Prep softball: E/SWC routs Worthington on cold Monday
WORTHINGTON — Players and fans, alike, dressed for the weather Monday afternoon at Centennial Fields in Worthington, with long-sleeved jackets, stocking caps and (although no one checked) thermal underwear.
Some of the fans were covered in blankets. Some of the players on dugout benches were, too.
Monday’s cold weather forced the postponement of most of the area’s high school athletic encounters — but not the varsity girls softball game in Worthington between the Trojans and the visiting Edgerton/Southwest Christian Flying Dutchmen.
Nobody complained that the game only went five innings. That was because of the weather and the fact that E/SWC scored 11 second inning runs and stayed fully in control en route to a 20-1 victory.
Despite the cold, several noteworthy performances were logged — mostly by the Dutchmen, who improved to 2-0 on the season with the one-sided triumph.
Junior pitcher Tianna Top, fresh from a fine girls basketball season where she helped her team get to the brink of a state tournament berth, pitched a four-hitter. Changing speeds well and staying in front of the Worthington hitters, she refused to let her team’s big lead compromise her craft.
She has won both of the Dutchmen’s victories this young season.
The cold didn’t bother her, she said afterward.
“You just do it. Mind over matter,” she explained.
Top began learning the craft of fast-pitch softball pitching in the fourth grade from her father, John, who pitched many years in the men’s fast-pitch circuit. She also practiced with two older brothers.
“They just told me, ‘Don’t throw like a girl. Throw it hard.’ I just spent a lot of time out in the back yard. A good time was had by all,” Top said.
Edgerton/Southwest Christian rapped out 18 hits against three Worthington pitchers Monday. Carly Byrne started for the Trojans but was lifted in the third inning. Paige Kinley pitched a third of an inning and Rebecca Linder pitched the rest of the way.
Two Dutchmen players slugged home runs — for both of them their first varsity home runs ever. Freshman Jenny Nelson homered in the second inning. A couple of frames later, junior Jessica Jasper hit a round-tripper of her own, getting it high in the air and over the leftfield fence.
“I didn’t think I hit it that hard. But I guess I did,” she said after the game.
“She doesn’t get cheated. She swings it hard,” said her head coach Andrew Fleischman.
Nelson and Jasper had two hits apiece for E/SWC. Teammates Top and Tanner Gunnink collected three hits. Hope Veldkamp, Savannah Tinklenberg and Breanna Nelson each had two more.
The game was scoreless after one inning. But the Dutchmen took advantage of wildness on the part of Byrne to get their offense going. Once Byrne found the plate, the Dutchmen pounded out the hits.
Top made sure the Trojans were unable to mount a comeback.
“She throws strikes and she has three or four pitches. She throws hard. And what I like today is that she comes out and she works fast,” said Fleischman.
Worthington head coach Josh Wasmund, whose team fell to 1-3 with the loss, wasn’t sure of what to make of the weather when he considered his team’s disappointing performance. Until Monday, the Trojans had demonstrated a knack for hitting, and they’ll need to find their batting stroke today as they host a very good Southwest Conference opponent, Pipestone Area, in a doubleheader.
“Hopefully this doesn’t hurt us more than it helps us,” Wasmund said. “But Edgerton had a good pitcher. Maybe that’ll help tomorrow.”
Turning his attention squarely on the Arrows, who were 19-3 last season and a perfect 10-0 in the conference, Wasmund remarked, “I hope to play two good ballgames. Put a little scare into them.”
R H E
E/SWC 0 11 6 1 2 — 20 18 2
WHS 0 1 0 0 0 — 1 4 4