Faribault Falcons junior pitcher McKayla Armbruster struck out 10 Rockets in a 4-0 win over Rochester John Marshall Thursday.  After striking out the side in the top of the first with a fastball that had some giddy up and a devastating changeup, Armbruster set the tone for the game.  In the bottom of the first freshman John Marshall hurler Abby Miles fanned the first two batters she faced before Bre Bresnahan hit a ball up the middle and hustling out of the box ended up at second base.  Cassie Swanson clubbed a single and Abby Van Ryn walked to load the bases.  During a marathon Abby Lake at bat there was a wild pitch scoring Bresnahan and that's all the scoring the Falcons would get after filling the bases twice in the inning.  Lake ended up walking following a 10 pitch at bat and after Miles threw 36 pitches the Falcons were up 1-0.

Armbruster faced the minimum number of batters because the only person to get a hit for John Marshall, senior Lexy Anderson, on a blooper to right field with one out, gave way to freshman Mikayla Gee to run for her.  This was in the top of the sixth inning after Faribault had taken a 4-0 lead.  Gee tried to steal second and was thrown out by Abby Van Ryn.  It was not a close call at second base.

Falcon sophomore Abby Lake had a great day at the plate with a walk and two hits including an RBI double and two runs scored.  She was one of our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game along with Armbruster and number nine hitter junior Lauren O'Neil.  Lake led the fourth inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by junior Ellie Knutson.  After a pop out O'Neil hit a solid RBI single scoring Lake giving Faribault a 2-0 lead.  O'Neil added a single to start the sixth

The Falcons added insurance runs in the fifth after two outs when junior Abby Van Ryn doubled and was brought home by a RBI double by Lake.  Knutson placed a bunt that the catcher fielded between home and the pitcher's circle and threw the ball high and wide of first base allowing Lake to score.

Faribault is 7-0 in the Big Nine and John Marshall dropped to 6-3 in the league with three straight losses this week.  The Rockets are 8-4 overall and the Falcons 7-1.

Armbruster was very efficient with 67 total pitches, 55 for strikes, she never had a three ball count on a batter.  The sixth inning opened with an outstanding fielding play by second baseman Lauren O'Neil on a little pop up over Armbruster's head off the bat of sophomore Olivia Evans.  It probably would have been a hit but O'Neil made a great diving catch to keep the perfect game up to that point in place.  Anderson was the next batter and jumped on the first Armbruster delivery for her bloop single ending the perfect game bid.

John Marshall's Miles threw 114 pitches, 71 for strikes, allowing 9 hits.

The first in-season rankings came out Thursday and the Big Nine boasts five teams in the top ten.  Defending State Champion Winona is ranked number one, Faribault #4, Mankato West #5, Mankato East #6 and Northfield #10.

The Falcons host Winona Monday in a huge showdown.  The Winhawks and Mankato West Scarlets each have one conference loss.

Bleachers behind Diamond 4 in Faribault. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld