Sports: Walks haunt Tigers in sectionFarmington walked 16 batters in its season-opening loss to Shakopee back in mid-April.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington walked 16 batters in its season-opening loss to Shakopee back in mid-April.
The Tigers didn’t approach that number the rest of the spring, but the pitching staff continued to struggle with its control throughout a 4-16 regular season. Nine more free passes in Saturday’s Section 1AAA Tournament opener put Farmington over the century mark for the season and were a big contributer in a season-ending 12-2 loss at Rochester John Marshall.
“We didn’t pitch well,” Farmington coach Mike Winters said. “Nine walks and three strikeouts isn’t going to get it done this late in the year.”
The Rockets (16-5) scored six runs on three hits and four walks to knock starter Jonathan Ellis out of the game after 1/3 of an inning. Zach Wallace came on in relief and allowed two runs on six hits and three walks over the next 3 2/3 innings.
Farmington strung together a pair of hits to get on the board in the top of the third. Quinn Eden moved into scoring position with a double and came home on a Jake Baskerville single to make it 7-1. Zak Payne drove home the second Tiger run with his second home run of the season in the top of the third.
Baskerville finished with two of Farmington’s six hits, giving him a team-leading 24 hits and a team-best .338 average for the season.
“Statistically it was a rough year, but the kids did a good job of showing up every day with a positive attitude,” Winters said.
The Tigers closed out the regular season with their second straight one-run loss last Tuesday in Hastings.
The Raiders took the lead for good by plating three runs in a controversial bottom half of the fifth. Hastings had yet to bring in a run when a deep fly ball sailed toward center fielder Nate Graham. Winters said Graham caught the ball as he hit the fence, but lost it while making the exchange to his throwing hand. The play was ruled a ‘no catch’ and Hastings went on to score three runs on a hit-by-pitch and two infield errors.
“Even though we should have been out of the inning with no runs, we can’t let things pile up like that,” Winters said. “We need to dig deeper and play through stuff like that. It’s baseball – stuff happens that we can’t control.”
The Tigers got all their runs in the first two innings. Baskerville started a three-run first with a single and Sebren Baer moved him to third with a double. Ty Vincent followed with a sacrifice fly and John Stibal and Nick Newman followed with RBI hits.
Vincent hit another sacrifice fly in the second to score Baskerville and make it 4-2.
Ellis pitched all six innings for the Tigers. He walked four and struck out three while allowing two earned runs.