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Softball: Farmington fends off Red Wing for sweep

Red Wing shortstop Hailey Kuhl reaches out, but is unable to catch a bloop single during Game 1 of Wednesday's Missota Conference doubleheader with Farmington in Red Wing. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Red Wing's Hannah Walch takes a swing at a pitch during Game 1 Wednesday against Farmington at Red Wing. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 3
Red Wing right fielder Maria Furlong makes a throw back to the infield following a Farmington base hit during Game 1 of Wednesday's Missota Conference doubleheader. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 3

Red Wing is showing that it can play with some of the top teams in the Missota Conference. Now, it’s just a matter of proving that they can beat the top teams.

Matched up with two-time defending Section 1AAA champions Farmington for a doubleheader on Wednesday, the Wingers showed some fight before the Tigers’ superior firepower took over on the way to a sweep. Farmington secured a 10-3 Game 1 victory before clinching the twin bill with a 5-3 win in Game 2.

“They’re a good hitting team,” said Red Wing head softball coach Jon Bohmbach. “We showed that we can play with them, but we have to be consistent to play with them.”

That ability at the plate showed up early for the Tigers as they opened the doubleheader with a four-run first inning, led by a two-run home run by Amber Doyle. Farmington tacked on another run in the top of the second before Red Wing got on the board in the bottom half when Mary Bender scored on a fielding error.

The Wingers had three consecutive singles in the bottom of the third, capped off by an RBI base hit from McKenzie Cota. But with Red Wing getting closer, Farmington put the game out of reach in the fifth after an RBI double by Jordyn Keprios and a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Yousee. The Wingers’ final run in Game 1 came across in the fifth inning on another RBI single by Cota.

“The first game, we got behind. And in the middle innings, we were right there with them and then we let it get away from us,” Bohmbach said.

Batting first in Game 2, Red Wing took a quick 1-0 lead after Hailey Kuhl came home on an single by Emily Boxrud, who finished the doubleheader 5-for-7 in the batter’s box. She was also the starting pitcher in both games.

“She got stronger as the two games went on,” Bohmbach said of Boxrud.

Farmington remained unphased by the Wingers’ early edge as they put up two runs in the bottom of the first. They went on to make it a 5-1 game with one run in the second and a pair of runs from Maddie Muelken and Ashley Ibinger in the third.

Needing to make a run, the Wingers’ defense and pitching did its job by putting together three straight 1-2-3 innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

Red Wing had a prime opportunity to cut into Farmington’s lead in the fourth with a pair of runners in scoring position. But the Tigers kept the Wingers at bay and got out of the inning unscathed.

In the fifth, Kuhl got to show off her power for the second straight day with a two-run homer that brought in Molly Goranson. Kuhl finished the twin bill with three hits, two runs and two RBI.

The home run would be the last base hit that Red Wing would get for the rest of the game.

“This last game was so crazy. It was a game of inches,” Bohmbach said. “There was a strike that maybe could have gone our way, there was a ball right down over the base, there were calls that could have gone either way. That’s the game of inches in this game. … You just gotta keep plugging away and we’ll get those things to go our way.”

Completing one of their toughest conference stretches of the season, the Wingers (5-6, 1-6 Missota) are on the road Friday at Bloomington Kennedy.

“(Farmington’s) a team that’s going to play for a section title, and Chanhassen’s a team that’s probably going to win the conference title,” Bohmbach said. “It’s tough to schedule them back to back, but that’s how it is in this conference. … We just want to keep getting better and show how much we’re improving.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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