Legion softball advances to state
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 10, 2001
The Austin Legion girls softball team played three games in the region tournament at Todd Park Sunday, but were unable to take the top spot in the championship bracket.
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
The Austin Legion girls softball team played three games in the region tournament at Todd Park Sunday, but were unable to take the top spot in the championship bracket. Austin lost its first finals match with Owatonna, 9-1, but bounced back to beat Winona 1-0 in the consolation finals.
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Due to the double-elimination format of the tournament, Austin got another shot at Owatonna - a team Austin had defeated in three previous meetings. With a win to give, Owatonna eliminated Austin in the third game, 7-2.
Amy Bickler pitched the first two games for Austin. In game one against Owatonna, Beth Harsma had an RBI getting the first run on the board. Owatonna scored again in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead, and added five more in the top of the fourth, fueled by Austin errors.
Austin’s only run came on an RBI by Rhianna Jacobs, who was playing in her first game as a member of the Legion team after having foot surgery after the spring season.
Owatonna added its final runs with two in the fifth inning.
"We played a very, very good game," said Owatonna coach Jeff Kath. "That is our philosophy - to hit the ball hard – and we did. We lost three consecutive games to Austin before. Our girls had to prove they could play with intensity today."
Austin bounced back from the brink of elimination by beating Winona 1-0 in the consolation bracket. Winona, who moved on with a 3-0 win over Hayfield/Brownsdale, surrendered the game’s only run on an RBI-single by Austin’s Amber Wilson.
"Our two teams were going back-to-back all season," said Austin coach Denny Bray. "In league play we split."
Austin had defeated Winona 6-0 earlier in the season, but lost a doubleheader to the WinStars in the most recent pairing.
"We will see where we are seeded when we go to state."
Austin lost its second-chance match with Owatonna, 7-2, but still advanced to state in Elk River July 14. Owatonna took a break as Austin fought to get back to the winner’s bracket and benefited from the extra rest.
Austin scored first on runs by Amy Bickler and Tiffany Ankeny, but Owatonna came back to take a 3-2 lead in the third inning. Owatonna added two in the fifth and put Austin away with two more in the sixth.
"We had quite a few errors in the last game. The heat really got to us today," Coach Bray said. "The second game we already knew we were going to be seeded in ‘A’ category for state. Now we are second seeded behind Owatonna."
"We played our best ball on Saturday and against Winona today, beating them 1-0. This pushed us into ‘A’ category for state. The last game we played today doesn’t mean much as far as seeding."
Austin, now 20-12, plays next Saturday in Elk River at 9:30 a.m. against an opponent yet to be determined. Thirty All-Star teams will be playing at Elk River. Most of the teams are from the metro area. From this region Owatonna and Austin are seeded in ‘A’ category for state. In ‘B’ are Rochester and Winona and they will be playing in Inver Grove on Saturday. In ‘C’ are Redwing and Hayfield/Brownsdale. They will be playing in Sauk Rapids Saturday.
Austin’s next game is a doubleheader today in Rochester at Soldier’s Field.
Call Sheila Donnelly at 434-2214 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.