PREP SOFTBALL: Trojans split with EaglesWORTHINGTON — One month ago, Emily Ebbers suffered a gruesome injury that forced her to miss the majority of the season.
By: Matt Huss, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — One month ago, Emily Ebbers suffered a gruesome injury that forced her to miss the majority of the season.
On Friday, the senior pitcher’s second start on the mound this year was a success.
Ebbers allowed five runs on 10 hits while walking three and striking out one in six and one-third innings to lead Worthington’s softball team to a 7-6 victory against Windom in the first game of a doubleheader.
Windom earned a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.
Ebbers allowed just one run through five innings, helping the Trojans take a 3-1 lead into the sixth. She allowed four more runs before getting relieved two batters into the seventh, and she wasn’t awarded the win after Worthington junior Angela Bui delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
But Ebbers kept the Trojans in the game, helping them win for just the second time in eight tries. More importantly, she overcame her fears and returned to the mound.
Nobody was happier than Worthington senior Jordan Wiertzema.
On April 15, the night before Ebbers was scheduled to make her first start of the season, in the Trojans’ second game of the year, Wiertzema, Ebbers, Brittany Berger and Kristen Dierks decided to stay after practice and put in some extra work.
Ebbers delivered a pitch to Wiertzema, who returned a line drive back to the mound. The ball glanced off Ebbers’ glove and struck her in the face.
“I just fell and I started bleeding everywhere,” Ebbers said. “And they started freaking out.”
While their teammate writhed on the field in pain, Wiertzema and the others raced to grab the first-aid kit.
“We were just trying to figure out what to do; it was so scary,” Wiertzema said. “(The bleeding) wouldn’t stop; it was all over the pitching mound.”
Ebbers’ dad rushed her to the emergency room, where doctor’s conducted a CAT scan to determine the damage.
“I deviated my septum,” Ebbers said. “The (left) side of my nose was totally broke in half, and (the right) side was just kind of shattered.”
The doctors told Ebbers she needed to have surgery to put the broken bones back in place, but she had to wait five days for the swelling to go down.
“The surgery was only 10 minutes, but I did have to get a stitch because I got cut by one of the laces,” Ebbers said. “But they didn’t cut me open or anything; they just stuck something up my nose and pushed it back into place.
“I can go back in a year to have plastic surgery if I want, and they’ll make it not look so bumpy, because it still is kind of bumpy. But I don’t really care if I have a bumpy nose.”
Ebbers missed the majority of the season before finally returning to the field last week. In the meantime, while healing, she accepted gifts of sorrow from Wiertzema.
“I felt so bad,” Wiertzema said. “I got her everything I could think of to make her feel better — chocolate, Tootsie Rolls, candy. Anything I saw, I was like, ‘Let’s get that; I think she likes that.’”
Said Ebbers, laughing: “She bought me so much candy.”
Ebbers made her first appearance on the mound Tuesday against Fairmont. While wearing a bulky face mask to protect her vulnerable nose, she allowed six earned runs on nine hits while walking five and striking out two in a complete-game effort to earn the win in Worthington’s 12-8 victory.
“On Tuesday, I really was (nervous); I thought I was going to pee my pants,” Ebbers said, laughing. “But I wasn’t as scared (Friday).”
The Eagles scored three runs in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to one before adding two in the top of the seventh to take a one-run lead.
Steph Behrens led off the bottom of the frame by drawing a walk, and after Windom recorded the first out, Wiertzema also coaxed a free pass.
Windom starting pitcher Brianna Ramos then notched a strikeout, but she walked Dierks on six pitches to load the bases.
With two outs, Bui stepped to the plate and laced a single into right field, scoring Behrens for the game-winning run.
Dierks, who recorded the final two outs for Worthington, earned the win. Ramos, who allowed four earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out six, suffered the loss.
Lynn Harberts went 3-for-4 with a triple, a double and two RBI, and Behrens went 1-for-3 with a triple, three runs and an RBI. Berger added a two-run double for the Trojans (5-15, 2-10).
Abby Lund went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Abby Hayenga and Alii Holt each added two hits to lead Windom.
Ramos had a two-run double, Mikayla Bergendahl had an RBI single, and Ellie Hormig, Morgan Borsgard and Summer Stevens each added a hit for the Eagles, who returned the favor in Game 2.
Hayenga delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Windom a walk-off, one-run victory.
The Trojans scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score at 3-3, but Lund’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the frame gave the Eagles a one-run advantage.
Worthington answered again.
Angela Robinson delivered a lead-off single to start the top of the seventh, and she scored one pitch later on an RBI triple by Behrens.
But Bergendahl and Hormig smacked back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the frame, and they both advanced on Borsgard’s sacrifice bunt. After Bergendahl scored on a wild pitch, Hayenga ripped a single into left field to score Hormig.
“We were in position to get the sweep, but Windom just got the hits, and the balls fell into place for them in the second game, and they got the walk-off win,” Worthington coach Sam Baumgartner said. “I thought both teams had girls come up and rise to the occasion and come up with clutch hits when they needed to.”
Bergendahl went 2-for-4, and Stevens went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Holt, Hormig Borsgard, Hayenga and Mindy Fjeld each added a hit for the Eagles (11-9, 5-7).
Ramos, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning and a no-hitter into the sixth, earned the win. The sophomore allowed three earned runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three in her second complete-game effort of the afternoon.
Behrens went 1-for-3 with two RBI, and Wiertzema went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Bui had an RBI groundout, and Carrie Timmerman and Dierks each added a hit for Worthington.
Robinson, who relieved Wiertzema after the fifth inning, suffered the loss. The freshman allowed three runs on four hits.
Wiertzema allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits while walking three and striking out one in five innings. And while she said she was disappointed that her team couldn’t complete the sweep, she was happy to witness another successful outing by Ebbers.
“I’m so excited for her because I felt so horrible, like it was all my fault,” Wiertzema said. “I’m excited that she’s back and ready to go.”
Game 1 R H E
Win. 001 003 2 — 6 11 3
WHS 001 022 2 — 7 6 3
Game 2 R H E
WHS 000 012 2 — 5 5 3
Win. 201 001 2 — 5 9 3