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Softball: Two up, two down for Tigers

Farmington shortstop Taylor Yousse tags a Totino-Grace runner trying to advance to second base during last Wednesday’s 11-1 win at Tiger Field. The runner was called safe on the play.

Farmington looked every bit like a team coming off back-to-back state tournament appearances while easily disposing of a pair of opponents to start the spring season.

The Tigers used two early four-run innings to put away Totino-Grace, 11-1, in a five-inning season opener last Wednesday at Tiger Field. Holy Angels came to town two days later for a final Missota Conference opener and the Tigers used two more four-run outbursts to knock off the Stars, 10-1.

Five Holy Angels fielding errors contributed to the lopsided final on Friday. The Tigers, meanwhile, played errorless defense and got a couple of nice defensive plays in center field from Carly Esselman.

“Pitching and defense win games. We both had the pitching, but our defense stepped up and did not give them anything, while the Holy Angels defense committed five errors and contributed to many of our runs,” Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. “In addition, our pitchers did not allow any walks, which always takes pressure off the defense.”

Maddie Muelken pitched the first six innings and held the Stars to one run while striking out four. Meghan Silber came in to pitch the final inning for the second straight game and fanned a pair of batters, giving her five strikeouts in two innings of work.

Holy Angels led 1-0 until the bottom of the third when Caitie Dully singled and scored on a two-out error. An inning later, Muelken and Ashley Ibinger singled and scored on a two-out error to give the Tigers the lead. Esselman and Taylor Yousse added singles to push the score to 5-1.

In the fifth, two more errors set the table for RBI singles by Molly Berdan and Dully, making it 9-1. Savannah Greaves added an RBI single in the sixth.

Dully and Esselman each finished with two of the team’s 10 hits.

In the opener, the Tigers didn’t need any help from the defense. They mashed 10 hits and pushed across 11 runs in just four offensive innings to end the game by the 10-run rule.

“It was a big first win for us,” said Harrington, who was coaching against his former team for the first time. “Nobody ever wants to lose the opener.”

The Tigers took control early with four two-out runs in the first. Singles by Amber Doyle and Muelken, and a walk to Emily Berdan loaded the bases, and Ibinger followed with a two-run single. Two more runs came home on Molly Berdan’s triple.

The top of the lineup was back up in the second and Esselman started things with a single. Doyle followed with her first home run of the season to make it 6-0.

Doyle added an RBI double and Yousse and Jordyn Keprios drove in runs during a four-run third and Molly Berdan doubled and scored in the fourth to make it 11-1.

Muelken struck out seven batters in four innings to pick up the win.

The Tigers traveled to Northfield on Tuesday, hosted New Prague on Wednesday and are back home this afternoon against Chanhassen.