Summer surge: Schaefer leads Austin 18U to a big win over Southland

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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ROSE CREEK – The Austin 18U softball team faced off against one of the area’s best pitchers and they showed some big improvements at the plate as they beat Southland 7-2 in six innings in the first game, before dropping the nightcap 4-2 in six innings in Rose Creek Tuesday.

Austin freshman KJ Schaefer struck out eight while allowing zero earned runs to score the opening win and she also had a big day at the plate against Southland ace Laney Weis. Schaefer homered to left in her first at-bat, she singled to left in her second at-bat and she converted an RBI single to left in her final at-bat.

“I’ve played (Laney) before and today was really good,” Schaefer said. “I was pumped up for this one.”

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Southland coach Tom Clements said that he was impressed with what Schaefer did in the circle as she held Southland to five hits.

“(KJ) is really dynamite. She works really, really hard and her ball has got a lot of pop on it,” Clements said. “I can’t say enough about her and her whole family is great. I knew it would be a tough game against her. She’s really coming on and she’s really going to be someone to watch later on.”

Weis struck out five, while allowing four earned runs for Southland.

Austin (6-3 overall) received a boost from Lauren Bowe, who robbed Weis of an extra base hit with a sprinting catch in center field in the fifth inning. Bowe singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error in the first and she used her speed to score on another throwing error in the sixth.

“I just listen to my coaches and when they say to steal, I just keep those feet moving,” Bowe said. “This summer has been really good. This really helps us build towards our spring team. This will give us momentum so we can come out better than ever next spring. We have really good team chemistry and we’re a really tight group of girls.”

This is the first summer in a long time that Austin has fielded an 18U softball team and it has paid dividends for the squad, which features mostly varsity players. Austin coach Andy Brede has coached many of these players since they were younger and he’s enjoyed watching them improve this summer.

“This gives the girls more reps against some tough teams. They can keep working at their craft and getting better each day,” Brede said. “We stress having fun and we want them to enjoy the summer. This group of girls have a lot of talent and we’re trying to get the most out of them.”

Southland won the nightcap 4-2 in a game that featured reserves for both teams. Lauren Sorgatz delivered a two-out, two RBI single that put Southland up 3-1 in the fifth inning.

“Summer is slower and we don’t have as many practices and that really showed in the first game today. With the mental mistakes we had, we can’t win against good teams like that. We can’t make that many mental mistakes,” Clements said. “The physical ones happen, but we can’t have the mental ones anymore. I was happy with how we came back in the second game. They kept their heads in it and I didn’t see the mental mistakes in that second game.”

Austin 2 0 0  0 0 5  –  7  6  3

Southland 0 0 0  0 0 2  –  2  5  5

Austin pitching: KJ Schaefer (W) 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 0 ER, 8 K

Austin hitting: Lauren Bowe, 1-for-2, 2 R, SB, BB; Lexi Brede, 1-for-3, R; Addison Walsh, 0-for-2, R; Schaefer, 3-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, R; Quinn Osgood, 0-for-3; Morgan Cass, 0-for-3, R; Addie Cline, 0-for-3; Ava Earhart, 1-for-2, R, BB; McKenzie Schaefer, 0-for-2; Joclyn Voth, 0-for-3

Southland pitching: Laney Weis (L) 5 ⅓ IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 K

Southland hitting: Weis, 0-for-3; Shannon Kiefer, 1-for-2; Clara Timm, 0-for-2, BB; Grace Kresbach, 1-for-3; Abby Sorgatz, 2-for-3, R; Jaida Sorenson, 0-for-3; Haylee Lowe, 0-for-2, R, BB; Riana Ulven, 1-for-3, RBI