Making summer strides
Published 8:03 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The Austin 16U softball team is still looking to find its hitting rhythm and that was apparent when the team got its bats going in one contest and struggled to get on base in another, splitting a doubleheader with Byron at Todd Park Monday.
Austin had just two hits as it lost the first game 2-1 in six innings but racked up 10 hits to win the nightcap 11-5 in four innings.
“All of the girls can hit,” Austin head coach Dan King said. “They don’t always have confidence or remember that they can hit. That’s our major challenge.”
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Austin took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the first game when Hannah Biwer drew a bases loaded walk, but Byron grabbed a 2-1 lead when it scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth.
Austin broke open the nightcap when Taylor Derry came up with a three-run triple in an eight-run third inning. Caitlin Kaercher was three-for-three with two RBIs in that win.
Derry was part of a big group of Austin 16U players who played for the Packer varsity softball team this past spring. She said playing the summer together is crucial for the squad.
“We get to know each other more and more each year,” Derry said. “We shared different qualities and we try to help each other out and give each other advice. Some days we hate each other, but we’re doing it for the best for each other and we all get along really well.”
King said he has coached some of the players on the 16U team since they played 10U softball. He’s enjoyed watching the group grow as players and he’s hoping they can start to play better this summer once they get some more practice time together.
“We get along. When we don’t get a long, we talk about it and get it fixed,” King said. “They know what to expect out of me and I’m always expecting more [out of them].”
Derry said King has helped a lot of players on the team improve and she said the ones who played varsity in the spring are working even harder to improve over the summer.
“[Playing varsity] made us work a lot harder. We’ve all put in a lot of time and effort and as soon as the high school season was done we were practicing,” Derry said. “Dan is normally here at least an hour before practice and an hour after practice to help out with hitting and batting.”
Byron 0 0 0 2 0 0 — 2 1 0
Austin 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 1 2 2
Austin pitching: Liz Christianson (W) 4 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 K; Tori Gardner, 2 IP, 2 BB, 0 R, 3 K
Austin hitting: Addison Medgaarden, 0-for-3; Halie Retterath, 0-for-3; Hannah Rasmussen, 0-for-3; Caitlin Kaercher, 0-for-2, BB, SB; Lilly Riddles, 2-for-2, R, 3 SB, BB; Gardner, 0-for-2, HBP, SB; Christianson, 0-for-1, BB; Jenna Braaten, 2 BBs; Hannah Biwer, RBI, BB; Taylor Derry, 0-for-1, SB
Austin 2 0 8 1 — 11 10 1
Byron 2 1 0 2 — 5 7 0
Austin pitching: Gardner (W) 4 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 5 ER, 7 K, 1 HBP
Austin hitting: Derry, 1-for-2, double, 3 RBIs, 2 R, 2 SB, BB; Retterath, 2-for-2, RBI, 2 R, 3 SB, BB; Medgaarden, 1-for-1, 2 R, 2 SB, 2 BBs; Riddles, 0-for-1, R, BB, HBP; Kaercher, 3-for-3, 2 RBIs, 2 R; Braaten, 1-for-3, RBI, R; Gardner, 1-for-3, RBI; Rasmussen, 1-for-3, R; Biwer, 0-for-3