Baseball: Tiger bats spark hot start
All the pre-season time spent indoors doing hitting drills paid off for the Farmington baseball team during the first week of the regular season.
The Tigers scored 32 runs and ripped 42 hits while defeating Hastings, Holy Angels and Faribault in their first three games. Offense is coming from up and down the lineup despite the team returning just four players from last season.
“We had so many quality at bats again today,” said first-year head coach Jon Graff after the Tigers’ 15-5 rout of Faribault on Monday. “Kids are moving guys over, executing our plays and really seeing the ball well. However, as well as we’ve been doing, we’re going to see some of the top pitchers in the conference coming up, so we have to continue to make the pitchers pay for their mistakes and capitalize on our chances.”
Just about everyone capitalized on their chances against the Falcons. Nine players recorded hits and 10 came around to score runs. Jordan DeCroock paced the attack with four hits and five RBI and Austin Martinsen had three hits, three runs scored and an RBI.
The Tigers finally pulled away with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Parker Holmstrom contributed two hits and two runs scored. He also picked up the win on the mound, holding Faribault to five runs while striking out seven in five innings. Martinsen finished the game up with a scoreless sixth.
“Holmstrom looked really strong on the mound. He had great command, spotting his fastball early and then working in the off-speed as the game progressed,” Graff said. “Both pitchers kept Faribault’s hitters off-balance most of the game, surrendering only five hits.”
The Tigers trailed Holy Angels 3-2 before erupting for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth Friday afternoon. The Stars rallied for five runs in the sixth, but couldn’t come all the way back in a 10-8 Farmington win.
Bobby Eckert led off the fifth with a single and ended up scoring twice in the frame. DeCrook had a pair of singles and Martinsen, Ryan Giebel, Landon Nielsen and Holmstrom each added hits as the Tigers sent 13 hitters to the plate.
DeCroock, Martinsen and Giebel each tallied two of the team’s 15 hits. Leadoff hitter Johnny Dittman had three RBI and two runs scored.
“This was quite a wild game,” Graff said. “I don’t think there was a ball that was softly hit. Both teams brought their bats and really put a spanking on the ball.”
There were also a few defensive highlights for the Tigers.
“There were numerous big plays, like Bobby Eckert’s dive to turn a double play in the fourth and JD Hinks’ dive in the seventh to throw a guy out, keeping the leadoff guy off the bases,” Graff said.
Jordan Beschorner started and allowed three runs over the first four innings. Martinsen got touched up for five runs over 1 1/3 innings before Kyle Johnson came in to record the final five outs.
The Tigers opened the season by pounding out 12 hits in a 7-1 win over Hastings last Thursday. Hinks allowed a run in the top of the first, and then shut out the Raiders the rest of the way while fanning eight and walking just one.
Hinks, Dittman and Eckert paced the offense with two hits apiece. Holmstrom had a hit and two RBI.
The Tigers (3-0) hosted Northfield Tuesday. They have road games at New Prague and Chanhassen this week before returning home to take on Chaska on Monday.