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Matt Towns
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Monday, August 14
TIGERS WRAP UP ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SEASON

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TIGERS WIN NIGHT LEAGUE FINALE -- The Albion Tigers won their final regular season game on Tuesday night, an 8-3 Eastern Night League decision at Lake Mills. They will now turn their attention to Sunday, when they will travel to Fort Atkinson for a Southeast Section semi-final against the Generals.

After Lake Mills took an early 3-0 lead, Albion was able to touch Grays' starter Drew Dunkleberger in the third. Four straight walks to Kaleb Kruckenberg, Austin Mades, Lucas Gregory, and Cullen Oren forced in the first run, and an RBI from Brennan Deegan pushed across the second run. Cameren Wileman then delivered a two-run single into center to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.

Cullen Oren's two-run triple in the fourth made it 6-3, and later RBIs from Oren and Josh Eastman provided the final tallies for Albion. On the mound, Bryant Schulte scattered eight hits and allowed two runs in six innings for the win. Gregory threw a perfect seventh to finish up the job for the Tigers.

TIGERS WRAP UP PLAYOFF BERTH WITH 17-5 WIN -- The Albion Tigers earned a trip back to the Southeast Section semi-finals with a 17-5 win over Deerfield to wrap up the regular season with an 11-5 record.  Defending champion Albion will travel to Fort Atkinson next Sunday for a 1pm start at Jones Park.

On Saturday, Deerfield took an early 4-0 lead and held it until the Albion bats finally cam alive in the third inning.  A leadoff walk to Lars Olstad was followed by consecutive hits by Aaron Laskowski, Tyler Oren, Josh Eastman, and Brennan Deegan.  Jesse Appel chipped in an RBI single as well to give Albion a 5-4 lead.  An RBI from Eastman in the fourth made it 6-4, and then a nine-run fifth put them game out of reach.  A string of six consecutive hits was highlighted by extra-base hits from Olstad, Laskowski, and Eastman before Lucas Gregory delivered a bases-loaded double to push the lead to 15-5.  

Jake Taylor threw six innings to earn his fifth win on the year.  Taylor struck out eight and allowed no earned runs on four hits.  

TIGERS POUNCE EARLY, GIVE HATLEN FIRST WIN -- The Albion Tigers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and then held on for a 7-6 win against the Johnson Creek Pioneers Wednesday night, providing an opportunity for rookie Charlie Hatlen to get his first win for Albion.  Hatlen struck out six over five innings, allowed no walks and no earned runs, and mixed in a couple pickoffs at first base in his first start as a Tiger.  He was relieved by Cullen Oren, who struck out five over the last two innings to finish off the Pioneers.

The Tiger offense was active early before quieting down through the middle of the game.  RBI hits from Josh Eastman, Jake Zeimet, and Jake Taylor made the lead 3-0 in the first inning.  Albion doubled their lead in the second when Cole Demrow, Evan Deegan, and Hatlen each singled and scored, aided by a Bryant Schulte RBI groundout.  Despite loading the bases in the fifth, Albion would not score again until the seventh, when Brennan Deegan drove home his brother Evan with a single into rightfield.  The Pioneers would rally and make it 7-6 in the bottom half, but Cullen Oren recorded a strikeout with the winning run on second base to ice Johnson Creek.

ALBION BANGS OUT 23 HITS TO THUMP UTICA -- The Albion Tigers offense struck early and often at Utica Park on Sunday afternoon en route to a 13-5 victory that pulls the Tigers one game closer to clinching a Southeast Section playoff berth.  The Tigers plated at least one run in seven different innings and had eight different batters with multiple hits, led by Brennan Deegan (4x6, 3 doubles, 4 runs, 1 RBI), Cameren Wileman (4x6, 3 runs, 1 SB), Lars Olstad (3x3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, 1 sac), and catcher Jake Zeimet (3x6, 1 double, 2 RBIs).

Aaron Laskowski, Cullen Oren, Evan Deegan, and Josh Eastman also enjoyed productive days at the plate with two hits apiece.

