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Softball: Tigers slug their way through section

The Farmington softball team carried a late-season offensive surge right into the Section 1AAA tournament.

After scoring 20 runs over two wins that clinched a share of the Missota Conference title, the Tigers opened section play by plating 21 runs in back-to-back victories over seventh-seeded Winona and sixth-seeded Rochester Mayo last week. The second-seeded Tigers then knocked off Hastings, the defending state champions, 4-3 in Tuesday's semifinal at Todd Park to advance to today's championship round. One more win will send the team to the state tournament June 8-9 at Caswell Park in Mankato.

Check out for updates on the Section 1AAA tournament in Austin.

The Tigers continued their season-long trend of falling behind early in Friday's quarterfinal against Mayo. The Spartans got on the board first with two runs in the top of the second, but Farmington took control with nine runs in the bottom of the inning and went on to coast to a 12-2 victory.

"Our continual comebacks show a lot of the character our girls have showed all season," coach Paul Harrington said. "Our offense, defense and pitching looked good today. We need to keep it that way. The section playoffs are a tough grind. We have won two games, but we need to win a few more. We need to stay focused on our next game."

Taylor Yousse started the big second inning by drawing a walk, and eventually capped it off by clearing the bases with a three-run triple and scoring on a wild pitch to make it 9-2. In between, Brooke Searles, Toni Hunsinger and Amber Doyle clubbed RBI singles and Ashley Betzold ripped a two-run double.

Hunsinger added another RBI single in the third inning and finished with three of the Tigers' 12 hits. Betzold, Erin Wurst and Allie Rice each had two hits.

Betzold also picked up her 15th win of the season on the mound, holding the Spartans to two runs on five hits.

Winona, coming off a 10-0 rout of Rochester Century in their first-round game last Wednesday at Tiger Field, got to Betzold for a run on three hits in the top of the first inning of Farmington's tournament opener.

The Tigers responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the frame and Betzold went on to strike out 12 batters in a 9-2 victory.

Eleven Farmington batters came to the plate in the first and six of them - Hunsinger, Betzold, Doyle, Taylor Haakana, Yousse, Wurst and Hailey Monroe - came through with hits. Hunsinger's two-run single opened the scoring and Wurst drove in two more with a two-run triple.

The Tigers finished with 13 hits, with every player in the lineup providing at least one. Betzold, Doyle, Wurst and Rice each ripped a pair of hits.