Falcons knock off Packers

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Austin pitcher Abbey Ball holds her glove up after Faribault's Jordan Thompson (6) celebrates scoring the winning run against the Packers in the Section 1AAA tournament opener in Rochester Wednesday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

ROCHESTER — Austin sophomore pitcher Abbey Ball had a strong showing, but in the end it wasn’t enough to keep her team’s season alive as Faribault rallied to beat the Packers 3-2 in the Section 1AAA softball tournament opner in Rochester John Marshall High School Wednesday.

Austin outfielder Laura Siegfried, right, hangs on to a fly ball, as she bumps into teammate Katelyn Joseph in Rochester. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Ball had held the Falcons scoreless for five straight innings when they tied the game in the seventh inning on a two-out bloop single to right field by Ellen Scheffler. The Falcons (9-11 overall) won the game in the eighth inning when Jordan Thompson tripled and scored on a wild pitch with two outs.

“It’s a hard way to end because you work so hard throughout the season and then it’s so close,” said Ball, who struck out five in seven and two-thirds innings. “They got breaks and it came back to bite us.”

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Faribault took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first and it looked to be headed for a two-run margin but Austin center fielder Katleyn Joseph threw out a runner at the plate to end the frame. The Packers (7-14 overall) bounced back and took the lead in the third when Danielle Tschann singled in a run with two outs and Taylor Hackensmith reached on an error to give Austin the lead.

With a one-run lead, Ball put the Packers in a position where they were one out from getting a win.

“Abbey showed a tremendous amount of maturity and mental toughness in the circle,” Austin head coach Tina Strauss said. “She’s been working really hard to get ready for games like this for the future and I think she did a great job.”

Once it took the lead, Austin couldn’t produce any more offense as it had just one hit after the third inning. Faribault pitcher Sara Mueller finished the game with seven strikeouts while walking none.

“Personally, I can’t lay off the high stuff and she kept going up on us,” Ball said. “We didn’t have enough discipline to lay off the rise ball. It’s a learning experience.”

The Packers kept themselves in the game with some solid defense as they committed just one error and made some nice catches in the outfield.

“Defensively I thought we played one of our best outings of the year,” Strauss said. “Offensively, some of our hits didn’t fall tonight because that wind took it away from us, but they had the same situation too.”

Faribault ended up losing to top-seeded Rochester John Marshall 5-3.

Austin 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 3 1

Faribault 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 — 3 8 4

Austin pitching: Abbey Ball (L), 7 2/3 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 3 ER, 5 K

Austin hitting: Katelyn Joseph, 0-for-2, SB; Sydney Murphy, 0-for-2, R, SB; Ball, 0-for-4; Danielle Tschann, 2-for-4, RBI; Taylor Hackensmith, 0-for-2, 2 SB; Lisa Stundahl, 0-for-4; Kallie Hart, 0-for-2, HBP; Abby Bickler, 0-for-1; Marie Clennon, 0-for-2; Laura Siegfried, 1-for-3, R