Baseball: Tigers forge split at HutchinsonThe Farmington baseball team allowed a total of 27 runs in the three Missota Conference games it lost last week. Senior starting pitcher Eric Estes helped reverse that trend, if only for a game, by limiting Hutchinson to one run on four hits over seven innings in a 2-1 road victory Monday afternoon at Veteran's Memorial Field in Hutchinson.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
The Farmington baseball team allowed a total of 27 runs in the three Missota Conference games it lost last week. Senior starting pitcher Eric Estes helped reverse that trend, if only for a game, by limiting Hutchinson to one run on four hits over seven innings in a 2-1 road victory Monday afternoon at Veteran's Memorial Field in Hutchinson.
Hutchinson avoided the sweep by taking the second game of the doubleheader, 10-5. The loss dropped Farmington to 3-9 overall and 2-8 in the league.
The Tigers hosted Prior Lake Wednesday afternoon and they play again today when they hit the road south to take on New Prague in a Missota Conference contest beginning at 4:15 p.m. Mike Winters' squad will continue its busy slate of games this weekend with an appearance at the Apple Valley Woodbat Tournament. Winters said avoiding the defensive mistakes they made in Monday’s second game is the key to getting some more wins on the board.
“We’ve been putting the ball in play and getting hits lately. Offensively, we’ve been fine,” Winters said. “If we can eliminate crucial errors and get good pitching here and there, we should be competitive and get a couple wins.”
Estes supplied his own offense in helping the Tigers snap their four-game losing streak, belting a two-run double in the top of the seventh that broke a scoreless tie and set up the 2-1 victory.
On the mound, Estes allowed three runs or fewer for the sixth straight outing and picked up his third victory. He worked around four hits, two walks and two hit by pitches to record his second complete game of the season.
"He actually hadn't had a lot of opportunities at the plate," Winters said. "We got him in in the Shakopee game and he put the ball in play hard twice, so we decided to let him pitch and bat and it worked out for us. He'll probably be seeing a few more at bats the next couple weeks."
Farmington managed just six hits of its own, but Curry Levenhagen (double) and Lucas Jones (single) both came around to score on Estes' hit in the top of the seventh. Caleb Schmitt, Justin Lavey and Danny Tutewohl each added singles.
The Tigers followed up an errorless first game with a four-error showing in Game 2 that led to four unearned runs in a 10-5 setback.
Hutchinson got its leadoff man on base in five of seven innings, then kept the pressure on the Farmington defense by ripping 10 hits and stealing seven bases. Winters said catcher Blake Berg wasn't given much of a chance to slow down the Hutch running game.
"They were getting good jumps. The pitchers didn't do a very good job of keeping the guys close," he said. "They were reading our pitchers and we weren't slowing them down."
Farmington trailed 5-0 by the time Tyler Stephens drove home Schmitt with a single, his first hit of the season. Schmitt, the team's leading hitter at .469, led off the frame with a double.
Two innings later, the Tigers pushed across three runs to close the gap to 6-4. Levenhagen led off the frame with the team's first home run of the season, a shot over the left field wall, and Schmitt walked and scored on a triple by Tutewohl. Leadoff hitter Lucas Jones capped the inning with an RBI single.
Levenhagen relieved starter Jake Sand with a scoreless fifth, but surrendered one run in the sixth and four more (two earned) in the seventh. Both pitchers gave up five runs and had to work through a four-run inning prolonged by defensive miscues.
"Fortunately or unfortunately, we're at two errors a game," Winters said. "We don't want to bunch them up like that. It's not helpful."