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Softball: Tigers fourth at Mankato

Two bad innings left the Farmington softball team fourth out of eight teams over the weekend at the Mankato East tournament.

The Tigers started out strong in their first time returning to Caswell Park since last year’s Class 3A state tournament, defeating Maple River 6-2 in the first round. One swing changed the team’s tournament trajectory in the semifinals when New Ulm clubbed a grand slam in the top of the sixth and held on for a 4-3 victory. In the third-place game, another four-run inning was all host Mankato East needed to get by the Tigers, 4-0.

“Twice we gave up four runs in one inning and in both instances we were not able to overcome it,” Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. “We just need to eliminate those types of innings.… Overall, we played well in the tourney.”

In Friday’s opener, it was the Tigers using a four-run frame to take control. They led Maple River just 1-0 before an RBI single by Carly Esselman and Amber Doyle’s second home run of the season made it 5-0.

Esselman, Emily Berdan (two doubles) and Molly Berdan each supplied two of the Tigers’ nine hits.

“We did a great job at the plate as we did not have any strikeouts in the game,” Harrington said.

Meghan Silber started on the mound and allowed two earned runs while striking out five.

The Tigers took the lead early on a Taylor Yousse walk and an error, and still led 1-0 heading into the top of the sixth. That’s when New Ulm strung together three straight singles to set up the grand slam off starting pitcher Maddie Muelken.

Muelken got two of the runs back with a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh that made it 4-3. A walk to Emily Berdan loaded the bases with nobody out, but a strikeout and a line drive double play extinguished the Tiger rally.

“That ball goes a foot either way and we win the game,” Harrington said. “Again, our girls did not quit. In the bottom of the seventh inning we fought back for two runs and had the tying and go ahead runs on base with nobody out.”

The Tigers managed just four hits in the third-place game against Mankato East.

“"We ran into a very good team with the home field advantage,” Harrington said. “We had multiple-hit innings in the fourth and sixth innings, but were unable to extend our rally. Their pitcher was tough all day long.”

The Tigers (4-3) are hoping the rainy weather goes away so they can travel to Holy Angels for a Missota Conference road game this afternoon.