Packers fall in softball opener

Although they didn't win Thursday's softball season opener there were plenty of positive signs for the Austin Packers.

The visiting Faribault Falcons took an early 1-0 lead, but the Packers answered with a run in the fourth inning. Packers pitcher Marie Clennon had five strikeouts and the defense played error free to keep it close in this Big Nine Conference game.

Faribault then took the lead back for good in the top of the fifth with two runs and went on to record a 4-2 win over Austin at Todd Park.

"We did a lot of good things on the field and played solid defense," Austin coach Tina Strauss said. "We also had some nice hits, but just couldn't put together the big inning."

Laura Pinske was the main cog in the Falcons offense with three hits on the day, including a pair of triples. Pinske singled and scored off a double by Maggie Stoeckel in the top of the first inning.


After giving up the early run, Clennon then settled down and threw three consecutive scoreless innings. She was helped by the play of her catcher Danielle Tschann, who twice threw out runners trying to steal second base.

A leadoff single by the Falcons in the second was negated when Tschann threw out the base runner. The Packers catcher repeated the feat in the fourth inning as a two-out single was erased from the basepaths.

"I've put in a lot of work to become a better defensive catcher," Tschann said. "It really helps to have a veteran pitcher like Marie. I was able to read her and then use my strong arm to gun down their runners trying to steal."

The stellar defense allowed the Packers offense to rally and tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Katelyn Joseph got things rolling with a one-out single.

Clennon followed with a grounder to the right side on the hit-and-run, but Joseph was hit by the ball. This left courtesy runner Hanah Schmit at first base with two outs. Schmit didn't stay there for long as she moved around the bases on back-to-back hits from Tschann and Taylor Hackensmith.

Faribault (1-1 overall, 1-1 Big Nine) came back with two runs in the next at-bat. Pinske hit her second triple of the game and the Falcons took a 3-1 lead.

Despite the deficit, the Packers didn't quit and rallied for a run in the bottom of the sixth. Lindsey Miller led off with a walk, stole second, went to third on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Clennon. This was the last run for the home team as the visitors scored again in the seventh inning.

"We kept battling the whole way and I'm pleased with the effort," Strauss said. "There were a couple of runners thrown out on the bases, but sometimes you have to be aggressive to generate some offense. The girls didn't miss any signs and played hard."


Austin (0-1 overall, 0-1 Big Nine) plays a doubleheader on Saturday against Rochester Century at the North Todd Park complex.

Faribault 4, Austin 2

Faribault .......#100#020#1#—#4#10#0

Austin .....#000#101#0#—#2#5#0

Faribault:Amandalee Papow 1-for-4, SB, run, RBI; Laura Pinske 3-for-3, 2 3B, walk, 2 runs, RBI; Emily Kline 2-for-4, RBI; Sara Mueller 1-for-3, SB, run. WP:Mueller 7 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K.

Austin:Lindsey Miller 0-for-2, walk, SB, run; Katelyn Joseph 1-for-3; Marie Clennon 0-for-2, RBI; Hanah Schmit 0-for-0, SB, run; Danielle Tschann 1-for-3; Taylor Hackensmith 1-for-3; Abbey Ball 1-for-3; Amber Schmit 1-for-2  LP: Clennon 7 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 5 K.

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