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Softball: Tigers share Missota crown

Farmington catcher Allie Rice tags out a Chanhassen runner at the plate during last Tuesday's 9-5 win at Tiger Field. The Tigers finished the regular season with a record of 13-4 and won a share of their first conference title since 2007.

It took a pair of come-from-behind victories last week for Farmington to earn a share of its first Missota Conference softball title since 2007.

The Tigers scored six runs in their last at bat to secure a 9-5 win over Chanhassen last Tuesday, and then fell behind 3-0 last Thursday at Red Wing before plating nine runs in the final three innings of an 11-5 win. The team finished the regular season with an overall record of 13-4 and a league mark of 11-3 matched only by co-champion Shakopee.

"The girls worked hard all year and deserve the credit," Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. "But we need to put this behind us for a bit and focus on the section playoffs. A trip to the state tournament is our No. 1 goal."

The second-seeded Tigers hosted the winner of the play-in game between Rochester Century and Winona Wednesday night at Tiger Field. A win would advance them to the Final Four this weekend at Todd Park in Austin.

"We still have a few things we need to clean up before section play," Harrington said. "It is single elimination until we get to the final four teams. We cannot afford to have a bad game early in the playoffs, or our season will be over in a hurry."

The team committed two errors last Thursday at Red Wing, but made up for it by pounding out 12 hits and taking advantage of eight Winger errors.

Red Wing led 3-0 before an error and a bunt single by Rachel Brietich set up a two-run single by Allie Rice in the top of the third. The Tigers took the lead for good on a bases-clearing triple by Moly Berdan in the fifth.

Taylor Hakaana added a two-run single in the sixth and Ashley Betzold drove in a run with a long double in the seventh.

Berdan finished 3 for 4 at the plate with four RBI. Betzold, Rice and Brooke Searles each added two hits.

"We got behind early in the game, and maybe put a little too much pressure on ourselves," Harrington said. "But like so many other games this year, we came back to take the lead and win the game."

Betzold struck out seven in picking up the pitching win.

The Tigers took a 3-0 first-inning lead courtesy of RBI singles by Rice, Taylor Yousse and Erin Wurst in last Tuesday's meeting of conference title contenders, but Chanhassen rallied to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth.

Searles set the stage for another Farmington rally with a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning. Amber Doyle followed with a walk and Betzold and Hakaana followed with RBI singles to tie the game at 5-5. Yousse plated another run with a single and Wurst capped the inning with a single that brought in two more runs.

Rice finished with three of the team's 10 hits. Yousse and Wurst each added two.