Austin’s Squier sprints her way to a walk-off win over AL

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

There was no stopping Austin junior Peyton Squier, just like there was no stopping the Austin softball team as Squier showed a lot of hustle to score a walk-off run to beat Albert Lea 9-8 in Todd Park Thursday.

Squier walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh and when Jenna Hetzel’s single went past AL’s left fielder, Squier turned on the jets and never slowed down as she scored from first base on the outfield fielding error. She beat the throw home by a hair and it wasn’t until after the game when she realized how close things were.

“I saw (head coach Lisa Lage) waving her arms and I just went for it,” Squier said. “Then I got told afterwards that she was telling me to stop, but I was still able to score. It was so exciting.”

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The Packers (2-16 overall) trailed 7-3 after three innings, but they stayed with it and bounced back. Abby VanPelt singled in a run in a two-run fourth and Ava Denzer doubled in a run and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 7-7 in the fifth. Katie VanPelt scored on a wild pitch to put Austin up 8-7.

The ability to come back was due to some senior inspiration as Austin honored seniors Harley Perez, Molly Forsythe and Maddison Herrick before the game.

“We were flat all week. We took a moment towards the end of yesterday’s practice and we addressed what’s going on,” Lage said. “We needed to refocus and when we came back today we all made a vow that we were going to give it our all for our seniors and everyone did their part.”

AL (5-13 overall) tied the game at 8-8 in the top of the seventh when Kristina Espinosa hit a one-out RBI single. Espinosa was stranded after Austin eighth grader Quinn Osgood escaped the jam with a strikeout and forced groundout, where she threw out AL’s Navaeh Wacholz from her knees.

Osgood, who struck out seven in five innings, allowed just one run in her last four innings after AL scored five runs on her in the third. She has grown a lot in the circle as a young varsity player this season.

“I learn a lot by watching other pitchers pitch. I also get help from my teammates,” Osgood said. “The energy of the team really does help us. We’re able to do so much more when we’re all cheering each other on. The hype was through the roof today.”

Lage was impressed with the focus and perseverance that Osgood showed in a hectic contest against a rival.

It’s not easy when you’re 14 pitching against 18 year olds,” Lage said. “She was a little nervous and we just had to remind her to have confidence in herself. When she finally did believe in herself she threw an amazing change up and I’m just proud of how well she held it together.”

AL 205  000  1 –  8  15  3

Austin 111  230  1 –  9   8   1

Austin pitching: Ava Denzer, 2 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K; Quinn Osgood (W) 5 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 6 ER, 7 K

Austin hitting: Katie VanPelt, 2-for-2, RBI, 3 R, 2 BBs; Avery Wempner, 0-for-3, R, BB; Abby VanPelt, 1-for-4, RBI; Kathryn Crouch, 0-for-2, RBI, R, BB; Madison Herrick, 1-for-4; Peyton Squier, 1-for-2, RBI, 2 R, BB; Jenna Hetzel, 1-for-3, double, R; Ava Denzer, 1-for-3, double, RBI, R; Quinn Ogood, 1-for-3