Todd Park hosts annual Austin Fastpitch Softball Tournament

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 21, 2002

Forty-eight teams of youth softball squads -- including four from Austin -- take to the fields at the Todd Park Softball Complex Saturday morning at 8 a.m. for the 2002 Austin Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

This year like every summer season previous, Saturday's softball action will be conducted in pool-play fashion within four age groups. Results from the first day separate teams into bracket play for Sunday's final round of action.

The Austin Legion Post 91 squad, the 18-and-under age level, is 4-0 entering the annual tournament. Post 91 swept league doubleheaders at the Rochester Stars and at Owatonna during the last week and a half. The local Legion squad is comprised primarily of girls from Austin High, which in the spring season competed in the 2002 Minnesota State Softball Tournament.

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"They're still doing things the right way," said Legion co-coach Todd Waterbury. "We have the right frame of mind, maybe just a little less intense."

That hasn't stopped Post 91 from an undefeated start to the season, including Tuesday's sweep of host Owatonna. Pitcher Amy Kelly allowed one unearned run and a total of four hits in the league twinbill, which Austin won 2-0 and 4-1.

Austin collected a total of 13 hits in the two-game affair, finding offense from Caitlin Jurgenson in the first game and Keri Feller in the second. Jurgenson plated Austin's game-winning runs in the top of the seventh inning of game one, driving in Steph Eslinger and Steph Sundberg with a two-out single to center.

Jurgenson was 2-3 in the game, and also made five assists from her shortstop position. Kelly made six assists from the circle as no fly-ball outs were recorded in the opener.

A pair of Austin errors allowed Owatonna to cut into Post 91's 2-0 lead in the second game, but back-to-back RBI-singles by Eslinger and Kelly kept Austin comfortably in front.

48-team tournament

The local Legion team will be one of eight in the 18-and-under bracket Saturday and Sunday. Included in the field will be Owatonna, Faribault, and the Rochester Stars for the Minnesota teams, and Wisconsin squads from Eau Claire, Pepin, Holman and Brandon will be in attendance as well.

Post 91 faces the Rochester Stars -- who they defeated 9-1 and 6-3 in their season-opener -- at 8 a.m. Saturday. Austin will also play games at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The Austin Weyerhaeuser 16-and-under squad, coached by Riverland head softball coach Lisa Quednow-Bickler, will be one of 16 teams in its age group. The 14-and-under Austin VFW team is headed by Denny Harmer, and is one of 12 teams in its bracket.

Only one of Austin's two 12-and-under teams will be competing in the annual weekend tournament. The Austin Jaycees are one of 12 teams in their division, while the Austin Eagles will not be competing. The 12-and-under teams are coached by former Austin Packers Brooke Gentzler and Tiffany Poirier.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at