Trojan Softball: Trojans settle down, earn split
WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington High School girls softball team made its share of errors and mental mistakes Thursday in its Southwest Conference doubleheader with Redwood Valley, but late in a rain-soaked Game 2, senior pitcher Sarah Ebbers and her teammates shut the door to preserve a 16-13 victory and a split.
Redwood Valley won the first game 9-8, helped by six Worthington errors. And the Cardinals led 13-11 in the fifth inning of the second game when a persistent rain stopped action. After a long delay --under the lights --the Trojans took care of business over the last three innings to improve their record to 4-12.
Ebbers, who went the distance in the opener, was pulled off the pitcher's rubber in the second inning after being hit hard by the Cardinals. She returned to pitch after the delay in the fifth and made clutch pitches for the rest of the game. In the fifth, with WHS still trailing 13-11, Redwood Valley loaded the bases but failed to score as the third out was recorded on a called strike.
In the top of the sixth, Worthington plated five runs helped along by Redwood Valley miscues and hits by Aleanna Heig, Paige Kinley and Miranda LeBrun.
The Cardinals went scoreless again in the sixth as Ebbers sent them down one-two-three. Then down by three runs in the bottom of the seventh, Redwood Valley again could put up no threat. The first batter flew out to WHS rightfielder Kara Honius, the next hitter struck out swinging, and the third and last batter flew out to Honius.
Trojans head coach Josh Wasmund was pleased with Ebbers' clutch performance.
"She pitched all of Game 1, and we tried to start her in Game 2, and it just seemed that they (the Cardinals) were on her a bit, or she was getting a little bit tired," Wasmund said. "When she came back in, she looked like she did in Game 1 --or better."
Worthington took a 5-4 lead in a back-and-forth first game when senior catcher KC Riley poked a two-run home run in the third. Down 7-6 in the top of the sixth, Redwood Valley went ahead 8-7 after a lead-off double by Kayla Pohlen, an RBI single by Alison Curry and another RBI single by Tara Sandgren. Worthington tied the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the sixth when freshman pinch-hitter Ally Bruns drilled a lead-off homer over the leftfield fence.
It was Bruns' second home run of the season, and both have been on pinch hits. Her first pinch-hit homer came on her first varsity at-bat, and it was a grand slam.
Redwood Valley scored the winning run in the top of the seventh after an outfield error and a close play at the plate.
Runs came easily in the nightcap, with each team scoring four first inning runs and three more in the second. Riley got the Trojans going in the first with a three-run home run -- her seventh of the season. Curry slugged a two-run homer in the second for Redwood Valley.
The score was tied 7-7 in the second frame when Ebbers was lifted for sophomore Carly Byrne. But the runs kept coming for both teams. At the end of four innings, Redwood Valley clung to a tenuous 13-11 advantage.
It wasn't to last.
As happy as Wasmund was with Worthington's defense late in Game 2, he was happy with the team's hitting in general. Worthington collected 13 hits in the first game and 18 more in the second.
"I think we hit well today," Wasmund said. "We can hit with most teams around the area."
Worthington opens Section 3AA play Tuesday against Jackson County Central in New Ulm. The game begins at 4:30 p.m. The Trojans play again at 6 p.m. if they win their game with JCC.
R H E
RV 022 112 1 -- 9 12 3
Wor 212 201 0 -- 8 13 6
R H E
Wor 430 405 0 -- 16 18 5
RV 432 400 0 -- 13 13 4