• 32°

Hulne: Packer softball team is high on team chemistry

No matter where I’ve gone this spring, it seems that I can’t shake the Austin softball team. Due to a ridiculous number of cold and rainy days this season, the Packers have basically made the Dome at Wescott Athletic Complex their home field and they’re the only area spring team that seems to be staying on schedule without delays as we head into May.

The Packers (5-9 overall) have played 14 games this season and 11 of those contests have taken place in Austin. I’ve covered most of those games. Even when Herald photographer Eric Johnson and I went on the road to cover Hayfield grad Dani Wagner and the Gopher softball team, the Packer softball team was also at the game on a team road trip.

This column isn’t being written to complain about seeing too much softball, in fact it’s meant to be a compliment to the Packers. Having seen them so much this spring, I’ve seen every aspect of this team in wins and losses and they seem to be a well balanced, fun loving group that gets a long and goes along together.

The team camaraderie this group has is second to none and that really is saying something, considering the squad has a few freshmen and sophomores mixed in with the core group of juniors and seniors. Despite their age differences, the Packers have blended as one and the older players have done a solid job of accepting their youthful counterparts.

Austin has also shown it can be a team to be reckoned with as it hung around with No. 1 ranked and defending state champ Mankato West in a 9-4 last week. Even when the Packers have been down this season, they’ve shown the spirit to fight back and keep battling. The team has three versatile pitchers and they could be key to a postseason spurt.

However the Packers compete for the rest of this season, I’m sure they will do it with a positive attitude and solid teamwork. If they can continue to do that, they’ve learned a huge lesson on what high school sports are really about.

Austin will play at Mankato East 5 p.m. Tuesday and it will host Owatonna 5 p.m. Thursday.