17 May 2014

Softball: A split with the champs

Jordyn Keprios had a hit and RBI in each game (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Farmington earned a regular season-ending split with Chanhassen Friday afternoon at Tiger Field. The Storm rallied for a 3-2 win in the opener before the Tigers roughed up the two-time defending conference champions 12-0 in the nightcap.

The split leaves Farmington with a record of 12 wins and seven losses heading into the post-season. The Tigers finished 9-5 in the Missota, good enough for a third place finish in the final league standings.

"Our regular season is over and now we will just sit back and wait to see the brackets and hopefully have another great playoff run," coach Paul Harrington said.

Game One
Things were looking rosy for the Tigers in the early going when they scored solo runs in the second and third innings to take the lead.

Maddie Muelken walked to led off the second and pinch runner Meghan Silber advanced to second on Taylor Yousse's sacrifice bunt. Silber scored on Jordan Keprios' base hit to left.

In the third inning, Emily Berdan and Carly Esselman singled with Berdan scoring on a throwing error on Molly Berdan's bunt.

The Storm tied the count with runs in the fourth and sixth innings and then won it with a score in seventh.

Muelken pitched well in defeat, scattering seven hits and striking out six.

"We let them hang around too long," Harrington said. "We couldn't get the big hit in the earlier innings to increase our lead and put them away.

"It was a tough loss. We get another hit in the innings we were threatening and we win this game.  But give Chan a lot of credit. They kept it close and played well."

Carly Esselman 3 hits (photo by J. Lindquist)
Game Two
Harrington has been around softball a long time but he said he can never remember seeing what happened in his team's first at-bat.

 "Our first seven batters all scored in the first inning," he said. "I am not sure I have ever seen that in game against such a high quality team as Chanhassen...We got the lead and never looked back. 

"The battery combination of Maddie (Muelken) and Emily (Berdan) was solid all day, and they took control to finish this game."

The Tigers ended the game on the ten-run rule with another big inning, a five-run fourth. The winners finished with eight hits and took advantage of three costly Storm errors.

Muelken rapped a pair of doubles and knocked in three runs while Esselman went 2-3 with a double and two runs scored.

Keprios, Molly Berdan and Ashley Ibinger each scored twice. Yousse and Keprios had a run-batted-in and scored.

 The contest was halted after five innings by the 10-run rule.

"This was a real character building game for us," Harrington said. "We had just lost a real tough game in the bottom of the seventh inning and we are playing a team that is one win away from winning the conference championship....Our kids did not roll over and die. We took it to them and didn't give them anything."

Seeding for next week's Section 1AAA tournament will take place this weekend with opening round games slated for Wednesday.