Trojans power past Dragons, 7-2
ELLSWORTH -- After striking out five times in the first two innings, Worthington head coach Sam Baumgartner pulled his team aside before the start of the third.
"It seemed like the first couple of innings we were pressing a little bit and chasing some pitches that were out of the zone," Baumgartner said. "We talked about that in the third inning to make the pitcher shoot strikes and don't chase anything. It seemed like we had better plate discipline after that."
Baumgartner's advice paid dividends for the Trojans (4-8), as Worthington scored four runs in the third inning en route to a 7-2 victory over Adrian Area in a non-conference softball game Monday.
"I thought we played well except for the one inning," Adrian Area head coach Markus Okeson said. "We had a couple of walks and a couple of errors. We didn't get the bats going much today either."
Kristen Dierks scattered seven hits and allowed just one earned run while walking two and striking out 11 Dragons in a complete-game victory.
"Kristen was very sharp on the mound today," Baumgartner said. "She had 10 or 11 strikeouts, which is a pretty dominant performance -- her best performance of the year by far. Defensively, we were very sharp."
The Trojans turned two double plays in the game, including a key play in the fifth inning to stop an AA (3-5) rally.
"We had a base runner or two, but then they made a great play," Okeson said. "They turned a double play one time with no outs and runners on first and second, and they just made a lot of good plays that they needed to make."
Karli Meyer suffered the loss in the circle for the Dragons. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits, walked six and struck out 13 batters.
"She got out of a couple of jams and did pretty well," Okeson said. "She struck out a few batters, and had a few walks, but for the most part, threw pretty well."
After AA's Sam Lynn (4-for-4) singled to start the game, Melissa Wiedert advanced her with a single. Meyer walked to load the bases as the Dragons were threatening in the first inning.
However, Brooke Kramer hit into a fielder's choice to score Lynn, but that was all AA could manage for a 1-0 advantage.
"I think the first couple of innings were a little rough," Worthington's Hannah Solem said. "But then we got going and realized that we could actually hit the ball, we kept going and did well."
With neither team scoring in the second, it was the Trojans that broke the game open in the third.
Emily Ebbers and Kaylee Williamson each walked to start the inning, and were advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Lydia Mick.
A Dragon error on Lynn Harbert's grounder scored both Ebbers and Williamson to give Worthington a 2-1 advantage with one out.
Rachel Pavelko singled to drive in Harberts, and Jordan Wiertzema hit a double to score Pavelko as Worthington had a 4-1 advantage after three innings.
The Trojan defense turned its first double play of the game to thwart any Dragon rally in the bottom of the third, and the Trojan offense went back to work in the fourth.
Kaela Wiese singled to start the inning, and Williamson later walked, giving the Trojans two runners on with two outs. Harberts came up with a big hit, scoring both Wiese and Williamson -- pushing the lead to 6-1.
"It was a nice overall game," Baumgartner said. "I thought we came out a little slow swinging the bat. The pitcher had us off balance the first time around. The second time around, we put the bat on the ball and started making things happen."
Lynn led off the top of the fifth with a single, and Briana Niebuhr reached on an error, giving Adrian Area two runners on with no outs.
However, Wiese started a double play on Wiedert's hit to give the Trojans a quick two outs.
Meyer would help her own cause with a double to score Niebuhr, but the Dragons still trailed 6-2.
Worthington had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, but two key defensive plays and a strikeout prevented any runs in the inning.
Solem drove in Carrie Timmerman with her second triple of the day in the seventh as Worthington went on to a 7-2 victory.
"I was kind of worried at the beginning of the game because I wasn't doing so hot, so I just went up there and hit it," Solem said.
Both teams have a busy week, with the Dragons playing eight games this week. They will travel to Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin today.
The Trojans will host the defending state champion Pipestone Area Arrows today for a Southwest Conference doubleheader. The first pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
"We have to capitalize on our opportunities (against PA)," Baumgartner said. "Especially against a team like Pipestone, if we have an opportunity, we have to capitalize on it because they aren't going to give you that many opportunities to begin with."
However, a victory over the Dragons will help the Trojans confidence.
"I think having a 'W' under our belt is going to help because we haven't had too many," Solem said. "We've been doing well and playing hard."
R H E
WHS 004 200 1 -- 7 7 1
AA 100 010 0 -- 2 7 1