LEGION BASEBALL: Worthington sinks Luverne for 5th win in 5 daysLUVERNE — It seemed that all the key plays were going in Worthington’s favor in a legion baseball game against Luverne on Tuesday.
LUVERNE — It seemed that all the key plays were going in Worthington’s favor in a legion baseball game against Luverne on Tuesday.
Post 5 had some timely hitting on offense, leaving only four runners on base, and also made big plays in the field to thwart Luverne’s attack to claim a 5-1 victory.
Perhaps the most crucial play of the game came in the bottom of the second inning, when Worthington ended a one-out, bases-loaded threat with an inning-ending double play.
“Double plays kill momentum any time there is one, it doesn’t matter if you’re on defense or offense,” Luverne coach Barry Shelton said. “When you have the bases loaded and you ground out into a double play, if the ball rolls through you could have scored two runs rather than scoring zero.”
A pair of errors by Post 5 allowed the first two Luverne base runners in the inning, with a single by Jeremy Reisdorfer (2-for-3) loading the bases.
Worthington starter Mitchell Jensen (five innings pitched, three hits, one run, one walk, three strikeouts) then coaxed a grounder from Luverne’s Steven Verhey, which was fielded by second baseman Eric Koob, relayed to Adam Munkel at shortstop and then ended up in the glove of first baseman Stuart Rogers.
“To be honest it’s really not a surprise anymore,” Jensen said of the team’s defense. “These guys, it doesn’t matter if we’re up or down, they’re always making big plays. This team is pretty clutch.
“These guys have always got my back, they’ve always got everybody’s back, so it always works out.”
Jensen escaped another bases-loaded situation in the fourth by striking out pinch-hitter Jonny Solma and had a leadoff error erased in the fourth on a 6-4-3 double play.
Post 5 took the lead in the top of the fourth on a two-run double by Stuart Rogers (2-for-3, two RBI) following singles by Adam Munkel (3-for-4, run, RBI) and Jensen.
Tommy Hayenga (2-for-4, RBI, two runs, two doubles) had an RBI double in the fifth for Worthington and scored on a single by Munkel. Lucas Henning had an RBI-groundout in the seventh to account for Worthington’s other run.
Henning pitched in relief of Jensen (two innings pitched, one hit, four strikeouts) to pick up a save.
“It was another good win,” Worthington head coach Todd Rogers said. “The boys played good again. We hit the ball well — we had a few miscues on defense, but we got over that. The pitchers threw a good game, both of them. Mitchell threw good and Lucas came in to close it up.”
Jensen didn’t play baseball this spring having just completed his first year at Dakota Wesleyan University, but he has been getting stronger on the mound with every outing.
“I think this is my third time pitching and every outing I’ve gone an inning longer,” Jensen said. “I’m just happy with that.”
Luverne starter Eric Kor (five innings pitched, seven hits, four runs, no walks, four strikeouts) pitched to just one batter above the minimum over the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.
Nick Rittenhouse (two innings pitched, three hits, one run, one strikeout) finished out the game on the mound for Luverne.
Luverne scored its only run in the fourth. Richard Gonzalez (1-for-3, run) had a one-out triple in the inning and later scored on a passed ball with two outs.
Rittenhouse had the team’s final hit of the game in the sixth. He also reached base in his first two at bats on a pair of Worthington errors.
“(Worthington) got the key outs,” Shelton said. “We just didn’t take the opportunities that we were given to score some runs. Worthington’s a good ballclub and they took care of their situations when they had them.”
Luverne will begin postseason play on Saturday in Windom. The team’s first game is at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the Friday contest between Windom and Edgerton.
“We are as ready as we’re going to get,” Shelton said. “We played the two toughest teams that we’ve played so far in Pipestone and Worthington the past few games. We didn’t play bad against Worthington, they just got the key hits.”
Worthington (11-2) will play at Sleepy Eye on Thursday at 7 p.m. The team’s scheduled game on Friday against Okabena has been canceled.
The team is on a roll after a tournament victory in Rochester over the weekend, but is still just staying focused on each new game ahead.
“We’re just taking every game one game at a time and trying to win,” Jensen said.
R H E
Worth. 000 220 1 — 5 10 4
Luv. 000 100 0 — 1 4 0