18 June 2012

Baseball: Tigers come up short in the close ones

Batting champion (.435)  Spencer Merle (photo by Jim Lindquist)
They say baseball is a game of inches and, unfortunately, the Tigers came up an inch or two short too often this spring.

Farmington finished with an overall record of 7-13 and went 4-10 in the Missota Conference play but the rest of the story is that it lost four-run decisions, three of them in extra innings.

"We could have finished above .500 if we had won the close ones," veteran coach Mike Winters said. "Consistent pitching and good situational hitting are the areas where we struggled. We need to get better in both."

Nineteen Tigers earned varsity letters this spring, including 11 seniors: Drew Hegseth, Marty Rivera, Ty Vincent,  Nate Graham, John Stibal, Jake Baskerville, Nick Newman, Ryan Schoening, Andy Scharrat, Andy Morris and Jonathan Ellis.

Eight underclassmen also earned their varsity stripes: junior Kyle Mayer, Jared Lipinski, Spencer Merle, Jordan Lugowski and Kevin Olund and sophomores J.D. Hinks, Johnny Dittman and Jordan DeCrook.

Ty Vincent all-conference HM (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Merle took team hitting honors with a .435 average and Hegseth picked up the Top Gun award for pitching (2-1, 3.65 ERA, 1 save).

Merle also made the all-Missota Conference team while Vincent (.327) and Baskerville (.291) each received all-league honorable mention.

Jake Baskerville all-conference HM (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Nick Newman was named Mr. D (4 errors) and Jordan Lugowski (.271) won Rookie of the Year honors. John Stibal (.266) and Andy Morris (1.50 ERA) shared the Coaches Award.

Winters said his team's sweep of Chanhassen and the opportunity to play on some of Minnesota's finest ball field--Chanhassen, Chaska, Red Wing and Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud--ranked at the top of the list of 2012 highlights.

While he will lose 11 players to graduation, Winters is upbeat about his team's chances in 2013.

"We have a great group of young athletes coming up," he said. "Our team speed and depth should be improved although there were a lot of conference teams playing sophomores this year."

One good omen for the Tigers is that Winters' Farmington VFW team has won eight of its first nine games this summer.