Owatonna made some key defensive plays early and put together a pair of one-run innings late in topping No. 7 Farmington 2-0 Tuesday at Morehouse Park in Owatonna. The game was a good tuneup for Thursday's upcoming battle against defending 3A champ Faribault.

Farmington loaded the bases in the top of the first Tuesday with no outs on an error and a pair of singles. The next batter bounced the ball back at junior pitcher Kaitlyn Madole who threw to catcher Haylee Mullenbach who fired to first baseman Mikayla Dinse for a 1-2-3 double play. Coach Jeremy Moran said, "Mullenbach made a great play to quickly relay the throw to first to get the second out." Madole fanned the next batter to end the threat.

The Tigers got a lead-off single in the second. After an infield pop-out, a short fly ball to center field was caught basket-style by Lanie Schuster who threw to first base to double up the runner who had strayed too far toward second to end that inning.

Farmington put runners on base in all but one inning, but stranded six of them, five in scoring position. While OHS had a couple of errors, the defense made a series of catches on line drives and pop ups and had solid play all around the infield, which included Parris Hovden at third, Ana LaDuke at short, Anna Vetsch at second and Dinse at first base.

Madole struck out four and issued just one walk. Moran commented, "Kaitlyn also pitched her best game of the year. Her command was excellent tonight and that allowed her to keep the Farmington batters off balance."

The Huskies had a scoring chance in the first inning. Hovden singled sharply up the middle and moved around the bases on a sacrifice and ground out, but was left at third. OHS did not get another base runner until the fifth.

Madole led off that inning with a single to left. The Tigers misplayed Dinse's bunt. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third. Liv Larson grounded out to second to drive in Madole for the 1-0 lead.

OHS added an insurance run in the sixth. Hovden walked, was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a ground out. Patty Biegert worked a long at-bat against sophomore pitcher Madi Lee, fouling off several pitches before lining a single over the first baseman to push Hovden across the plate for a 2-0 lead.

Farmington singled to lead off the seventh. Madole coaxed a pop out from the next batter. The number-nine batter, who had struck out twice, hit the ball back at Madole who got her glove on it, deflecting it to LaDuke at short who flipped to Vetsch for the second out. Madole caught an infield pop up for the final out and the 2-0 win.

"Big win for us tonight. We executed on offense with our bunting...Good team effort again. We just did a bunch of little things very well tonight," Moran added.

Owatonna's match-up with Faribault Thursday will be a KDHL AM 920 broadcast.



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