Column: Highlights of the Spring

Published 8:16 pm Monday, June 16, 2008

With another sports season done it’s time to look back at the highlights. Spring ended up being pretty exciting with one baseball team pulling off a 23-game winning streak and another going from worst to first in its conference.

A streak to remember

Although it ended in the state title game, the Southland baseball team should be remembered as a squad that won 23 straight games. In baseball, a team has to be solid up and down to play consistently for so long.

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Even with a good team, a couple errors, or even a couple of strikeouts could cause them to lose every once in a while.

But this sqaud was more than good — they were great. Although they took second at state in a tough loss to Wabasso, they showed what it means to be a good hitting ball club as they hit over .380 as a team and rarely struck out.

Redemption of the best kind

Last season, Austin golfer Catherine Wagner missed the state meet by one stroke. This season, she missed first place in the state of Minnesota by one stroke, as she took second overall.

Although it had to be frustrating so close to the top, Wagner, who will be back next season, has cemented herself as one of the favorites in 2009.

Keeping at it

Early in the season, the Austin 4 x 400 relay team had one of the top times in the state of Minnesota. But they knew it wouldn’t be enough as teams often tamper to make their relay teams faster when the section meets come around.

Instead of staying complacent, the Packers worked hard all season and it paid off when they acheived a season-best time at the Section 1AA meet to get to state, where they finished 10th.

The turnaround

Last season, Lyle/Pacelli’s baseball team was inexperienced and it won just a game.

This year, the team won 11 games and took home an SEC title.

It was a fun season to see as Josh Stadheim, who was a newbie as a senior, was a solid force on defense, and sophomore Mike Longergan stepped up as a third baseman and solid hitter to help out the Athletics.

The team also got some great pitching from sophomore Kody Meyer and senior Sam Stier.

But the highlight was watching Jake Ehret play every game and finish the year healthy. Ehret was robbed of most of his athletic career his junior and senior seasons as he blew his ACL out twice. It was a sweet way for the senior to finish out his career on a winning team.

Cardiac Pack

The Packer softball team came through with some big plays in some clutch victories this past season.

In the first game of a doubleheader against Owatonna May 1, it took Austin 14 innings before it snapped a 5-5 tie when Brandi Ruroden came up with a two-out RBI single to win it.

It was a big hit for the freshman catcher and the win livened up the spirits of the Packers, giving them motivation for a sweep of Century May 8 that saw Austin win two games on their last at-bats.

Brittany Hoban scored on an errant throw to win the first game in the bottom of the eighth and Ashley Crump came up with an RBI-groundout in the bottom of the seventh to win the second game.