24 May 2014

Baseball: Cougars upset Tigers in section

Jordan DeCroock scored the third Tiger run (photo by Jim Lindquist)
An otherwise solid season came to a disappointing end Thursday afternoon at Tiger Field where No. 12 seed Lakeville South edged the fifth-seeded Tigers 4-3 in the opening round of the Section 1AAA tournament.

The Cougars scored all of their runs in the top half of the first inning, parlaying three hits, a walk and an infield error into four scores.

"Every loss is tough, but losing a section game by one run hurts, especially when we battled to get back into it," Farmington coach Jon Graff said. "It takes a little longer to get over games like these."

Farmington pulled to within 2-1 in the third inning on a double by Austin Martinsen and a run-scoring single by Ryan Giebel and then made it a one-run game with a two-run fifth.

Johnny Dittman stroked a one-out double and Jordan DeCroock followed with a RBI single. DeCroock moved to second on a wild pitch and raced home on Landon Neilsen's single.

But that was the end of the offense as the Tigers went six-up-and-six-down over their final two at-bats.

Parker Holmstrom shut out the Cougars after the 1st inning (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The difference in the outcome turned out to be the South's ability to turn opportunities into runs.

"They had a couple balls in the first that just blooped in or found their way through the infield and they capitalized on them." Graff said. "That is something we didn't always do as we got guys into scoring position with no outs three different innings but failed to get them home."

Farmington outhit the Cougars 9-6 with DeCroock, Neilsen and Bobby Eckert each collecting two for the Tigers

Parker Holmstrom was the victim of the four-run South first in which only two of the runs were earned but he blanked the Cougars the rest of the way. The junior righthander struck out eight and walked only one.

"We knew we'd get a good game out of Parker and we did," Graff said. "He pitched so well all year."

The loss left the 2014 edition of Tiger baseball with an overall record of 11-9, its best season since 2006.

Graff said the loss will sting for a awhile but he didn't want it to diminish all that his team accomplished during his first season ad head coach.

"I am so proud of this team," he said. "For everything they did in this game and all year. It's a great group of young men.

"They supported each other, played the game the right way and made it easy to come to the field every day. I hate to see it end for them, especially for our seniors."

Bobby Eckert turns a double play (photo by Jim Lindquist)