Mayo spoils Packers softball home opener
The Post-Bulletin, Austin MN
Although the home opener didn't produce any wins for the Austin Packers softball team there were still plenty of highlights for the fans at the North Todd Park complex.
The Packers played competitively and scrapped for runs against a tough pitcher in Sarah Bohlen of Rochester Mayo. The Spartans pitcher would pick up the wins in both games of this Big Nine Conference doubleheader on Thursday.
Mayo rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and won 3-1 in the first game. The visitors then got up early in the late game and completed the sweep with a 7-3 win.
The Packers had a hard time getting base runners against Bohlen, who had 12 strikeouts in the first game. Bohlen started and went four innings to also get the win in the late game. The Austin girls got one hit in the first game and six in the late affair.
"She's a good pitcher and we had trouble scoring runs," Austin coach Tina Strauss said of her team's encounter with the Spartans ace. "We got a few runners on and created some offense by being aggressive on the bases, but it was a struggle for our hitters."
Despite the overpowering presence of Bohlen on the hill, the Packers manufactured an early run and held the lead until late in the opener. Austin pitcher Marie Clennon kept the Mayo order in check most of the way.
Brandi Ruroden got the only hit and scored the lone run for the Packers. She hit a one-out grounder to deep in the hole between shortstop and third base in the bottom of the second inning.
True to her coach's wish of playing more aggressively on the bases, Ruroden immediately set out to steal. The move temporarily froze Mayo catcher Kelli Anderson and when Ruroden took off, she threw the ball into right field.
Nobody was backing up the play and the ball rolled to the fence. Ruroden came all the way around the bases to give the Packers a 1-0 lead.
"It was exciting to see Brandi make a good decision on the bases and come all the way from first to score on their error," coach Strauss said. "We're looking for the girls to be aggressive on the bases. We work a lot on it in practice and Brandi gave us the lead."
Victory slips away
Clennon gave up hits in almost every inning, but she repeatedly got out of jams. Dueling with her counterpart on the mound, Clennon also put up an impressive statistical line with nine strikeouts in the first game.
Mayo had two runners on base in the first inning, but Clennon induced an inning-ending pop out. The Spartans had a runner on second in the second inning and didn't score. They then got runners to second and third in the top of the sixth, but again left them stranded.
Trouble finally caught up to Clennon in the top of the seventh, when she made an error on a pop-up by the leadoff hitter. This would open the door to the decisive three-run rally. There would be a string of hits and then another error as the Packers let one slip away.
"We played not to lose in the seventh inning and got tight," Strauss said. "We played solid defense most of the way and Marie pitched well, but we just didn't close it out."
In the late game, Clennon gave up a run in the first inning but still managed to escape with the bases loaded. She wasn't so lucky in the next frame.
A trio of hits, including a triple by Bohlen, sparked a three-run rally for Mayo in the second inning. This was the end for Clennon on the hill, and freshman Jenny Yocom came on to pitch the final five innings in relief.
Yocom kept the Packers in the game as she allowed only one earned run and recorded four strikeouts. Still, a couple of unearned runs in the top of third buried the Packers in a deep hole.
Ruroden singled and scored a run in the bottom of the second inning. Clennon delivered the RBI and that would be it offensively for the next three innings.
Katelyn Joseph reached base on a fielder's choice with one out to ignite a Packers rally in the bottom of the sixth. After another out, Ashley Crump hit a double to score Joseph. Crump then scored the final run for the Packers off an error.
"Even though we lost both games, I saw a lot of positive things from our girls in this doubleheader," the coach concluded. "Mayo really hit the ball, but we stayed with them in both games. Jenny had a great change-up and she gave us a solid five innings of relief, so that was a nice boost for her confidence on the mound."
Austin (1-2, 1-2 Big Nine) plays Mankato East at home on Tuesday night.
Mayo 3, Austin 1
Mayo:Linsy Hoosier 2-for-4, run, RBI; Emma Leof 3-for-3, RBI; Emily Jasperson 1-for-3, run; Makinzee Kazeck 1-for-3, run. WP: Sarah Bohlen 7 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 12 K.
Austin:Brandi Ruroden 1-for-3, SB, run; Kaycee Lukes 0-for-2, walk. LP: Marie Clennon 7 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 9 K.
Mayo 7, Austin 3
Mayo:Hoosier 2-for-4, walk, 2 2B, 2 runs, RBI; Bohlen 2-for-4, SB, 3B, run, 3 RBI; Jasperson 2-for-4; Kelli Anderson 1-for-4, run. WP: Bohlen 4 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K; SV: Anderson 3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K.
Austin:Lukes 1-for-4; Katelyn Joseph 0-for-3, run; Sara Sundberg 1-for-3; Ashley Crump 1-for-2, 2B, run, RBI; Ruroden 1-for-3, run; Clennon 1-for-3, RBI; Rachel Donovan 1-for-3. LP: Marie Clennon 2 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 0 K; RP: Jenny Yocom 5 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K.