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Softball: Farmington bats cooled off at Chaska

Carly Esselman was 3 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI in last Tuesday’s 13-1 win over Northfield.

After opening the season with three straight lopsided wins, the Farmington softball team came up just short in its first real challenge of the season Monday night.

Chaska built a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and held on for a 3-2 win in a matchup between Missota Conference favorites in Chaska. The Tigers put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the top of the seventh, but Chaska’s centerfielder made a diving catch on Ashley Ibinger’s drive to end the game.

“Although we were down quickly, our girls never quit and pushed across runs in the fourth and seventh. Their centerfielder left her feet to make the catch,” Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. “It was a tough battle, one of many we are expecting this year.”

Going in, the Tigers had outscored their three opponents 34-3. Chaska matched the total of the other three teams with a long three-run home run, but was shut out the rest of the way by pitcher Maddie Muelken.

“She shut the door after that and held us in the game,” Harrington said.

An error and a hit by pitch set up the Tigers’ first run on a double by Ibinger. Another error and a single by Amber Doyle made it a one-run game in the seventh. Doyle finished with two of the team’s five hits.

“Their pitcher threw well and was the hardest thrower we have seen in a game this year,” Harrington said. “Overall, we had too many strikeouts at the plate, and we will need to be better prepared the next time we face them.”

The Tigers took advantage of numerous walks and defensive miscues to hang 13 runs on Northfield in last Tuesday’s 13-1 win in Northfield.

They scored in all five innings and capitalized on five Raider errors. The biggest hit of the game came in the second inning when Emily Berdan hit a grand slam to make it 6-0.

Carly Esselman paced the offense with three hits. She also scored twice and drove in a pair. Ibinger was 2 for 3 with a walk.

Meghan Silber got the start and struck out six to pick up her first win of the season.