15 May 2012

Softball: Late rally carries Tigers to 9-5 win

Six-run sixth inning the difference (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The Tigers roared back from a 5-3 deficit to score six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and defeat Chanhassen 9-5 in a showdown of Missota Conference leaders Tuesday afternoon at Tiger Field.

The win coupled with Shakopee's 10-4 win over Chaska leaves Farmington and Shakopee tied for the league lead with 10-3 records with one game to play. Chanhassen, who entertains Shakopee Thursday in its conference finale, is one back at 9-4.

"We're all now huge Chanhassen fans," Tiger coach Paul Harrington said. "If they can beat Shakopee and we beat Red Wing, we're all all alone on top."

Tuesday's game was one one of big innings for both teams. The Tigers struck for three runs in the first inning before the Storm tied it with a three-spot in the third.

The visitors went up 5-3 with a two-run fifth before the resilient Tigers exploded for the winning runs in the home half of the sixth.

"The biggest thing about this game is our girls never hung their heads," Harrington said. "We never gave up. That should help us down the road in the section."

The winners used an error, a walk, two-hit batsmen and RBI singles by Allie Rice, Taylor Yousse and Erin Wurst to jump to a 3-0 lead in their first at-bat.

Trailing 5-3 with only six outs remaining, the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth and pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

Taylor Yousse (2 H, 2 RBI) tags out a runner at second (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Brooke Searles started the rally with a single and moved to third on a two-base error. Amber Doyle walked and Ashley Betzold followed with a single to left to make it 5-4. Rice walked to load the bases and then two costly Storm errors and another run-scoring single by Yousse gave the Tigers some breathing room.

"We executed when we had to," Harrington said. "The girls deserve a lot of credit for hanging in there."

Farmington starter Betzold allowed a couple of hits in the seventh but got the last two outs on fly balls to post her 12th win of the season.

Though Harrington was pleased with the win and how it was accomplished, he said his team could have made things easier for itself.

"I don't know exactly how many runners we left on, but I know it was a ton," he said. "We had lots of opportunities."

Allie Rice 3-3, RBI (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Rice went a perfect 3-3, including a double, to lead the Tiger offense. Yousse had two hits and a pair of runs batted in and Searles scored twice.

For the most part, the defense also did its part, committing two errors neither of which played a part in the Chanhassen runs.

"We hit the ball and they hit the ball," Harrington said. "They earned what they got. We didn't give them anything."

A win at Red Wing Thursday would deliver at least a tie for Farmington's first Missota Conference softball championship since 2007.

Section 1 play begins next Wednesday with an opponent and a site to be determined by seeding completed over the weekend.