LEGION BASEBALL: Worthington pounds OkabenaWORTHINGTON — Scoring seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the first inning during the first game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader Friday night, Worthington Post 5 jumped out of the gates hot and went on to claim a pair of large-margin victories over Okabena Post 608.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Scoring seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the first inning during the first game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader Friday night, Worthington Post 5 jumped out of the gates hot and went on to claim a pair of large-margin victories over Okabena Post 608.
Worthington, which is now 5-2 overall and was playing at home for the first time this season, won via the 10-run rule in both of the games, which were scheduled for six innings apiece — 10-0 in four innings in the opener and 14-0 in five innings in the nightcap.
“We played very well in all aspects of the game and earned a pair of nice wins over a good Okabena team,” summed up Worthington assistant coach Doug Jensen. “All 12 of the guys that we had tonight contributed, and everyone hit the ball pretty well up and down the lineup. I’m also proud of the way that we pitched and played defense, allowing just two hits and not committing an error the entire night.”
Adam Munkel (three innings, five strikeouts) and Jon Reller (one inning, one strikeout) combined to twirl a four-inning perfect game — retiring all 12 batters they faced — in the opener, while Mitchell Jensen (three innings, two strikeouts), Reller (one inning, two strikeouts) and Stuart Rogers (one inning, two strikeouts) teamed up for a two-hit shutout in the nightcap for Worthington.
Four players drive in runs during seven-run first inning for Post 5
Worthington’s bats were alive from the very start, as Tyler Verdoorn (single), Tyler Stugelmeyer (walk) and Lucas Henning (single) all reached to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1.
Jensen then cleared the bases by belting a three-run double to deep right-center field, giving Worthington a quick 3-0 advantage. Rogers (2-for-2) followed with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners.
Following a strikeout for the first out, Reller cracked an RBI single to center — plating Jensen with Worthington’s fourth run. Tommy Hayenga (2-for-2) then smashed an RBI double down the left-field line, driving in Rogers to make it 5-0.
Two batters later, Verdoorn (2-for-2) smashed a two-out, two-run double to center. Reller and Hayenga scored on the play, extending Worthington’s first-inning cushion to 7-0.
“That was a great start for us,” Doug Jensen said. “We hit some balls very hard in that first inning, which gave us a nice spark and got us going.”
Worthington added three more runs in the second inning, as Henning reached on an error and scored when Mitchell Jensen (2-for-2) clubbed an RBI double to left. A single to right by Rogers was followed by a nifty 1-4-3 Okabena double play — Octavio Jimenez to Jacob Olson to Erik Jass — off the bat of Munkel, as Jensen scored from third to make it 9-0.
Reller (2-for-2) then laced a two-out triple into the right-field corner and scored on Hayenga’s RBI infield single, pushing the score to 10-0.
Meanwhile, Munkel was working a trio of 1-2-3 frames on the mound. Munkel fanned five batters, induced three ground-ball outs, and notched the other out on a fly ball to center field.
Reller came on to pitch in the fourth and set Okabena down in order on two fly balls and a strikeout, as Worthington won the opener.
Jimenez pitched all three innings for Okabena, recording one strikeout.
R H E
Okabena 000 0 — 0 0 3
Worthington 730 X — 10 11 0
Two six-run outputs lift Worthington to sweep
Post 5 used a pair of six-run frames — the second and the fifth — to build another large lead in the nightcap.
Worthington scored its initial run in the top of the first, as Justin Larson reached on a bunt single and came around to score on Verdoorn’s RBI single with two outs.
Okabena’s Alex Meyer, who pitched four innings and fanned a pair of batters, tagged a two-out triple to right-center in the bottom of the opening inning — representing the team’s first base runner of the night. But Jensen struck out the next batter to keep Post 608 scoreless.
Worthington then scored six runs in the second to mount a 7-0 advantage. Larson (fielder’s choice), Stugelmeyer (single), Henning (single), Verdoorn (sacrifice fly) and Joey Kinley (sacrifice fly) each drove in a run, while Eric Koob scored on an Okabena error.
Post 608 put a pair of runners on base in the bottom half. Kyle Elder was hit by a pitch, and Jacob Post drew a walk, but Jensen was able to work around the free passes. Okabena’s only other base runner came in the fourth, as Alex Olsem ripped a one-out single up the middle.
“Okabena has some good hitters, and for us to hold them to two hits is really a fine job,” Doug Jensen said. “We threw strikes and made plays, which is so important to having success in the game of baseball.”
Worthington added seven more runs of its own to put the game out of reach. Mitchell Jensen doubled and scored on an error in the fourth, while Post 5 put together another six-run output in the fifth.
Doubles by Stugelmeyer and Rogers (RBI) — combined with five Okabena fielding miscues — helped Worthington stretch its bulge to 14-0.
Stugelmeyer and Verdoorn each had two hits in the game, while Nate Jensen, Mitchell Jensen, Henning, Larson, Rogers and Munkel each collected one base hit for Worthington.
“It was nice to play at home after playing our first five games on the road,” Doug Jensen said. “We have a pretty busy week coming up, and hopefully we can build on our performance here tonight, continue to have fun and be competitive.”
Okabena (4-7) hosts Jackson today at 12 p.m.
R H E
Worthington 160 16 — 14 10 0
Okabena 000 00 — 0 2 7