The offensive explosion was in support of the young, steady, right-hander Jake Taylor, who allowed just one earned run over seven innings to improve his record to 4-2 on the season.  Josh Eastman threw two scoreless frames against the Association to seal the victory for the Tigers.

The Tigers got on the board in the top of the second when Wileman ripped the first of his four singles into centerfield, stole second, and was drove home by Olstad, who moved to second on the throw home as Wileman slid in safely.  Olstad scored on the very next pitch as Laskowski roped a single into leftfield.

Utica scored single tallies in the bottom half of the second as well as in the third to tie the game.  The damage could have been worse, if not for a 2-out diving catch in leftfield by Olstad to save a run and end the Utica third.

RBIs by Evan Deegan and Cullen Oren gave the Tigers the lead again in the fourth, and an RBI double by veteran Jesse Appel and another Olstad RBI single gave the Tigers a 6-2 lead in the middle of the fifth.  The Association grabbed three unearned runs in the bottom half to make it 6-5, but that would be the end of the Utica scoring for the day and Albion would keep rolling.

Consecutive 2-out doubles in the sixth by Brennan Deegan and Zeimet put the Tigers up 7-5, and Evan Deegan’s RBI single in the seventh with a pulled-in infield made it 8-5.  Olstad’s third RBI single of the day gave the Tigers a 9-5 advantage in the eighth.

Cullen Oren’s near-miss of a home run clanged of the leftfield fence and started a ninth inning rally; followed by Eastman’s RBI single, another RBI double by Brennan Deegan, and Zeimet’s second RBI hit of the day.  Runs by Oren, Brennan Deegan, and pinch-runners Kaleb Kruckenberg and Logan Hein gave Albion the final 13-5 decision.

TIGERS REBOUND AGAINST UTICA 15-0 -- After struggling against two of the Southeast Section's top teams and losing their grip on first place in the West Division, the Albion Tigers rebounded in a big way on Independence Day in beating Utica 15-0 and pushing their league record to 8-2.  Albion continues to trail Stoughton (10-1), while Fort Atkinson and Jefferson also sit at 2 losses in the section.

The Tigers banged out 15 hits in support of starter Jake Zeimet, who allowed only two baserunners over five innings of work.  Jake Taylor and Charlie Hatlen each threw a scoreless inning of relief for Albion.

Offensively, Albion had a balanced effort with four Tigers collecting multiple hits and six Tigers driving in runs.  Tyler Oren (4x4) led the way, scoring three runs and driving in three, while Brennan Deegan (2x4) drove in two, Josh Eastman was 3x4, and Jim Eastman (2x3) chipped in a couple of infield hits.  Zeimet helped himself with a couple RBIs, as did Aaron Laskowski and Ryan Phelps.

TIGERS BEAT ORIOLES 11-4 -- In a game that was much closer than the final score indicated, the Albion Tigers outlasted the Clinton Orioles in a rematch of a 2016 Southeast Section semi-final.  The scoreboard was back-and-forth and showed a 5-3 Albion lead after seven innings, at which point Albion took advantage of some shoddy defense by Clinton to ice the game away and preserve their 7-0 record in the Southeast Section.

Albion got a two-run single in the top of the third from Josh Eastman, coughed up the lead in the bottom half of the inning, and then regained it in the fourth on RBIs from Lars Olstad and Aaron Laskowski.  Brennan Deegan drove in a run in the fifth, and the score remained 5-3 until the eighth inning.  An RBI from Cullen Oren (2x4) and a two-run single from Evan Deegan combined with four Oriole errors to push the lead to 9-3 Albion.  The Tigers tacked on runs in the ninth with RBIs from Laskowski (who was 4x6 on the day) and Logan Hein.  

Josh Eastman started on the mound and earned the win for the Tigers, allowing three runs over six innings.  Jake Taylor finished up and got himself a save with three innings of relief.  Eastman and Taylor scattered 11 hits and struck out 7.

