24 May 2014

Softball: Still hanging around

Maddie Muelken drove in both runs against South (file photo by Jim Lindquist)
Two-time defending Section 1AA champion Farmington split a pair of games at the 2014 tournament in Austin Friday to remain in contention for a third straight trip to state.

Top-seeded Lakeville South rallied form a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Tigers 3-2 in the championship bracket semifinals. Farmington came back to edge Winona 4-3 in a consolation bracket game in the double-elimination tournament.

Lakeville South 3 Farmington 2
The teams battled to a scoreless tie through two innings before the Tigers manufactured two runs in
the top half of the third.

Carlye Esselman started the rally when she reached on an infield error. Molly Berdan followed with an infield single and Maddie Muelken drove them both home with a double over the centerfielder's head.

The Cougars answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth and then pulled even on a solo home run by Bailee Jackson in the fifth.

South scored the game-winner in the sixth on a leadoff double and a run-scoring single by winning pitcher Kylie Stober.

The Tigers had runners on second and third with one out in the top half of the sixth but Stober struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam. Farmington left seven runners on base in the game.

Molly Berdan 2 hits in each game (photo by J. Lindquist)

Each team finished with six hits with Muelken and Berdan each collecting two for the Tigers. Jordyn Keprios and Ashley Ibinger had the other Farmignton hits.

Muelken went the distance in the circle for the Tigers and absorbed the pitching loss.

"We had too many strikeouts (12)," Tiger coach Paul Harrington said, "but both teams played well. It was a good softball game. They just scored one more run than we did."

Farmington 4 Winona 3
The hits (10) were easier to come by in the consolation bracket win over the Winhawks, but they didn't translate to many more runs.

Winona pushed across a run in the top of the third inning to take a brief lead but the Tigers countered with three scores in the bottom of the inning on singles by Esselman and Berdan and a three-run home run by Amber Doyle that bounced off the tip of the centerfielder's glove and went over the fence.

Berdan replicated Doyle's bounce one off the centerfielder's glove trick shot for a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to provide what proved to be the winning run as the Winhawks plated a pair of scores in the top of the sixth.

"That's not something you see very often, let alone twice in one game," Harrington said.

Muelken pitched a one-two-three seventh inning to nail down the win.

Doyle and Berdan each had a single and a home run for the winners. Taylor Yousse ripped an opposite field double and Keprios, Esselman, Ibinger, McKenzie Nelson and Nicole Pierick each chipped in with singles.

Muelken struck out three and did not issue a walk in posting the pitching victory.

The Tigers return to Austin Tuesday afternoon where they will square off against Hastings in an elimination game at 4:00. A victory would set up a second game against the loser of the Lakeville South-Rochester Mayo winner's bracket final at 6:00.

"We're still in it," Harrington said. "Our pitching and defense have been fine. We still have to get our bats going a little more."

Amber Doyle 3-run homer vs. Winona (photo by Jim Lindquist)