VFW BASEBALL: Worthington swept at homeWORTHINGTON — Visiting Lake Crystal took advantage of inconsistent fielding by Worthington’s VFW baseball team Saturday and went home with a pair of closely-contested victories.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Visiting Lake Crystal took advantage of inconsistent fielding by Worthington’s VFW baseball team Saturday and went home with a pair of closely-contested victories.
Aided by four Worthington errors, Lake Crystal scored four runs in the fourth inning of Game 1 and posted a 6-4 win.
In the second game of the six-inning twinbill, Worthington jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the visitors rallied back to tie the score in their half of the first inning.
Lake Crystal plated five more runs over the next two frames, opening up an 8-3 lead, before Worthington rallied with a run in the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth.
The comeback fell short, however, as Lake Crystal held Worthington scoreless in the top of the sixth and claimed a 9-7 victory.
“Both games were close contests between two evenly-matched teams,” declared Lake Crystal head coach Greg Kelly. “We had one big inning in the first game and then we had a couple in a row in the second game. But Worthington came back nicely and scared us both times.”
Worthington will take a 5-7 record to Jackson Wednesday for a doubleheader, beginning at 6 p.m.
LC 6, Worthington 4
Six players had hits for Worthington in the opener and the hosts earned a 2-0 lead over the game’s first three innings.
“We played real solid defense — phenomenal defense — in those first three innings,” praised Worthington coach T.D. Hostikka. “But then in the fourth inning, we gave them (Lake Crystal) seven outs, as we had four errors. The ball was never hit out of the infield. We just did not make the plays.”
Lake Crystal capitalized on those errors and crossed the plate four times in that inning, claiming a 4-2 lead.
The visitors then added single runs in both the fifth and sixth frames to extend the advantage to 6-2.
“Lake Crystal’s only earned run came in the sixth inning,” Hostikka said. “We had five errors in the game and that was pretty much the difference.”
Worthington rallied in the bottom of the sixth, sparked by three consecutive one-out hits.
Starting with Jonah Oberloh’s double to the left-center field gap, Worthington’s bats came alive.
“That’s what we have been doing all season,” stressed Hostikka. “We have several kids that can hit the ball.”
Logan Neyens followed with a single, moving Oberloh to third.
Oberloh then scored on Jon Reller’s RBI single.
Justin Larson (1-for-3) reached on a fielder’s choice — which forced Neyens out at third and moved Reller to second.
Joey Kinley (2-for-4, run, two steals, RBI) capped a good game by plating Reller with an RBI single, trimming the lead to 6-4.
But Lake Crystal’s Spencer Yackel, who pitched a complete game, worked out of the jam, giving the visitors the first-game victory.
Kinley scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first as he singled, stole second, stole third, and then tagged and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Kyle Fritz.
In the third inning, Lucas Henning (two walks, two steals), drew a walk, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Tanner Rogers.
Henning pitched all six innings for Worthington, recording seven strikeouts, while surrendering seven hits and giving up seven walks. Only one of Lake Crystal’s six runs was earned.
Yackel twirled six innings, allowing seven hits and six walks, while striking out four.
At the plate, Yackel was 2-for-4, while teammates Carter Kottke (triple) and Mitch Kelly (RBI) were also each 2-for-4.
Brian Jacobs (1-for-4) had a pair of RBI for Lake Crystal and Eric Hood had an RBI and scored a run.
R H E
LC 000 411 — 6 7 1
Wgtn. 101 002 — 4 7 5
LC 9, Worthington 7
Worthington was the visiting team in the second game and after manufacturing one quick run, added two more to take a 3-0 lead after the first half inning.
Larson was hit by a pitch and Kinley pushed a perfect bunt down the third base line for an infield hit.
With no one covering third, the alert-running Larson was waved to third by Hostikka.
Fritz tagged the first pitch he saw into left-center, scoring both Larson and the fleet-footed Kinley — who streaked home all the way from first — with a key two-run double.
Fritz later moved to third on a passed ball. He tagged and scored Worthington’s third run on an RBI sacrifice fly to right field by Rogers.
“We jumped out with a nice inning, scoring three runs,” exclaimed Hostikka. “But then we dug ourselves in a hole by not fielding well over the next several innings.”
Lake Crystal plated three runs in the bottom of the first, added three more in the bottom of the second and opened up an 8-3 lead by crossing the plate twice in the bottom of the third.
Worthington scored once in the top of the fourth, closing the gap to 8-4.
Derek Lee, who pitched the whole game for Hostikka’s gold-clad team, led off the frame with a walk.
After Lake Crystal pitcher Evan Davis got the next two batters on an infield pop-up and a strikeout, Lee advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Leadoff batter Larson plated Lee with an RBI single, but Kinley’s well-hit ball was caught in center field for the third out.
Lake Crystal scored an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, increasing the lead to 9-4.
Worthington’s three-run fifth started when Henning (three walks) drew a one-out pass and stole second.
Rogers struck out, but raced to first on the dropped (passed ball) third strike, which also moved Henning to third.
Eric Koob then ripped the first pitch he saw, delivering an RBI single past the shortstop, scoring Henning with Worthington’s fifth run.
Both Rogers and Koob advanced on a passed ball, and Lee walked to load the bases.
Lake Crystal then made a pitching change, bringing in Jacobs to relieve Davis.
Rogers hustled home on a wild pitch, making the score 9-6, and one-out later, Koob did the same, as Worthington trimmed the gap to 9-7.
Jacobs induced a fielder’s choice groundout to end the threat, and neither team was able to score in their next chances, keeping the score the same.
Lee only walked one batter in five innings on the mound, but was victimized by seven errors, along with nine timely Lake Crystal hits.
“Derek always has good control,” declared Hostikka. “Lake Crystal hit some balls sharply, but those were plays that we could have and should have made. We simply had too many errors.”
Kottke (3-for-4) hit two triples and a trio of RBI to lead Lake Crystal, while Yackel (2-for-4) and Kelly (2-for-3) each had a pair of RBI.
R H E
Wgtn. 300 130 — 7 4 7
LC 332 10X — 9 9 2