Softball: Tigers take consolation at Mankato
The Farmington softball team finally started its season Friday, and it did so right where last season ended -- at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
After 13 cancellations and postponements over the last month, the Tigers finally got to dig in their spikes against New Ulm in the opening round of the Mankato East tournament. The last time the team took the field it was at the same complex against Bloomington Jefferson in the consolation round of the Class 3A state tournament last June.
This trip to Mankato fared much better for the Tigers. Instead of losing three games, they bounced back from a 6-4 loss to New Ulm to defeat Winona Cotter and Tartan and win the consolation championship.
Host Mankato East defeated Maple River to win the championship.
One bad defensive inning kept the Tigers from making a run at the title. They led New Ulm 4-0 before allowing six unearned runs in the final two innings.
New Ulm managed just four hits but took advantage of four Farmington miscues.
Pitcher Ashley Betzold struck out six and clubbed a pair of hits, as did Amber Doyle, who tripled and knocked in three runs. Kendall Novak scored twice.
Betzold picked up the two-inning save in Game 2 against Cotter, striking out four over the final two frames of a 5-3 win. Maddie Muelken got her first varsity start in the center of the diamond and allowed three runs in five innings. She also helped herself at the plate with a pair of doubles.
The Tigers took advantage of five Tartan errors to take the consolation championship with a 9-1 rout. Toni Hunsinger and Molly Berdan each had two of the team's eight hits and Taylor Yousse scored twice.
Doyle knocked in a run with a single and brought in Yousse on a suicide squeeze bunt in the sixth inning.
Betzold picked up her first win of the season and struck out four. Betzold and Muelken were both named to the all-tournament team.
"We were a little rusty. We need to improve our defense. We gave up 10 runs and only two were earned. We had too many errors," Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. "Our offense did a great job of getting on base, but we left 25 on base, including 13 in scoring position."
The Tigers hosted New Prague for a Missota Conference doubleheader Tuesday and are scheduled to be back home for a doubleheader against Holy Angels this afternoon.