The last two weeks, the Farmington Tigers softball team has hardly had time to breathe. Playing 10 games in 14 games (four two weeks ago and six last week), you could hardly complain if the Tigers had stumbled even slightly over that stretch. But they barely even blinked. Head coach Paul Harrington's squad took the rigorous test in stride and won four-out-of-six games this past week (four of which came against teams just behind them in the South Suburban Conference standings) after winning three-of-four the week before. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that this has been done almost exclusively on the arm of senior pitcher Becca Silber. Silber has pitched all but one game for Farmington.
Last Monday the Tigers hosted a doubleheader against Shakopee, which they split. Game one was close with Farmington winning 2-1 and all three total runs were scored in the sixth inning. Both of the Tigers' runs came on a two-run home run by senior Emma Frost after junior Olivia Hazelbaker singled. Silber limited the Sabres to just six hits over the seven innings. In game two, Farmington struck first but then the Shakopee bats got going for almost the entire game and the Tigers lost 10-4.
""We scored two runs right away in the first inning and had runners on second and third with nobody out, but could not get the key hit to knock them in," Harrington said about the start of game two. "After winning the first game, had we scored those other two runs, I think we could have gone on to win. But they closed the door on our first inning rally and came back with a run their next at bats. That got their momentum going their way and we couldn't stop it."
Shakopee scored on in the second, four in the third, one in the fifth and fourth and the sixth for their 10 runs. The two first-inning runs for Farmington came on RBI-singles by Frost and sophomore Katelyn Mohr to score Hazelbaker and junior Taylor Jasper. They scored two more in the fourth on a two-RBI single by Hazelbaker.
Farmington rebounded from their loss to Shakopee with an 8-6 win over Eagan on May 8. Senior Tarah DeCroock had an two-RBI double in the the first as the Tigers led 2-1 after the first inning. Three more runs in the second via a two-run home run by Hazelbaker and an RBI double by Frost put them up 5-1. Both teams scored a run in the third to make it 6-2 (Farmington's coming from Silber with an RBI single). The Tigers added two more runs for good measure in the fifth on another two-run home run, this time from junior Kaitlyn Abraham.
Harrington credited his team's win with timely hitting, which he said accounted for a majority of the team's runs and was the difference in the game. He also said it was the first time the Tigers have beat the Wildcats since moving to the SSC.
Farmington and Lakeville North played each other on back-to-back days and both games were decided by just a run, one of which went to extra innings. In game one, the Panthers snuck out a 4-3 win after scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh and did most of their damage in the game off of three solo home runs. The Tigers scored all three of their runs and batted around in the fifth with an RBI-double by Hazelbaker, sophomore Molly Mogensen scored on a fielder's choice, and then another RBI-double by Hazelbaker.
Game two was very similar with Farmington winning 5-4 in extra innings. The Tigers scored one run in the first on an RBI-double by Frost and then in the fourth junior Elly Rust scored on a wild pitch. Trailing 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh, Farmington extended the game with an RBI-double by DeCroock. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Mohr hit the walk-off single that scored Hazelbaker and gave them the win.
The Tigers ended the week with a 15-5 blowout win in 4 ½ innings at Owatonna. Farmington scored three runs in the bottom of the first, six in the second and six in the fourth. Hazelbaker and DeCroock each went 3-for-4 and combined for six RBI, while Silber got her ninth win of the season as well as going 2-for-3 at the plate.
"It was a great ending to a very grinding week, as we played six games in five days," Harrington said. "We won four of them, so not too bad against some very tough opponents. Things don't get any easier as we have seven games next week."