14 May 2013

Softball: Muelken mows down Mayo

Maddie Muelken slides safely into third after a first-inning triple (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Maddie Muelken pitched and hit the Tigers to a blowout 18-0, five-inning win over Section 1AAA rival Rochester Mayo Monday afternoon at Tiger Field.

The eighth-grader surrendered two hits in the first inning and then retired 13 straight batters the rest of the way to record the victory. Muelken struck out five and did no issue a base on balls.

"Molly threw six innings against a Burnsville junior varsity team over the weekend and didn't walk a batter," coach Paul Harrington said, "and that's how she threw today.

"This was her best game of the season for the varsity. She kept the ball down and threw strikes. We would like to see her chew up as many innings as she can. That really gives Ashley (Betzold) a break."

When Muelken wasn't giving the Spartans fits in the circle she was haunting them at the plate. In four plate appearances, she had a triple, a double and a pair of singles and drove in four runs.

Amber Doyle 3-4, 3 RBI (photo by Jim Lindquist)
But Muelken wasn't the only Tiger feasting on Mayo pitching. Amber Doyle had three hits in four official trips to the plate and also drove in three runs. Taylor Yousse went 2-4 with three RBI and Betzold was 2-3 as the designated player. Yousse and leadoff hitter Carly Esselman each scored three times.

The winners finished with 15 hits in the contest and also took advantage of seven costly Mayo errors.

Farmington led 7-0 after three innings before blowing the game wide open with a nine-hit, 11-run bottom of the fourth in which 17 batters came to the plate. Youssse, Muelken and Doyle each had a pair of hits in the inning and Toni Hunsinger smacked a bases-loaded double.

The Tigers won't have much time to savor the victory as Tuesday they travel to Chaska for a Missota Conference doubleheader. A sweep there would set up a Thursday showdown with Shakopee at Tiger Field that could decide the league crown.

Shakopee came into the week unbeaten in 10 conference games while the Tigers stood at 8-2.

"It's still in our hands if we win two tomorrow," Harrington said, "but we can't get ahead of ourselves. Right now it's one game at a time."