The Farmington Tigers softball team is state bound once again after defeating No. 4-seeded New Prague 5-0 on Thursday, May 30, at Todd Park in Austin, Minn. The Tigers return to the state tournament for the second time in three years after they won the Class AAAA state championship in dramatic fashion in 2017. Farmington was one game away from state last summer before falling to Lakeville North in the section championship.
Farmington went a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs over the last two weeks after having their opening-round game postponed twice due to last week's rain and then field conditions. They ended up playing all four games in Austin. The Tigers beat Rochester Mayo 12-0 and Rochester John Marshall 5-2 in a doubleheader on Thursday, May 23, and then beat New Prague in the semifinals 2-1 on Tuesday, May 28. The Trojans then played their way through the consolation bracket to force a second game with Farmington and the Tigers took care of business 5-0.
The first meeting between the two teams came on May 28 in the section semifinals and the game went into extra innings tied 1-1. After hits by junior Molly Mogensen and senior Elly Rust, senior Abbie Clayton came through with the game winning hit for the 2-1 win. The second game between the Tigers and Trojans was not nearly so close.
The championship game was scoreless through the first three innings with senior Rebecca Hoeve in the circle for the Tigers despite both teams having a couple of chances to score. New Prague left runners on in both the first and second innings while Farmington left two runners on in the first. The Tigers struck first in the bottom of the fourth after junior Katelyn Mohr walked, stole second and after two outs, Clayton came through clutch again with an RBI single that brought home Mohr and gave Farmington led 1-0.
In the top of the fifth, New Prague threatened with runners on second and third but one again the Tigers and Hoeve were able to escape with no damage. Farmington then blew the game wide open with a four-run bottom of the fifth. A pinch-hit single by junior Morgan Ebel was followed by a one-out hit by senior Olivia Hazelbaker. Senior Taylor Jasper then reached on a fielder's choice that scored Ebel on some defensive miscommunication by the Trojans. From there, Mohr had an RBI single, Mogensen a sacrifice fly ball that scored Jasper and Rust brought home Mohr with another single. Farmington led 5-0 after five innings.
From there, Farmington shut down New Prague outside of two walks and held on to win 5-0. Hoeve notched another win and pitched all seven innings, allowing no runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Five different Tigers had hits in the game-Hazelbaker, Mohr, Rust, Clayton and Ebel-while Jasper, Mohr, mogensen, Rust and Clayton each had an RBI.
The 2019 Class AAAA state tournament will be held Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7, at Caswell Park in Mankato. The top five teams are seeded with the top three seeds facing the unseeded teams and No. 4 and No. 5 playing each other. It is a double-elimination tournament and each team will play two games no matter what on June 6. In 2017, the Tigers beat Park 13-2 in the opening round, Chanhassen 2-0 in the semifinals and then Anoka in the state championship game 1-0.