Prep softball: Pitching, power on display in Worthington
WORTHINGTON — The bottom of the sixth was the time to strike for both Worthington and Luverne Thursday in their Southwest Conference doubleheader.
That’s when the Trojans got two runs to come from behind and take a 5-4 win in the opener before the Cardinals hung a six-spot in the home half of the sixth in the nightcap for an 8-4 victory. It ended a night when both teams put forth a Jekyl and Hyde effort with a split. They combined for just two errors in the opener before each squad had four miscues during game two.
“We got some of the best pitching we have all year,” Worthington coach Josh Wasmund said. “Paige (Kinley) had a great game in the first game and Carly (Byrne) pitched probably the best game she has all year; unfortunately we didn’t score many runs for her and she ran into a tough inning.”
In the opener, Luverne scored a pair of runs in the second and third innings to jump out to a 4-0 lead. The home team got two back in the bottom of the fourth before a solo homer off the bat of Becca Linder in the sixth made it a one-run ballgame.
After scuffling a bit early, Kinley settled into a groove late. She didn’t allow any hits during her final three innings of work en route to the win. Her pitching and solid defensive play kept the Trojans in it until Allie Bruns could come through with her bat.
The sophomore blasted a two-RBI double to left-center to score Brooke Henning and Miranda LeBrun, putting the Trojans on top for good at 5-4.
“We were trailing until that point so our girls did a great job of keeping us in the game,” Wasmund said.
Kinley went seven innings for the win, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out and walking six. Linder went 2-for-2 with two runs, two RBIs and a home run. Bruns was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a pair driven in with LeBrun adding a 2-for-3 performance with one run scored and another pushed across.
Ellen Dahl took the loss for Luverne. She went all six and allowed five earned on nine hits and struck out six. Tara Sudenga was the Cardinals’ leader at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
The nightcap was Ashley Olson’s coming out party. The senior missed the entirety of her junior year after undergoing shoulder surgery and struggled a bit in her earlier outings of 2014.
Thursday, she picked up her first win of the season on the pitching rubber with eight strikeouts and just one earned run. At the plate, all she did was blast a grand slam homer in the bottom of the sixth to put the game to rest.
“Ashley got the win and that was nice to see,” Luverne coach Steve Semmens said. “She’s really a good hitter — one of the best around — so we expect that out of her.”
The Trojans led 3-2 going into the inning before the Cards exploded for six in the bottom of the inning. Worthington got one back on a Kinley double in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough for the comeback.
Erica DeBoer was 2-for-2 at the plate for Luverne and also scored the go-ahead run. Olson went 1-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored. Linder and Henning both had two hits for the Trojans. Byrne took the loss despite allowing only three hits during her five-plus innings.
Worthington (2-6 overall, 2-4 Southwest) will be back at Centennial Park at 4:30 p.m. tonight for a non-conference game against Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove. Luverne (2-4 overall, 1-3 Southwest) is off until May 5 when it travels to Ellsworth for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader against Adrian.
“As I look at this team, coming into the year I thought we’d score a lot more runs,” Semmens said. “As we go along, hopefully our sticks are starting to break out.”
R H E
Worthington 000 212 x — 5 8 1
Luverne 022 000 0 — 4 5 1
R H E
Worthington 100 200 1 — 4 10 4
Luverne 002 006 x — 8 6 4