04 May 2014

Baseball: Wood bats bring good news

Austin Martinsen 5.3 innings of one-run relief vs. Hudson
After a week off due to rain, the Tigers bounced back into action Saturday by winning both of their games at the Apple Valley Wood Bats tournament.

Coach Jon Graff's team raised its season record to 6-3 with a 4-2 victory over Brookings, South Dakota and an eight-inning, 6-3 triumph over Hudson, Wisconsin.

"It was kind of the day we thought it would be heading into the wood bat tournament," Graff said, "low-scoring with less hitting which really puts a premium on pitching and defense."

The Tigers got exactly that in their experiment with wood bats, getting solid pitching performances from three different hurlers and committing just two errors in the field in 15 innings.

Brookings led 2-0 after five innings in the opener before Farmington scored all four of its runs in the top of the sixth on two walks, a hit-batsman and a clutch two-run single by Ryan Giebel.

The Tigers had only four singles in their first experience with wood bats, one each by Giebel, Bobby Eckert, Parker Holmstrom and JD Hinks.

Jordan Beschorner started on the mound for Farmington and went the first two innings, giving up a hit and a run. Hinks came on in the third and threw five innings of one-run relief to chalk up the win.

Maverick Carlson started his first varsity game in the nightcap and pitched five and two-thirds solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Austin Martincsen relieved in the sixth and recorded the victory with 2.33 innings of shutout ball.

"We've really been aided by pitchers who do their job," Graff said. "We don't have to strike everyone out, just throw strikes and let our defense make the plays which we did for the most part."

.Bobby Eckert 3 hits in 2 games (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The other big news for the Tigers was their 12 hits with the wood bats, including three by Giebel and two apiece by Eckert and Landon Neilsen. Hinks knocked in two runs with a hit and a sacrifice fly and Giebel and Nick Schoening each scored twice.

The Tigers scored the game-winning runs in the top of the eighth inning on Giebel's double, a run-scoring single by Neilsen, a walk to Schoening, a sacrifice fly by Hinks and a single by Martinsen.

The winners ended the game in the bottom of the eighth with a nifty shortstop-to second-to first double play.

"It was great getting two wins today, but now we play 10 games in the next 10 school days," Graff said, "so we'll have to rest our arms a bit and get ready for this crazy finish."

The hectic stretch begins Monday with a Missota Conference match-up at New Prague.