WORTHINGTON — After having the disappointment of its first two scheduled games being postponed due to unfavorable early-season weather conditions, the Worthington Trojans came out ready to play Thursday afternoon and claimed a well-balanced 11-4 Southwest Conference high school baseball victory over visiting Jackson County Central at the refurbished Middle School Field — which featured game action for the first time since 2012.
Seven Worthington players combined for 10 hits Thursday and the Trojans scored runs in four of the six innings they came to the plate, including a big five-run burst in the bottom of the fifth.
“Winning the first game is always nice,” summed up WHS head coach Stacy Sauerbrei. “I was happy with how we played. We had a lot of guys hit the ball hard, we played great defense most of the game and our base running was really good.”
Junior center fielder Logan Thuringer paced Worthington’s assault at the plate, going 3-for-3, including a hustling double in the fifth. He drove in two runs and scored twice for the Trojans.
“Logan played a good all-around game,” praised Sauerbrei. “He also made several nice catches in center field.”
After Worthington starting pitcher Ryan Lee (three innings, four strikeouts) fanned a JCC batter with the bases-loaded in the top of the first inning, the Trojans scored twice in the bottom half of each of the first two frames and owned a 4-0 lead.
A ground out RBI by Worthington senior catcher Alex Purdy plated Roque Soto with the game’s first run and Lee later scored on a wild pitch, putting the Trojans up 2-0.
A two-run double off the left-center field fence by Nathan Braaksma doubled the advantage in the next inning and then after two scoreless innings, the Trojans stretched the spread to 9-1 by crossing the plate five times in the fifth.
After Purdy reached base (hit by a pitch) and stole both second and third, he scored on an RBI single by Wietzema (2-for-3, three RBI). Wietzema scored on a JCC throwing error and then both Joe Pavelko and Nathan Russell (pinch-running for Carsen Hagen) crossed the plate on a two-run double off the bat of Blake Fauske, which bounced off the left-field fence.
“That was a nice at-bat by Blake,” declared Sauerbrei. “He played a nice all-around game.”
Fauske reached base three times, getting hit by a pitch twice.
Later, Thuringer scored on another throwing error by the Huskies.
Worthington’s last two runs came in the sixth on a booming two-run double by Wietzema, plating both Lee and Purdy (three steals).
JCC utilized four pitchers in the game —Freeman Scott, Nick Arp, Shadrach Wacker and Andrew Hesse —and had several opportunities to score more runs, stranding 10 runners on base.
The Huskies (0-2) scored once in the top of the third, twice in the sixth (two-run single by Hesse) and crossed the plate again in the seventh. Jordan Biehn had a pair of hits for JCC, while Arp, Mitchell Macek and Scott Christopher (two steals) also had singles for the Huskies.
Soto pitched three innings for the Trojans, walking only one batter before Hagen came on and twirled the seventh.
Worthington hosts Windom today in a doubleheader, while the Huskies play a twinbill at Pipestone Saturday.
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