TAYLOR AND DEEGAN LEAD THE TIGERS TO 6-0 -- Jake Taylor threw seven scoreless innings and Brennan Deegan had 4 RBIs as the Albion Tigers beat the Waterloo Firemen 10-0 on Sunday in a game shortened by the mercy rule.  Albion is now 6-0 in the Southeast Section, maintaining a half-game lead over 6-1 Stoughton.

Albion drew first blood in the second, when Jake Zeimet drew a leadoff walk and then came around to score on an error.  The Tigers added two more in the third on sacrifice flies from Brennan Deegan and Jake Taylor, and then blew it open with five runs in the fourth inning.  Aaron Laskowski led off with a single into left, and three walks later the Tigers had bases loaded for Zeimet, who laced a single into rightfield to score two more runs.  Brennan Deegan's two-run single in the seventh capped the scoring for the Tigers.

Laskowski, Brennan Deegan, and Jim Eastman each had two hits for the Tigers, who had ten hits as a team and once again played errorless ball behind Taylor.  For his part, Taylor was again sterling, scattering seven hits and striking out five Firemen over his seven innings to earn his third win of the year. 

TIGERS MAKE IT 5 IN A ROW -- The Albion Tigers continued their hot start to the season with a 4-0 win over the Lake Mills Grays on Sunday.  Jake Zeimet and Cullen Oren combined to allow only six hits, and the Tigers played errorless defense behind them as Albion moved its Southeast Section record to 5-0.

Albion got three runs in the third inning when Bubba Phelps led off with a single, the first of his two hits on the day.  He was replaced by Lars Olstad, who bounced into a fielder's choice and then raced home on Aaron Laskowski's triple to deep right field.  Following a Lake Mills error that allowed Cullen Oren to reach, Tyler Oren singled and Josh Eastman had an RBI groundout that moved the score to 3-0 Albion.

The Tigers added an insurance run in the seventh when Eastman doubled in Tyler Oren.  Albion finished with 11 hits as a team to support Zeimet, who threw seven innings to earn his second win on the young season.

ALBION SURVIVES CAMBRIDGE, 5-3 -- The Albion Tigers got yet another stellar pitching performance, this time from Bryant Schulte and Cullen Oren, and just enough offense to garner a 5-3 victory against the Cambridge Blues on Monday.  Albion is now 4-0 in the Southeast Section, while Cambridge falls to 1-3.

Schulte was efficient and effective throughout his appearance, throwing 7.1 innings of one-run ball and striking out six while only walking one.  Cullen Oren entered the game as the Blues were starting to threaten with one out in the eighth, but quickly limited the damage to only one run.  

The Tigers also banged out 11 hits on the day, highlighted by three-hit performances from Tyler Oren and Josh Eastman.  Evan Deegan also had two hits and three RBIs, while Cullen Oren chipped in with a couple singles to stimulate rallies as well.  

TIGERS BEAT MERCHANTS 3-2, TAKE OVER FIRST PLACE -- The Albion Tigers and Stoughton Merchants faced off in a battle of unbeaten Southeast Section teams on Sunday, and as expected, the game was tight and well-played with Albion coming out on top by a score of 3-2.  Starting pitcher Jake Taylor was once again sterling, turning in six scoreless innings before giving way to Josh Eastman, who threw the last three innings to earn his second save of the season.  

Albion's three-run third proved to be the difference against Stoughton's veteran Ben Riffle, who went the distance for the Merchants.  Austin Mades led off with a single into left and was bunted over by Kyle Johnson, before three straight singles from Taylor, Aaron Laskowski, and Cullen Oren pushed across a run and loaded the bases for Albion.  Tyler Oren and Eastman both had RBI groundballs that made it 3-0 at that point.  Stoughton would scratch across two runs in the seventh and put the tying run on base in the ninth, but Eastman would strike out the last two batters to finish off the threat.  

ALBION BEATS EVANSVILLE 11-1 -- The Albion Tigers moved to 2-0 in the Southeast Section on Saturday night with an eight-inning win over the Evansville Jays at Lake Leota Park.  Pitchers Jake Zeimet and Cullen Oren combined to allow only two hits and strike out nine, while the Albion defense backed them up with eight innings of errorless ball.  Zeimet allowed only three baserunners in five scoreless innings to earn the win, and Oren finished up with three solid innings to close out the game for the Tigers.

