Farmington's Kyle Hrncir (30) and Carter Hendrickson (4) celebrated after scoring back-to-back on a hit in the third inning against Park of Cottage Grove on Friday at Target Field. Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER * firstname.lastname@example.org
After two games winning with pitching and defense, Farmington unleashed its bats in the Class 4A championship game, scoring in each of the first five innings to outslug, and then hold off, Park of Cottage 12-10.
Farmington had scored just four runs combined in two state tournament games before Friday, but the Tigers hitters came out swinging at Target Field.
“You could tell before the game, something was brewing and the bats were going to get going,” Tigers starting pitcher Kyle Hrncir said.
Farmington’s scoring surge came with 16 hits while Park had 15 hits.
The Wolfpack trailed 12-6 going into the seventh but put pressure on the Tigers with four runs and getting the tying run on base.
“I was still confident in my pitcher that he was going to get out of it,” said Farmington senior Alex Berreth, who went 3-for-3, scored three runs and drove in two. “This feels amazing.”
The Tigers didn’t waste time getting their offense going. They combined three hits and two walks to score three times in the first inning for an early 3-0 lead.
Park starter Connor Mestemacher’s control issues helped Farmington build a 6-2 in the second, buoyed by a three-run double by Ethan Coyer. The inning had been delayed for several minutes to care for an injured umpire.
When play resumed Park, which has been nothing if not resilient, bounced back immediately. The Wolfpack rallied in top of the third to tie the game 6-6, using five hits, a walk and an error.
After two games winning with pitching and defense, Farmington unleashed its bats in the the Class 4A championship game Friday, scoring in each of the first five innings to outslug Park of Cottage 12-10.
The Wolfpack trailed 12-6 going into the seventh, but put pressure on the Tigers with four runs and getting the tying run on base.
Farmington finished with 12 runs and 16 hits while Park had 10 runs and 15 hits.
Farmington benefited from early-game wildness by Park starting pitcher Conor Mestemacher. The senior, who had not thrown a pitch in the tournament before getting the starting nod, needed 37 pitches to get through first inning.
The Tigers combined three hits and two walks to score three times for an early 3-0 lead.
The game, which started 30 minutes later than scheduled because the Class 3A game ran long, was delayed for about 25 minutes in the top of the second inning. Home plate umpire Justin Overcash injured himself when he slipped on the grass while running down the third base line in anticipation of a close play.
The delay briefly worked in Park’s favor. When the game resumed, a two-out, two-run throwing error by the Farmington shortstop allowed the Wolfpack to cut the deficit to 3-2.
But Mestemacher's control problems continued in the second. He gave up three hits and a walk, including a three-run double by Ethan Coyer, giving the Tigers a 6-2 advantage. Mestemacher was replaced by junior Sam Janski.
With just two innings completed, Farmington had already scored more runs than it had in two previous games combined.
But Park has been nothing in the postseason if not resilient.
The Wolfpack rallied in top of the third. Five hits, a walk and an error and some good fortune off of Farmington starter Kyle Hrncir results in four runs to even the score at 6-6. Hrncir had allowed six runs but none was earned.
Farmington called that resiliency and raised the stakes in the bottom of the third. The Tigers scored four more runs – two on a long ground-rule double by Gavin Meihofer – to retake a four-run lead at 10-6.
The Tigers added a run in the fourth and another in the fifth on Coyers’ fifth RBI of the game, bumping the score to 12-6. Those final runs would prove valuable.
In the meantime, Farmington pitchers had settled in, holding the Wolfpack scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.