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Baseball: Tigers stay alive in 1AAAA

Last spring the Farmington baseball team posted a 12-8 regular season record only to quickly get swept out of the section tournament in two games.

This year’s squad seems to have learned its lesson and saved some wins in the tank. The Tigers finished the regular season with a 3-17 record, but picked up a pair of Section 1AAAA tournament victories this week and still have a shot at more with another consolation bracket game coming up Saturday morning in Dundas.

Both section wins came in dramatic fashion. After being blanked 2-0 by top-seeded Lakeville North in the first round Saturday, the Tigers came back to win a pair of one-run games Monday, 7-6 over New Prague and 4-3 against Rochester Mayo. They scored the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth against the Trojans and the top of the seventh against the Spartans.

Against New Prague, the Tigers led 3-0, trailed 4-3, took the lead back 5-4 in the top of the seventh and then allowed the tying run again, all before the game went into extra innings. It was 5-5 after 7 and 6-6 after eight before Adam Weed singled, stole second and scored on Michael Nezerka’s single in the top of the ninth. Relief pitcher Reed Collins let two runners reach in the bottom of the ninth before getting the final out.

“It was a crazy game as both teams tried giving it away. But, we stayed with it long enough to pull it out in the end. I have to hand it to our guys, we surrendered the lead numerous times, but they stay with it and battle and eventually pulled it out,” Farmington coach Jon Graff said. “We had nine different guys get hits as our bats really came alive all day long....This win kind of got the momentum going for us and we carried it over into Game 2.”

Sam Wilson, Dylan Bergstad, Collins, Christian Groves and Mason Spencer each came up with two of the Tigers’ 14 hits.

Starter Mitch Fox held New Prague to two runs over the first five innings.

Nick Bauer started the next game against Mayo and left after five innings of a tie game having allowed three unearned runs. Justin King followed with two innings of scoreless relief and was made a winner when the Tigers manufactured a run in the top of the seventh.

Wilson started the decisive frame by reaching on an error. He moved into scoring position on Landon Lancaster’s sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on Bergstad’s single.

Bergstad finished 3 for 4 at the plate. Wilson and Lancaster each had a pair of hits and Collins drove in two runs.

The Tigers were shut out by Lakeville North for the third time this season, 2-0, in Saturday’s Section 1AAAA tournament opener in Lakeville. King kept the score close with a complete-game effort, holding the Panthers to two runs on five hits while fanning five.

North broke a scoreless tie with one run in the fifth, and then added an insurance run after the game went into a 2 1/2-hour rain delay.

“We knew going in that this would be a low scoring, tough fought game. Both pitchers were really dealing and limiting the scoring chances,” Graff said. “We got a great pitching performance from King and our defense played really strong behind him. We just didn’t get many chances to score. It’s crazy how tough the pitching has been this year as it seems every team has at least one DI-caliber pitcher that we’ve faced.”