole second to start the inning.  Austin Mades was intentionally walked, and Jesse Appel promptly singled down the right-field line to score Laskowski.  An error was committed when the ball was thrown back to the infield, allowing Mades to score as well.

After shutting down the Firemen all night, Schulte finally ran out of gas after allowing the leadoff hitter to reach in the ninth.  Wileman trotted in from centerfield and earned the save, striking out the last two hitters. 


ROOKIE ARMS & VETERAN STICKS GIVE TIGERS DIVISION TITLE!!! -- Albion relied on two young arms and several experienced bats to blow by rival Utica on Sunday afternoon by a final score of 10-3.  Rookie right-handers Jake Zeimet and Jake Taylor kept a strong Utica offense in check all afternoon, yielding only two earned runs to The Association and improving the Tigers to a record of 11-3 on the season. 

The Albion win, coupled with Sunday afternoon's McFarland loss to Stoughton, gives the Tigers the outright West Division championship of the Southeast Section with two regular season games remaining.  After hosting Evansville and Deerfield the next two weekends to complete the regular season, the Tigers will host a first-round Southeast Section playoff game at 1:00 PM on Sunday, August 14th at Albion Park.

Stoughton (8-6), McFarland (8-6), and Utica (7-7) will battle over the next two weekends for a likely second playoff spot from the West Division.

The visitors wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on a steamy afternoon at Utica Park.  Adam Gregory drove home Kris Agnew in the first inning following Agnew's double to right-center, and Tyler Oren's RBI-double scored Josh Eastman.  Albion capped a three-run first inning when Kyle Johnson ripped a single and Oren scored just ahead of a tag at homeplate on the throw from Utica leftfielder Max Gartzke.

After a Utica run in the third, Albion scored four more in the fourth, highlighted by Aaron Laskowski's 2-RBI single that scored Lucas Gregory and Evan Deegan.  Agnew followed at the plate and singled to drove home Cameren Wileman, and the Tigers took a 7-1 lead when Eastman's sacrifice fly easily scored Laskowski.

Oren picked up another RBI in the sixth inning, and after the bottom half of the frame Zeimet handed it over to fellow rookie Taylor to finish off Utica and seal the division championship.  Taylor followed Zeimet's six solid innings with three no-hit innings of his own, fanning two and earning a three-inning save.

Laskowski, Agnew, Eastman, Oren, and Johnson combined to go 13x21 at the plate with nine RBIs.  Oren ripped three doubles on the day and raised his batting average to .449 on the season.

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