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Aces split doubleheader with Chiefs

Teagun Ahrens, owatonna, Aces, baseball
Owatonna’s Teagun Ahrens is swarmed by teammates in celebration after his walk-off double to deep left-center field pushed the Aces past the Chiefs 8-7. Owatonna trailed 7-0 to Winona after the top of the first inning. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Joni Hubred, News Editor

A doubleheader between the Owatonna Aces and Winona Chiefs brought sunny skies and plenty of thrilling moments to Steele County last weekend.

Both teams slugged it out over the course of two seven-inning games and finished 1-1 with the Aces taking the first game and the Chiefs holding off the home squad in the second.

The first inning played was almost an entire game in its own with both teams combining for 12 runs.

Winona found its timing quickly against Owatonna pitcher Matt Seykora and built a 7-0 lead through the top of the first, but the Aces offense stepped in to stop the bleeding.

Both Mitch and Matt Seykora started the inning with singles followed by a walk from Kodey Kiel to load the bases with nobody out.

A.J. Vandereide came up big in the clean-up spot by adding another single that scored both Seykoras and advanced Kiel.

With With Kiel on third, Vandereide was able to steal second and set up Teagun Ahrens with two runners in scoring position.

The former Owatonna Huskies standout is no stranger to big hits at Dartts Park and found himself standing on second after a deep shot to center earned him a bases-clearing double.

Ayden Walters stepped into the box with Owatonna trailing 7-4 and roped a single to left field to score Ahrens from second and cut the lead to 7-5.

The Aces were unable to do any more damage in the first, but the five runs proved critical down the stretch.

Neither team was able to score again until the fourth inning when Mitch Seykora made it home thanks to a single from his brother, Matt, and a slew of passed balls.

With time running out late, Owatonna’s Chris Homuth was the hero to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The left fielder hit a single, followed it up by stealing second and then was moved to third base by a fielders’ choice play.

With the tying run just 90 feet from home, Winona suffered a major blunder when a passed ball made its way to the backstop and Homuth was able to trot home safely.

Winona threatened to retake its lead in the top of the seventh inning after a walk and a single placed runners on first and third with one out, but Aces manager Cody Johnson had the remedy for the tricky situation.

Johnson elected to take out Seykora and replace him with Kiel on the mound.

Kiel shut down the Chiefs and kept the game tied at 7-7 going into the final half inning.

Once again Kiel came up big for the Aces, this time reaching first after being hit by a pitch.

Vandereide quickly moved him to third with a double before Ahrens stepped up to the plate and walked off the game with a towering shot to the left-center gap.

Owatonna’s game-one celebration didn’t last long before both teams jumped back into action.

Offense was much harder to come by in the second matchup with Winona opening the scoring in the third inning with three runs.

Owatonna managed to put up a run in the fifth, but Winona held on to scoop a 3-1 win and even the series.

 The Aces’ next game is a home matchup with the Waseca Braves scheduled for Wednesday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m.

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