18 May 2012

Softball: Tigers earn piece of Missota crown

Ashley Betzold wears the look of a conference champion (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Thanks to an 11-5 win at Red Wing Tuesday afternoon the Tigers own a piece of the Missota Conference championship for the first time since 2007.

Farmington  and Shakopee finished with identical 11-3 conference records to share the 2012 title.

The championship win didn't come easily, however. The winless Wingers led 3-0 after two innings and  3-2 heading into the fifth.

"We got behind early," Tiger coach Paul Harrington said, "and maybe put a little too much pressure on ourselves.

"But like so many other games this year, we came back to take the lead and win the game. Once we got the lead, we were determined not to give it back."

From there on the runs came in bunches for the visitors. Farmington plated four runs in the fifth to take the lead and then three in the sixth and two more in the seventh to seal the deal.

The Tigers rapped 12 hits in the contest and also took advantage of some shoddy fielding (8 errors) by the Wingers to post their 13th win of the season against just four losses.

Brooke Searles 2-4, R (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Molly Berdan had her best game of the season at the plate to lead the  Farmington offense. Berdan went 3-4, including a clutch bases loaded in the fifth that gave her team the lead at 5-3.

Ashley Betzold, Allie Rice and Brooke Searles each had  two hits. Rice knocked in a pair of runs.

Betzold went the distance in the circle to pick up the win, striking out seven Wingers in the process.

 Harrington was gratified by the conference championship but cautioned bigger goals lie ahead.

"It was great to win a share of the championship," he said, "The girls worked hard and deserve the credit. But we have to put that behind us a bit and focus on the section playoffs. A trip to the state tournament is still our No. 1 goal."

Farmington is expected to garner one of the top four seeds in the section and host a home game next Wednesday night at Tiger Field.. A win there would mean a trip to the section double-elimination "Final Four" in Austin next weekend.