Austin has up-and-down day
Packers place sixth at Elks Invitational
By Scott A. Kolb
Being forced to play three consecutive games Saturday in the Elks Invitational gave Austin softball coach Steve Knox a chance to get everybody on the field.
The Packers’ coach played all the girls on the roster, and they wound up with a 1-2 record on the day. Still, the Austin girls managed to avenge a loss last week to Rochester John Marshall with a win in the second round.
In the first game of the day, the Packers had a late lead against the Dover-Eyota Eagles, but they couldn’t hold it. D-E rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh, and went on to beat Austin 6-4 in the tourney opener at Todd Park.
After the Austin Packers beat the JM Rockets 4-0 in the second round, the final game showed the weariness of the host team. Hill-Murray took fifth place with a 14-0 win over Austin in five innings.
"This was a good tournament to find out who can do what for us as the season goes on," Knox said. "I tried to get all the younger kids in, and it was good for them to get some game experience. We had some good plays by our younger girls, so the next time they won’t be so nervous when I put them on the field."
Although they didn’t have to face JM ace pitcher DeAnna Mock, the Austin girls still put the hurt on their Big Nine Conference rivals in the second game of the day.
Austin pitcher Autumn Jurgensen fired a shut-out against John Marshall to end her team’s three-game losing streak. Jurgensen scattered five hits in blanking the Rockets.
"They were kind of cocky after beating us last week in Rochester, so we had to keep them in line," Jurgensen said of her mound gem. "I mixed up my pitches, and the defense played great behind me."
The Packers didn’t commit any errors in the field, and they salvaged a win in the tournament. The offense also came to life with four runs to secure the win.
Tana Lukes ignited the initial Austin rally in the top of the third. She doubled, went to third on a groundout, and scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch.
Lukes was also hit by a pitch in this game. Her left leg, the lead on her swing, is bruised up and she also was run into on defense at shortstop, but Lukes kept the minor injuries in perspective
"My leg is all banged up from getting hit by the pitch and taking a few shots in the field," Lukes said. "I’m trying to keep the other leg good for prom."
More offense was added by the Packers when Jolene Brody got on base in the fifth inning, and later scored on a wild pitch.
The final two runs for the Packers came in the top of the seventh. Tana Lukes singled, and Brody followed with a walk.
Ashley Crump then hit a RBI single to plate Lukes. Jurgensen helped her cause by driving in the final run with a ground ball.
"After the tough loss to D-E, the girls wanted to come back and play hard against JM," Knox said. "Autumn threw with authority and we got the key hits in that game.
"Overall, we have to develop more mental toughness from our hitters. During the three games, we had the bases loaded four times and didn’t get them in. We need to produce more runs on offense."
The final game of the day for the Packers didn’t produce any offense. The Hill-Murray Pioneers played their starters and rolled to an easy win via the 10-run rule. Sara Sundberg had the only hit for the Packers in the loss.
Dover-Eyota 6, Austin 4
Dover-Eyota 000 010 5 — 6 8 1
Austin 021 010 0 — 4 13 1
Austin: Maggie Jorgenson 2-3, run; Brandi Ruroden 0-2, walk, run; Jolene Brody 1-4, 3B, run; Ashley Crump 2-4, run, RBI; Autumn Jurgensen 2-4, RBI; Tana Lukes 1-4. LP: Jurgensen 7 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 9 K; Marie Clennon 0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K.
Austin 4, John Marshall 0
Austin 001 010 2 — 4 7 0
Rochester JM 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
Austin: Tana Lukes 2-3, 2B, HBP, 2 runs; Brody 2-3, 2 runs; Crump 1-4, RBI; Jurgensen 0-4, RBI; Kelli Bednar 1-3, Ruroden 1-3; KayCee Lukes 0-2, walk. WP: Jurgensen 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K.
Rochester John Marshall: LP: Carmen Walter 7 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 HB, 2 BB, 7 K.
Hill-Murray 14, Austin 0, 5 inn.
Hill-Murray 440 42 — 14 15 0
Austin 000 00 — 0 1 4
Hill-Murray: Lisa Grundtner 2-4, 2B, 2 runs; Casey Knajdek 1-4, 3 runs; Teona Zepeda 2-4, 2 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Samantha Gregory 4-4, 2B, 3 runs, 3 RBI; Courtney Mottl 1-3, run, 2 RBI. WP: Zepeda 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K.
Austin: Sara Sundberg 1-1, walk; Cassy Rockers 0-0, HBP, SB. LP: Clennon 5 IP, 14 R, 15 H, 2 BB, 1 K.