Unearned runs hurt Austin's 18-under team
By Scott A. Kolb
Post-Bulletin, Austin MN
The Austin American Legion 18-and-under softball team split a doubleheader with Owatonna in Tuesday night’s season opener at Todd Park.
Austin held the lead until the late innings of the opening game, but errors would lead to a loss. Owatonna scored eight runs, most of them unearned, over the last two innings to win 9-2 in the first game.
Three runs in the top of the seventh then broke a tie as Austin rallied to win the late game. Austin was the visitor in the late game and pulled out a 4-2 win for the split.
Autumn Jurgensen was the pitcher for Austin in the opener with a dozen strikeouts and four walks in the loss. Laura Davis pitched the late game and recorded eight strikeouts in the win.
"Three of those four walks by Autumn came in the last two innings, so maybe she got a little tired," Austin coach Steve Knox said. "We haven’t had much practice and the girls were a little rusty in the field, which led to the four errors."
It was still only a 4-2 deficit in the top of the seventh, when the Austin defense completely fell apart. Jurgensen had a strikeout with a runner on base, but the ball was dropped and the rally continued on for Owatonna. The strikeout would have been the second out of the inning, but then the visitors scored five runs after that to break the game open.
Owatonna took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning to start the scoring in the late game. Austin then rallied for a run in the top of the second to tie the game. Tana Lukes doubled and then Maggie Jorgenson hit a RBI single to make it 1-1.
Austin then broke it open with three runs in the seventh. Abby Hovland walked to start the Austin rally and went to second base on a passed ball. Jessica Wilde followed with a single and then stole second to put two runners in scoring position.
Hovland next scored to make it 2-1 on a RBI single from Davis. Nicole Harmer then bunted and scored Wilde. This put runners on the corners and Lukes then laid down a bunt to score Davis with the final run of the night.
"We had 12 players on the roster, and all of them got to bat," Knox said. "We rotated the players in, and everybody got to play which is important in summer ball. This helps the girls be prepared for any situation in the game. Laura pitched well in the second game, and assisted in all three outs of the last inning."
Austin (1-1) plays host to a big tournament this weekend. There will be tournaments going for 12-and-under, 14-and-under, 16-and-under, along with the 18-and-under team. The three games on Saturday for the Austin Legion will be at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. at the North Todd Park complex.
Owatonna 9, Austin 2
Owatonna 010 003 5 — 9 6 1
Austin 100 100 0 — 2 4 4
Austin: Holly Waltz 1-3, walk, 2 runs; Jessica Wilde 1-2, 2 RBI; Laura Davis 1-2; Jessica Neumann 1-2. LP: Autumn Jurgensen 7 IP, 9 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 12 K.
Austin 4, Owatonna 2
Austin 010 000 3 — 4 6 2
Owatonna 101 000 0 — 2 5 0
Austin: Jessica Wilde 1-3, run; Laura Davis 1-3, run; Tana Lukes 1-2, 2B, run, RBI; Nicole Harmer 1-3, Maggie Jorgenson 1-3, RBI; Jolene Brody 1-2. WP: Laura Davis 7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K.