Since losing eight straight games to start the season, the Farmington 15AAA baseball team has come on strong.
The Tigers have won 11 of their past 18 games and qualified for the MBT State Tournament thanks to their showing at the Eagan Tournament in late June. The team continued to play well over the weekend with four victories by a combined score of 34-4 in the first four games of its own Farmington State Qualifying Tournament.
With a depleted pitching staff, the 15AAA boys settled for a 7-1 loss to Chisago Lakes in Sunday's championship game and a second-place finish. The final game featured a 45-minute rain delay after the fourth inning that seemed to drain any momentum for a Tiger comeback.
"It was a great tournament, we just kind of ran out of steam in the championship game," 15AAA coach Chris Dittman said.
The Tigers opened the tournament Saturday morning with a 12-2 drubbing of Northfield that ended via the 10-run rule.
Zach Colaw got the scoring started with an RBI single in the third inning and the Tigers ended up scoring seven in the frame. Kevin Olund added a two-run single and Kaid Nokes had three hits.
Nokes also came in to get the last three outs after winning pitcher Spencer Merle hurled four shutout innings.
Two more big innings broke open Farmington's second pool play game Saturday afternoon against Lakeville South.
With the game still scoreless in the top of the fifth, Jordan Lugowski and Olund ripped back-to-back RBI doubles to spark a four-run outburst. Four more runs in the sixth were plenty for Kyle Mayer, who fired a complete-game three-hitter.
Meyer also helped himself at the plate with three hits, including RBI singles in the fifth and sixth.
The Tigers closed out its 3-0 run in pool play with a 10-1 victory over eventual tournament champion Chisago Lakes.
The score was just 1-0 until Farmington exploded for eight runs in the fourth. Colton Sanders and Olund highlighted the outburst with a pair of two-run triples. Olund and Lugowski each had two hits in the game.
Jared Lipinski took advantage of the run support with a complete-game victory. He held Chisago Lakes to five hits and struck out five.
The Tigers advanced to the championship game by disposing of Pool B runner-up Red Wing 4-1 in Sunday's semifinal.
The game's big hit came from Mayer, who cleared the bases with a three-run double in the second inning. An RBI single by Lugowski made it 4-0 through four.
Merle pitched two shutout innings and Olund allowed one run over the next five to secure the win.
All the innings finally caught up with the 15AAA pitching staff by Sunday's final when four pitchers combined to throw six innings in a 7-1 loss to Chisago Lakes.
The Tigers tied the game 1-1 on Athen Ashton's RBI ground out in the top of the fourth, but the team managed just five total hits in the contest (two from Johnny Dittman).