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Softball: Tigers reel off eight straight

Senior pitcher Ashley Betzold fires a pitch during last Tuesday's sweep of New Prague.

Before the season started, Farmington softball coach Paul Harrington wondered who would pick up the slack for his team offensively with cleanup hitter Allie Rice lost to graduation.

So far, it's been the entire lineup. The Tigers have reeled off eight straight victories, including their first six Missota Conference games, where they averaged 9.7 runs while sweeping Red Wing, Holy Angels and New Prague. Last year the team scored 6.5 runs per game while tying with Shakopee for the conference title.

On Monday, the Tigers clobbered the visiting Wingers 14-4 in Game 1 before completing their latest sweep with a 6-3 victory.

"The girls came out strong and smacked the ball all over the ballfield," Harrington said. "Last year, their lefty gave us a lot of problems and we struggled a bit before we got going. This year we got rolling right away."

Taylor Yousse and Toni Hunsinger each supplied three of the team's season-high 17 hits. Hunsinger added two runs scored and two RBIs, including one on a suicide squeeze bunt during a seven-run third inning that stretched the lead to 9-0.

Carley Esselman added two hits, including a triple and three runs scored, and Amber Doyle, Molly Berdan and Ashley Betzold (3 RBI) each tacked on a pair of hits.

Maddie Muelken started on the mound and struck out six in five innings.

Betzold started Game 2 and struck out 10 while holding the Wingers to four hits in the 6-3 final.

Betzold helped herself with two hits and two RBI and Muelken went 2 for 2 with two runs scored. Yousse also drove in a pair of runs.

The Tigers scored 25 runs in 11 offensive innings in last Thursday's sweep of Holy Angels. The games were moved to Richfield due to snow, but the Tigers looked right at home as they pounded out 24 hits and extended their winning streak to six.

Betzold pitched the opener and held the Stars to one unearned run while striking out 12. She also went 3 for 4 at the plate with a double and a triple.

Muelken added three hits, including a pair of doubles, and Esselman ripped two doubles and drove in three.

Doyle and Hunsinger each tacked on a pair of hits and Yousse reached three times via a hit and two walks.

Betzold tossed a two-hit shutout and fanned seven in a 13-0 shutout in Game 2. Berdan supplied two hits and scored twice and Doyle drove in a run with a double and scored twice, as well.

The Tigers had their closest call of the young season last Tuesday against Red Wing. The Wingers led 2-1 before the Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 3-2 victory.

Esselman started the frame with a single. Betzold followed with a walk and bunts by Kendall Novak and Hunsinger plated a pair of runs.

The bats woke up in Game 2 and the Tigers rolled to a 10-0 victory. Muelken and Jordyn Keprios both cleared the bases with triples and Esselman and Betzold supplied two hits apiece.

The Tigers (8-1) traveled to Northfield Tuesday and are back home for another conference doubleheader this afternoon against Chanhassen.