The Albion bats were dominant as well, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings and finishing with a total of 14 hits.  Josh Eastman's two-run double in the first plated Tyler Oren (2x4) and Cullen Oren (2x6), and RBI singles from Eastman and Tyler Oren in the second inning made it 4-0.  Zeimet and Aaron Laskowski drove in runs in the third, and Brennan Deegan (2x4) added another in the fourth.  Albion put the game officially out of reach in the sixth, when singles from Tyler Oren and Evan Deegan were sandwiched around Eastman's triple into left-center.  

Eastman would finish the game 4x5 with 4 RBIs, Tyler Oren scored three runs, and Austin Mades provided two RBIs and scored two runs as well.  

TIGERS GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT -- For the fifth time in a row, the Albion Tigers and McFarland Muskies played a one-run ballgame - this time ending in a 4-3 win for Albion in the Southeast Section opener for both teams.  As always, it was a well-played game between two perennial contenders in the Southeast, and Albion's defending Home Talent League champions will now look for a 2-0 start on Saturday night at Evansville.

Visiting McFarland pushed a run across in the first, but Albion bounced right back with single tallies in each of the next two innings, when Cullen Oren scored on Josh Eastman's RBI single in the first and Austin Mades drove in Brennan Deegan an inning later.  The Tigers pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fourth on consecutive two-out hits from Cullen Oren, Tyler Oren, and Eastman.  

That lead would hold up, as Albion starter Jake Taylor was throwing 6.2 innings of three-run ball at the Muskies.  Taylor, making his first career start for Albion in Southeast play, struck out five Muskies and walked only one to earn the win.  He would give way to Eastman during a McFarland rally in the seventh, but Eastman worked out of the jam and faced only 8 batters to earn a seven-out save.  

TIGERS READY FOR TITLE DEFENSE -- The Albion Tigers spent a nearly-perfect weekend in Cottage Grove, tuning up for the 2017 season by finishing second in the eight-team Clarence Buss Tournament.  The Tigers will now take a week off before opening their Southeast Section schedule on May 7 at home against McFarland.

The Tigers started the weekend on Saturday with a 12-0 mercy-rule win against Marshall.  Albion wasted no time in getting started, grabbing a 4-0 lead in the top of the first powered by a mammoth two-run homer by Austin Mades.  The Albion catcher would add two more RBIs later, as would Josh Eastman and Tyler Oren.  While his teammates were banging out 12 hits, Jake Taylor was shutting down the Firemen, allowing only one hit and one walk over four innings to earn the win.  Cameren Wileman finished up the moundwork with a perfect fifth inning.

Sunday's semi-final 9-6 win over West Middleton provided yet more offensive highlights and solid pitching.  Aaron Laskowski went 4x4 with a triple and two RBIs, Tyler Oren had two hits and two runs, and Brennan Deegan reached base four times.  Jake Zeimet chipped in two RBIs as well, but did his best work on the mound, allowing only one unearned run over 3.2 innings in relief of starter Bryant Schulte.

Albion advanced to the title game, an entertaining well-played game between two HTL contenders, which eventually went to DeForest 2-1 in extra innings.  Starting pitcher Josh Eastman was nearly perfect in his four innings of work, and Cullen Oren was almost as good in his 4+ innings of work.  Albion took a lead in the fourth when Tyler Oren led off with a double and was driven home by Mades, but DeForest scratched one across in the fifth and eventually got an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth to walk off as winners. 

The weekend certainly leaves the Tigers and their fans with a lot to look forward to in the coming season.  Laskowski was a hot hitter all weekend, going 8x12 and scoring five runs.  Cullen Oren (5x9), Tyler Oren (4x10), and Mades (five RBIs) led an offense in which 13 Tigers reached base.  Six Albion pitchers combined to allow only six earned runs over 19 innings, and the defense committed only three errors on the weekend. 

 

 



   
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