Softball: Packers rally to avoid an upset to beat Tigers

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Austin softball team found a big spark at the right time to avoid a first round upset as it was able to edge past No. 6 seeded Albert Lea 6-5 in a Section 1AAA tournament opener in Todd Park Tuesday.

The No. 3 Packers trailed 5-3 after AL put up four unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning, but With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the fourth inning, Austin senior Hannah Biwer helped get the Packers on track. Biwer beat out an infield single, she hustled to third on a throwing error and she scored on a wild pitch to bring Austin within 5-4.

In the bottom fifth, the Tigers had runners on first and second with one out when Biwer hauled in a fly ball and threw to second to get the double play and end AL’s last threat of the game.

Austin’s Kyra Walters tries to avoid a tag by Albert Lea’s Madeline Fjermestad at third during an opening round game in the Section 1AAA playoffs Tuesday. Eric Johnson/

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I felt [the desperation] really badly,” Biwer said “We just had to get the energy going with positivity.”

Biwer’s defense translated into some big bombs from the Packer bats in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore Jordyn McCormack launched a solo homer to center field to tie the game at 5-5 to lead off the frame and sophomore Kyra Walters parked a one-out solo homer into left field to give the Packers (11-8 overall) the lead for good.

“I saw Jordyn worked hard to get us back in the game and I thought I had to get something going so we could score again,” said Walters, who was three-for-three with three RBIs. “[Hannah] showed us we were still in it by hustling hard. She worked her butt off, we had to too.”

Tori Gardner picked up the win in relief for Austin as she pitched two and two-thirds scoreless innings.

The Tigers (0-13 overall) were able to put pressure on Austin by taking advantage of four Austin errors. Austin head coach Al Eckmann said the Packers will have to come out a lot sharper when they play No. 2 Northfield in Todd Park at 4 p.m on Thursday.

“We’ve got to show up and play every game,” Eckmann said. “You can’t just choose the ones you want to play in. This is tournament time and this is softball in Minnesota. The Big Nine has won the last two [Class AAA] state championships and this tournament is very meaningful.”

Austin lost to Northfield (11-6 overall) 10-9 in the dome on April 5.

With seven seniors on the roster, the Packers are hoping they put together a postseason run.

We just want to come out here and make history,” Biwer said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and we want to finish strong.”

Austin third baseman Hannah McMasters guns to first of an out against Albert Lea during an opening round Section 1AAA playoff game at Todd Park Tuesday. Eric Johnson/

AL 1 0 0  4 0 0  0    5    4  1

Austin 2 0 1  1 2 0  X    6  11  4

Austin pitching: Hannah Rasmussen, 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 R, 1 ER, 5 K; Tori Gardner (W) 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 K

Austin hitting: Halie Retterath, 2-for-3, R, BB; Adison Medgaarden, 1-for-4, R, SB; Jordyn McCormack, 2-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R; Hannah McMasters, 1-for-3, RBI; Kyra Walters, 3-for-3, HR, 3 RBIs, R; Taylor Derry, 0-for-3; Emilee Lau, 0-for-2, BB; Avery Thompson, 1-for-3; Hannah Biwer, 1-for-3, R