Section baseball: Trojans in an optimistic mood
WORTHINGTON — Worthington baseball coach Stacy Sauerbrei said his team is feeling good entering its Section 3AA South opener against New Ulm today (May 24).
The Trojans enter the playoffs at 6-9 after snapping an eight-game losing streak with a pair of wins against Redwood Valley on Monday. That mark put them as the No. 7 seed in the sub-section, setting up a rematch against second-seeded New Ulm, a team that finished 16-3 during the regular season and took an 11-0, six-inning win against Worthington when the two teams met on April 25.
“We don’t have anything to lose,” Sauerbrei said. “I know our guys will come out and give their best effort. In baseball, more than in any other game, a lower seed can win. You might get a great pitching effort or start hitting the ball really well or something like that and a lower seed can pull off the upset. It’s not like in other sports like football or basketball where you can basically just get out-talented. I think we have talent, so the gap between us might not be as big as the records might indicate.”
Last time the two teams met, things stayed tight for the first two innings before the Eagle bats exploded for five runs in the top of the third. It was 6-0 going into the sixth before another five-spot brought the game to a run-rule finish. Tanner Kluis pitched for New Ulm and allowed just three hits while striking out 13.
The offense is something Sauerbrei expects to put forth a better performance today whether Kluis is on the hill or not.
“We had a really good week of practice,” he said. “The weather has been great so we finally got outside and took batting practice on the diamond for the first time this year. The guys are hitting well and we feel good about ourselves.”
Ryan Lee will start on the mound for Worthington, in a game that is slated to begin at 11 a.m. at Mueller Park in New Ulm. The senior did not pitch in the first meeting but comes into the game on the heels of a complete game win during which he allowed only two runs on three hits and struck out five against Redwood Valley.
“He’s pitched in big games before and he’s been sharp lately,” Sauerbrei said. “He’ll be ready to go.”