Trojan Baseball: Trojan bats rule
WORTHINGTON -- Aaron Pavelko's 7-for-8 effort in Tuesday's Southwest Conference doubleheader sparked the Worthington Trojans to a sweep of the Jackson County Central Huskies at the Minnesota West baseball field.
The Trojans won Game 1 in five innings by a score of 12-2 before the nightcap's 14-3 final. Tuesday's twinbill was also the home opener for WHS, which improved to 4-2 overall and to 3-0 in the SWC.
Pavelko -- a senior infielder that bats leadoff for WHS -- was perfect in the opener, going 4-for-4 with three RBI's, two runs scored and a stolen base, and then capped his day by going 3-for-4 with a walk, a three-run triple and three runs scored in Game 2.
"Those were a solid seven hits, too," WHS head coach Stacy Sauerbrei said. "Aaron was seeing the ball well and had a real nice swing. It's good to see that out of him in the lead-off spot. Once he gets on base, he's an excellent baserunner and that is a real asset for us."
After JCC took a 2-0 lead in the opener as Tanner Menke doubled home Taylor Christopher and later scored on an error, Pavelko immediately went to work at the top of Trojans' order by singling up the middle, stealing second, moving to third on a throwing error and scoring on a Ryan Lee RBI ground out for the first WHS run.
"I just wanted to change it up from (Monday) when I went 1-for-4," Pavelko said. "It just came (Tuesday) and the whole team hit the ball well."
Tyler Hatterman and Blake Rogers each singled and scored later in the first to gain the lead for WHS and the Trojan bats, behind the pitching of Lee in the opener, rolled from there.
"We came out ready to play," Sauerbrei said. "After losing to Fairmont (6-1 on Monday), it was nice to get right back out there. The guys had a real good approach at the plate and we were able to get the bats going."
Hatterman (two runs), Rogers (two runs) and Deron Soderholm each finished the opener 2-for-3, while Soderholm legged out a bases-clearing triple in a four-run WHS third that put the Trojans ahead 8-2.
Following a scoreless fourth, Pavelko, who doubled home Tristan Sorensen (1-for-3 with a double, two runs and a stolen base) in the second, drove in Soderholm and Sorensen in the fifth, before scoring on a throwing error when Lee reached on an infield single for the 11th Trojans' run. Lee later scored on a wild pitch to finish the opener early at 12-2.
"That was incredible," Hatterman said of Pavelko's outing. "He's a really good player and he hit the ball hard all day."
Turner Hagen (RBI) and Nathan Ray (run) each added hits for the Trojans in the opener, while Blake Schroeder placed a sacrifice bunt perfectly in Worthington's four-run fifth.
Lee claimed the Game 1 win by allowing one earned run on three hits, four walks, a hit batter and one strikeout, while Christopher took the loss for the Huskies. Both pitchers tossed complete games.
In addition to Menke's double, Kyle Luhmann and Zach Copley had the other JCC hits in the opener, while Josh Christoffer walked twice and stole a base.
While WHS needed one pitcher to get through the opener, Sauerbrei used four pitchers to finish the night cap.
"Our pitching was good," Sauerbrei said. "We were able to work out of some crisis situations. We got a number of kids out there on the mound, and that will help us as we may be able to use some of them again Thursday in our next doubleheader."
Ray (one earned run on four hits, three walks and three strikeouts) started the second game for WHS, but left in the third inning after walking the first two batters of the frame as the Trojans held a 2-1 lead.
However, Soderholm entered for the Trojans and received a nice diving play in left by Zach Kempema for the first out, before starting a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat with no damage.
Soderholm earned the Game 2 win, striking out four and allowing two unearned runs on two hits in three innings of work, while Hagen struck out the side to avert a bases-loaded threat by JCC in the sixth before Rogers struck out two in a perfect seventh to seal the win.
Following a two-run double by Luhmann in the fourth that sliced the Trojans' lead to 4-3, WHS scored five runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to widen the gap. Pavelko ripped a three-run triple in the five-run fifth, while Rogers (2-for-4 with three RBI's) roped a two-run triple in the seventh.
Soderholm (RBI) and Lee (double, two RBI's) each collected two hits in Game 2, while Sorensen scored three times and stole a base.
Luhmann (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI's) and Menke (2-for-3) led the Huskies at the plate in the nightcap, while Christopher singled, walked twice, stole a base and scored, Peter Nasby doubled, Jeremiah Flatgard singled and scored, and Jordan Biehn drove in a run. Josh Thaemlitz also had a hit for JCC.
Luhmann took the loss for JCC in 4 1/3 innings, while Biehn fanned four in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
The Huskies, who dropped to 4-6 overall and 1-4 in the SWC, travel to Windom Thursday for a conference tilt at Island Park.
The Trojans also return to action Thursday, travelling to Luverne for a conference twinbill.
"This is a good start in the conference," Pavelko said of Tuesday's wins. "We want to win it again like we did last year. We have two big games coming up on Thursday."
Hatterman agreed, and said, "These wins just give us motivation and momentum going forward."
Thursday's doubleheader is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. in Luverne.
R H E
JCC 200 00 -- 2 3 5
WHS 314 0 4 -- 12 14 1
R H E
WHS 101 250 5 -- 14 10 1
JCC 100 200 0 -- 3 9 8