The Tri-City United softball team finally got a chance to open its season with a doubleheader at Austin’s Wescott Sports Complex on Thursday, but it seems the team was a little rusty.

After a long wait to get things started, the Titans were sluggish and seemingly not quite ready for the challenge of playing a game and they ended up falling short in both.

“Austin is a solid team and this was a good test to start the year,” head coach Philip Murry said. “It gives us an idea as to what we need to be successful.”

Game 1: Austin 10, TCU 5

After the first inning of the night, the teams were still tied at zero. And they remained like that until Austin scored one at the bottom of the second.

But the Titans refused to let that one run get in their heads and they went out and took the next four runs to put them in a 4-1 lead at the top of the third.

Elly Novak led off with a walk and then advanced to third on a double from Ellie Singleton. Jaylyn Sheffler drove Novak in with a sacrifice fly to left.

Emily Krautkremer and Cami Vargo had back-to-back singles with Vargo driving Singleton home and then Emily Schatz doubled down the left field line to drive in two more runs.

Unfortunately, the Packers weren’t giving up either and they quickly gained five runs off of five hits and two TCU errors to put them ahead 6-4 in the bottom of the third.

Austin added another three runs at the bottom of the fourth and it wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Titans answered with another run. Sydney Sartori helped produce the last run for the Titans with a single and another by Keilee Westlee and a double from Novak.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Packers added a run of their own to end the game at 10-5.

“I was impressed that we only struck out four times in this game,” Murry said. That means that we were at least making them make some plays.”

Vargo ended the game 2 for 4 with one RBI. Amelia Schatz ended 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Novak finished 1 for 3 adding another double and RBI as well and Singleton finished 1 for 4 with a double.

“I thought we started very well, but once they started putting some balls in play, we were very tentative defensively,” Murry said. “We haven’t been outside yet so we struggled with balls hit to the outfield (and) we didn’t get very good jumps on the ball.” Losing Pitcher: Elly Novak – 6 IP. Gave up 9 hits, 10 runs (4 earned runs), walked 3 and struck out 9.

Austin 1 0 5 3 0 1 — 10 10 0

TCU 0 0 4 0 0 1 — 5 6 2

Game 2: Austin 11, TCU 1

After losing the first game, the Titans were already off to a rough start for the second that carried on throughout the game.

Novak led off the game with a triple but was eventually thrown out at home on an attempted bunt.

Austin scored four runs right away in the first inning and added three more in the second inning to take the early lead.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Titans finally got a run on the board. With two outs, Novak hit a double to the right and then scored when Singleton also doubled to right.

The Packers finished the game with one more run in the fourth inning and three more in the sixth.

Novak went 3 for 3 with a run scored, two doubles and a triple. Vargo ended 1 for 3 and Singleton also went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI.

“Our defense was very sluggish in this game,” Murry said. “We didn’t move well at all, but Elly Novak really stung the ball well.”

The Titans’ tournament on Saturday, April 21 has been postponed due to weather conditions, but they found an opening in Rosemount’s Irish Sports Dome that night. So the Titans will see another dome game on April 21 against West Central Area. The team is looking at Tuesday, April 24 to be its first outdoor game. They will be playing a doubleheader against Sibley East starting at 4 p.m. at Montgomery’s North Park Field A.

Losing pitchers: Joselyn Flicek – 5 IP. Gave up 11 hits, 8 runs (7 earned), walked 4 and struck out 4; Ellie Singleton 1 IP. Gave up 2 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and walking 1.

Austin 4 3 0 1 0 3 — 11 11 0

TCU 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 1 3 3

Reach Reporter Ashley Murtha at 507-931-8572.

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