Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
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Last year's team went 8-7-2, the best record in program history. What was the biggest difference for that team that allowed it to have so much success? Last year's team had all the elements in place to be competitive. The senior class, although only eight members strong, was very talented and led the team. The juniors, sophomores and freshmen supporting the seniors were skillful players who kept up with the pace and flow of the game. We didn't really have any "weak links" and as a result, we ended up with a winning record.
The Farmington VFW baseball team wrapped up its regular season schedule by coming out on both sides of a pair of lopsided games in the last week. Post 7662 batted around three times and pounded out 15 hits in a 17-2 rout of Holy Angels last Tuesday in Richfield. After a five-day layoff, the team returned to action for its regular season finale Monday and got dealt an 10-0 loss by Burnsville at Alimagnet Park. "We did a good job of throwing strikes, putting the ball in play and making the routine plays against Holy Angels.
Farmington received a tough draw in its first appearance at the 84-team Gopher Classic. Post 189 was assigned to Site 4, where they went up against Bloomington Gold, De Pere (Wis.), Calgary (Canada), Coon Rapids and Bemidji in a span of three days at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington. The team opened with a 12-0 rout of Bloomington Gold before dropping its next four games -- while scoring three total runs -- and bowing out of the country's largest Legion baseball tournament. "We really felt we had one of the toughest brackets of the 14," Farmington coach Andy Pierskalla said.
Last year's team finished 8-8-1 with several close losses. In what areas does the team need to improve the most to get over the top and become an elite team? Well, you said it yourself: we lost a lot of close games. Of the eight losses, six were by one goal and a seventh was in OT to the, at the time, No. 2 team in the state. That was with a lineup dominated by underclassmen. We have to learn to win those games, and I truly believe that by the end of the season we had learned what it took to get to that level.
Farmington graduates Carson and Tyler Jones are both back with the Dundas Dukes amateur baseball team this summer. Carson is hitting .318 with a team-leading 20 runs scored, six doubles and nine RBI in 21 games, while Tyler is hitting .211 with six runs and six RBI in 16 contests. The Dukes are 18-8 overall and 6-3 in Cannon Valley League play.
Several members of the Farmington softball team played in summer leagues last year. The extra work paid off as the Tigers went 17-6 this spring, won a share of the Missota Conference and qualified for state for the first time in nine years. Nine players from the state team are back on the diamond this summer: Allie Rice (The Rookies), Ashley Betzold (Minnesota Stars), Toni Hunsinger (Arctic Blast), Jordyn Keprios (Ice), McKenzie Nelson (Minnesota Synergy), Molly Berdan (Minnesota Synergy), Taylor Yousse (Invasion), Amber Doyle (Thunderboltz) and Hailey Monroe (Minnesota Irish).
A 4-3 eight-inning loss to Eastview was the only blemish on a 5-1 week for the Farmington VFW baseball team. Post 7662 bounced back from the opening-round loss to Eastview at the Eagan tournament, defeating Holy Angels, Minneapolis Southwest and host Eagan to win the consolation championship. Eastview went on to place third in the 10-team tournament, which was won by Minnetonka. "It was a good tournament. I wish the first game could have gone the other way and kept us in the upper bracket," Farmington coach Mike Winters said.
An inexperienced pitching staff made it difficult for the Farmington Senior Babe Ruth baseball team to slow down Woodbury during last week's Green Division district tournament. Farmington was missing its top two pitchers as it lost to Woodbury 10-6 and 14-4, ending its season with a record of 2-10. Eastview later routed Woodbury 14-0 to earn a bid to this week's state tournament in Eagan. "Our best pitcher was out and our next guy was gone. That left us short-handed and we ended up throwing guys who hadn't pitched a whole lot.
The Farmington Legion Post 189 baseball team was flying high after Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Faribault. Coming off a second-place finish at the Grand Rapids Tournament, Post 189 got a complete-game effort from pitcher Drew Hegseth as it improved to 7-4 on the season. Then the combination of 90-degree temperatures and Northfield's hot bats joined forces in bringing the team back down to earth. A couple of Farmington players battled heat exhaustion in a 15-5 home loss to Northfield last Wednesday.
After 11 years of attending the University of South Dakota football camp in Vermillion, the Farmington football team gave another camp a try this year. Sixty-four Tiger players traveled just up the road to Sioux Falls last Sunday where they spent three days participating in practices and scrimmages at the Legends/Celebrity Football Camp at Augustana College.