One big inning for Post 189 team
With the exception of one thrilling inning, it was a pretty quiet week in the batters box for the Farmington American Legion baseball team.
The Legion team split a doubleheader June 19 at South St. Paul and went 0-4 in a tournament at Grand Rapids over the weekend, but coach Jared Rowan said all that was missing from his team's effort was some good fortune on offense.
"We pitched well. We played good defense. We just weren't getting hits," Rowan said. "That was kind of the story of the whole last week."
Farmington played 13 innings of sluggish offense at South St. Paul, but that one good inning was enough to provide some excitement. Farmington lost the first game, 3-2 and was down 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh in the second game when they finally found their hitting stroke.
After a leadoff walk to start the seventh Post 189 got back-to-back-to-back doubles from Johnny Dittman, Jordan DeCroock and Bobby Eckert to help bring the dugout to life.
"It was kind of contagious once we got rolling," Rowan said. "Kids were excited. It's always fun to win on a walk-off like we did. They got to jump around a little bit."
Farmington was down to its last out in the eighth inning but a dropped ball on a third strike put Bobby Eckert on base. He advanced on a walk, got to third on a passed ball and scored on a ball the South St. Paul shortstop misplayed.
Rowan hoped that excitement would carry over to the Grand Rapids tournament, but the bats were mostly quiet again as Post 189 went 0-4 for the weekend.
Parker Holmstrom pitched well in the first game, a 3-0 loss to Edina. Holmostrom gave up all three runs, but only one was earned. Farmington had just two hits in the game.
Post 189 lost 2-1 to Grand Rapids in the second game, then had a bit of a flashback to South St. Paul in the third.
Farmington trailed Elk River 6-1 going into the bottom of the seventh and got four runs before falling 6-5. The tying run was on third and the winning run was on second when the game ended.
"We were just missing that big hit," Rowan said.
Austin Martinson made his first start for the Legion after playing for the Farmington VFW team and was solid.
"He pitched really, really well. He kept the hitters off balance," Rowan said.
Farmington simply ran out of pitching in the tournament's final game. The were tied 3-3 with Hill Murray when Rowan had to dig deep to find relief pitching. He had one player out for a graduation party and another at the College World Series and had to turn to players who weren't used to pitching. The result was a 10-run sixth inning for Hill Murray and a 13-3 loss.
Rowan said he's not discouraged with the results.
"0-4, on the surface, in that tournament sounds bad, but we played some good teams," he said. "I think the bats will start to come around here, and when they do I think we can do some good things."