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Softball: Tigers keep pace in Missota

Third-place Farmington kept pace with the leaders in the Missota Conference softball standings with a pair of league wins last week.

The Tigers put on a good show for the nearly 100 local youth players in attendance with a 3-1 victory over New Prague on last Tuesday's Farmington Girls Fastpitch Association Youth Night, then improved their record to 6-3 overall after slugging their way to a 10-8 win Thursday at Hutchinson.

"The team is playing very good ball," first-year head coach Rob Laden said. "The best part of the week was our FYFA Youth Night ... seeing all those young players, future Farmington High School players, at the game enjoying themselves. I think the varsity players enjoyed playing the game in front of all those young players as much as the young girls enjoyed watching. It was a great night for Farmington fastpitch."

Pitching in front of a total crowd of over 300, Farmington pitcher Ashley Betzold never lost her focus. She held the Trojans scoreless over the first six innings before allowing a single run in the top of the seventh. Betzold struck out six and walked just one in picking up her fifth win.

The Tigers did all their scoring early with single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Catcher Danny Muelken was 2 for 2 with two RBI, Megan Nekowitsch went 2 for 3 and scored twice and Sam Jensen reached base three times with a single, a walk and a hit by pitch.

The offense erupted for 12 hits -- including a pair of home runs -- in Thursday's road win at Hutchinson.

Kelsey Betzold went 3 for 4 with five RBI. Her home run highlighted a six-run top half of the fourth inning that gave Farmington an 8-4 advantage. Hutchinson came back to tie the score at 8-8, but Farmington scored single runs in the top of the sixth and seventh to hold on.

Nekowitsch also ripped three hits, including a home run and a double, and scored three runs.

Ashley Betzold and Shannon Doherty each tacked on two hits.

Ashley Betzold got the win, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits while fanning five over seven innings.

The Tigers hosted Red Wing on Tuesday and are back in action tonight against ninth-ranked (Class 3A) Shakopee, the team that is one game ahead of them in the second spot in the league standings. Prior Lake stands alone in first at 8-0.