10 April 2014

Softball: Tigers roar out of the gate

Amber Doyle 3-3, homer, double, 3RBI (photo by J, Lindquist)
Question: Who needs weeks of warm spring weather and outdoor drills to round the rough edges on their game?

Answer: Apparently not Paul Harrington and his Tigers who after practicing mostly indoors and scimmaging in domes since March 10 hammered Totino Grace 11-1 in their season opener Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Field.

The defending Section 1AAA champs scored four runs after two were out in the first inning to set the table for the rout of the school Harrington coached to five state tournaments in his long tenure in Fridley.

"The four-run rally in the first inning set the whole tempo of the game," Harrington said. "Our pitching was very solid and we hit the ball well."

Amber Doyle started the first inning outburst with a single. Emily Berdan and Maddie Muelken followed with base hits and Ashley Ibinger chased both home with a single. Molly Berdan then smoked a two-run triple, plating Ibinger and pinch-runner Jordyn Homeier.

The winners made it 6-1 in the second on a single by Carly Esselman and two-run homer by Doyle and then added four more in the third on RBI doubles by Doyle and Jordan Keprios, a sacrifice fly by Taylor Yousse and a wild pitch.

Molly Berdan 3-3, double, triple, 2RBI (photo by Jim Lindquist)
A single by Caitie Dully and a run-scoring double by Molly Berdan accounted for the final run in the fourth. The game was called after five innings on the 10-run rule.

Doyle and Molly Berdan carried the offensive load for the Tigers, each going 3-3 and hitting the ball on the nose in each plate appearance. Doyle had a double and a homer, knocked in three runs and scored two. Berdan stroked a double and a triple, drove in two runs and scored another.

"They were on fire at the plate," Harrington said. "Everything they hit was a rocket."

Muelken pitched the first four innings and struck out seven in a strong first outing in the circle. Meghan Silber made her varsity pitching debut with a perfect fifth inning with three straight strikeouts. The two Tiger hurlers combined for 10 punch-outs and did not issue a walk.

The Tigers open Missota Conference play Friday afternoon with a home game versus Holy Angels. Game time is 4:30 at Tiger Field.