Baseball: Farmington advances to section finals
The Farmington baseball team is playing its best ball at the perfect time as they advanced to the Section 1AAAA championship game this past weekend. The Tigers' section run got off to a rough start on May 26 when they (the No. 6 seed) fell at No. 3 New Prague 3-2 and dropped down to the consolation bracket right away. However, from there they got hot as they won four games in three days thanks to the storms and rain that wrecked playoff schedules across the state last week.
The Tigers bounced back by beating Lakeville South 2-0 last Thursday, May 31, and they followed that win up with revenge against New Prague on Friday with a 4-2 win. On Saturday, they played two games, beating Rochester Century 3-1 in eight innings and Owatonna 5-0 to advance to the section championship game against Lakeville North. They played North on Tuesday, June 5, after this article went to print. Farmington will need to beat North twice to advance to the state tournament.
Head coach Jon Graff said his team is playing its best ball right now and put a majority of the credit on their pitching and defense. Pitchers Brady Bean, Zach Jakubowsky and Aydan Lewis have all pitched great in the playoffs, and perhaps more importantly, they are going deep into games, which is critical when playing four games in three days.
Defensively, Graff said that during the regular season his team was averaging a couple errors a game but they are now making plays they were not earlier in the year and it has cut down on those mistakes. That combination of pitching and defense has allowed the Tigers to hold their opponents to just six runs over the course of five games.
On top of that, Farmington has gotten just enough offense to win against what are usually teams' best pitchers. Graff specifically mentioned Brock Mogensen as really hitting well, including three hits in a game this weekend to really lift the team.
Farmington played Lakeville North twice this season, losing 4-2 and 11-3, but Graff said his team has always played the Panthers tough and that will not change when needing to beat them twice to go to state.