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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A lot of good came from last Thursday's doubleheader against Shakopee, even if Farmington didn't get the sweep it needed to share the Missota Conference title with the Sabers for the second straight year. The Tigers saw a late lead slip away in a 3-2 loss to the sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Sabers in Game 1, but battled back to salvage a split and end Shakopee's 14-game winning streak with a 1-0 shutout victory in Game 2. Starting pitcher Ashley Betzold took the mound for the second time on a warm afternoon and held the 17-1 Sabers to two hits while striking out three.
The way head coach Paul Sorensen sees it, his Farmington boys lacrosse team could easily be 7-0. All four of the Tigers' losses have come by one goal, including both of last week's setbacks. Holy Angels Avenged a one-goal loss a week earlier with an 8-7 triumph over the Tigers last Tuesday at Tiger Stadium, and Hastings defended its home field with a 7-6 win Friday night. "Both games were there for the taking, but we just came up short both times," Sorensen said. "Attention to detail in close ball games relies on focus on the small things.
The Farmington boys tennis team closed out a hectic week by finally putting a Missota Conference match in the win column Friday afternoon. In their fifth match in five days, the Tigers swept four singles matches and closed out a 1-6 season in the league with a 5-2 win over New Prague at the Boeckman Middle School courts. The top three singles players all won in straight sets. Bennett Lagro held on 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles and Jake Bauer and Ivan Rodriguez each cruised 6-1, 6-0. Bauer closed out the regular season with the Tigers' best individual record at 5-7. At No.
Chanhassen was able to silence Farmington's bats last Thursday, but it didn't take long for the Tigers to get back to making plenty of noise at the plate. After being swept 2-1 and 3-2 for their first two Missota Conference losses of the year, the team bounced back by edging Rochester Century 6-5 on Friday. The Tigers hit their stride at the plate Monday when they piled up 18 runs in four innings in an 18-0 shutout of Rochester Mayo.
The Farmington boys and girls lacrosse teams have both had problems getting out to fast starts this season. Early deficits cost the boys team in both of its losses last week. The Farmington girls also faced multiple-goal deficits in its last two games, but were able to rally and pick up a Missota Conference win last Tuesday against Holy Angels in Richfield. The Tigers trailed the Stars 6-2 after a sluggish first half, but after talking things over with coach Dan Pickens, reeled off four unanswered goals to tie the score within the first two minutes of the second half.
The Farmington boys track team made huge strides at this year's Section 1AAA True Team meet. Sixth out of nine teams a year ago when they scored 584 points, the Tigers placed second with 828 points last Tuesday at Lakeville North. Owatonna won the nine-team meet with 882 1/2 points. Justin Hyytinen and Tyler Lerbakken were both triple winners for the Tigers. Hyytinen swept the distance races, winning the 1,600 in 4:28 and the 3,200 in a personal-best 9:52 before joining Lerbakken, Tommy Weigel and Tanner Grubb in the first-place 4x400 relay (3:32).
Allowing 13 runs and committing four errors in a loss to Holy Angels two weeks ago must have left a bad taste in the mouth of the Farmington baseball team. Since then, the Tigers have allowed just 11 runs and committed six errors over a span of five games. They won just three of those five contests, but the improved defense and more reliable starting pitching have been pleasant sights and provided reasons to be hopeful for the future for head coach Mike Winters. "The key to these games has been pitching. We used four pitchers in our four conference games last week," he said.
The Farmington boys golf team was already in a tricky position this year with a very young lineup. Throw in weather-related delays that meant the team didn't play its first meet until April 30 and it was hard to know how things would go. Turns out, not too bad. The Tiger boys finished fifth in their first Missota Conference competition of the season. The Tigers scored scored 336 in the meet at Creeks Bend in New Prague. Chanhassen won the meet with a 287, New Prague was second with a 314, Shakopee was third with 315 and Chaska was fourth with 327.
Farmington survived a scare to pick up its first-ever lacrosse win over Holy Angels last Tuesday at McMurray Field in St. Paul. The Tigers stormed to a commanding 10-2 lead before the Stars rallied with eight unanswered goals to tie the score and force overtime. In the extra session, Jake Bauman scored his third goal of the game to lift the Tigers to a 3-2 victory. Brendan Berg and Chris Fitzgibbons each added two goals for the winners.
The Farmington girls lacrosse team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and finally picked up its first win of the season 9-4 over Park of Cottage Grove last Thursday at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers entered the game having lost four straight to start the season, including their last three by a combined four goals. "It was well-deserved for the girls.... We truly looked like a team out there, especially in the first half," Farmington coach Dan Pickens said. "Park, like us, graduated much of their scoring last year and has been struggling to find it.