21 May 2014

Softball: Tigers advance in Section 1AAA

Molly Berdan rapped a two-run triple in the six-run fourth inning (file photo by Jim Lindquist)
Fourth-seeded Farmington broke a scoreless tie with a big six-run fourth inning and then held off a late Rochester John Marshall comeback for a 6-3 win over the Rockets in a second round game of the Section 1AAA tournament played Wednesday at Tiger Field.

No. 5 seed John Marshall beat 12th-seeded Faribault 7-2 in an opening round game earlier in the afternoon.

Farmington coach Paul Harrington said his offense was going to have to pick things up a notch if the Tigers are to stay alive in the hunt for a third consecutive section title.

"I'm sure there were some nerves involved with playing the first game in the section," Harrington said. There always is."

"But if we hit like we did today, we won't be around long. We had too may poor at-bats, especially early in the game. Swinging at bad pitches with 0-2 counts and taking third strikes when we were 0-2. You can't do those things and expect to win."

Neither team could do much through the first three-and-a-half innings with the teams combining for no runs and three hits.

That all changed in the home half of the fourth when Farmington sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring six runs on five hits and a couple of Rocket errors.

Maddie Muelken started the fourth inning rally with a double (file photo by Jim Lindquist)
Maddie Muelken started the uprising with a double. Ashley Ibinger reached on an error and Taylor Yousse knocked in the first run with an infield single.

Later in the inning Jordyn Keprios drove in a run with a fielder's choice ground ball and Emily Berdan chased one home with a single up the middle. After Carly Esselman singled, Molly Berdan lined a triple to right-center to plate the final two Farmington runs.

Muelken started in the circle for the Tigers and was cruising along with a two-hit shutout until two were out in the top of the sixth. Then the feisty Rockets parlayed a walk and three consecutive singles into three runs to get back in the game.

Muelken got the first two outs in the seventh inning, too, but once again JM refused to go away quietly, loading the bases with two outs before the freshman righthander got the final out on an infield groundout.

Muelken allowed seven hits in the contest while striking out nine and walking two.

The Tigers finished with seven hits, one each by seven different players. The Rockets hurt their own cause by committing four errors in the field.

The win punched the Tigers' ticket to the third round of the double-elimination section tourney scheduled for Friday in Austin where they will match up with top-seeded Lakeville South.