WHS BASEBALL: Henning no-hits JCCWORTHINGTON – Displaying superb command of all of his pitches, Lucas Henning needed 81 pitches to toss a no-hitter in a five-inning, 10-0 Southwest Conference victory for the Worthington Trojans over the Jackson County Central Huskies Thursday afternoon at the Middle School field.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON – Displaying superb command of all of his pitches, Lucas Henning needed 81 pitches to toss a no-hitter in a five-inning, 10-0 Southwest Conference victory for the Worthington Trojans over the Jackson County Central Huskies Thursday afternoon at the Middle School field.
“Lucas is a tremendous baseball player and he has made himself into a good player,” WHS head coach Stacy Sauerbrei said. “It isn’t by accident because he works as hard as anybody. He was thrilled to get the start and boy was he sharp. The fastball was fast and it was accurate to go along with his curveball and change.”
Henning struck out nine batters and issued three walks, while not allowing any runners past second base.
The only Huskie to reach second was the first batter of the game as Kyle Luhmann reached on an error and stole second.
That was the only miscue of the game and Henning was confident to use his arsenal of pitches, while being backed by solid fielders and a lineup that pounded out 14 hits to score 10 runs.
“It feels great,” Henning said. “As long as you pitch strikes, I know that I have a strong defense behind me. It doesn’t matter if I give up a few runs because I know we can come back at any time.
“At first, I just wanted to establish the fastball and curveball. I used that for the first few innings and then started to work my changeup in, too.”
Henning struck out the side to get out of the first and his counterpart, JCC starting pitcher Dustin Pronk, also started the game well by quickly recording the first two outs in the bottom of the first.
However, following a two-out base hit by Blake Rogers (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base), Pronk hit Tyler Verdoorn with a pitch and seemed to lose command.
Rogers and Tristan Sorenson (running for Verdoorn) both moved up a base on a passed ball and Jon Reller (2-for-3 with three RBI) drove both home with a two-run double to center for the first runs of the game.
“We got the first two guys out in the first,” JCC head coach Trent Sukalski said. “But then he fell behind the three-hitter (Rogers) and he gets a base hit on a 2-0 pitch and then he hits the next guy. He just fell out of rhythm at that point. There was a passed ball and they got a base hit and we were down 2-0 right away.”
The Trojans extended the early lead to 3-0 after base hits by Tanner Rogers (1-for-3) and Deron Soderholm (2-for-3 with two RBI) brought Reller home.
Henning issued a lead-off walk to start the second to Tanner Menke, but a trio of fly balls to outfield ended the inning and brought the Trojans back to bat.
“The defense will feed off of a pitcher like that,” Sauerbrei said. “There weren’t a lot of plays to made out there, but when the opportunities came, it seemed like they all came in a row and the guys made them. Sorenson had a nice play in left field, (Nathan) Jensen had a nice play in center field and Tyler Hatterman made a nice play in right field.”
WHS added a run to make it 4-0 in the second when Lucas Henning hit a one-out, bloop single to left and scored on a RBI single from Blake Rogers after Hatterman had walked.
Following a scoreless third inning, the Trojans busted open the game in the fourth with five runs on six hits.
Jensen (1-for-2) led off with a triple that chased Pronk (four strikeouts in three innings) from the game as the Huskies brought Zach Copley in to relieve.
Henning promptly greeted Copley with his second hit of the game that plated Jensen followed by a single by Hatterman (1-for-3) to give WHS runners on first and second.
Turner Hagen (2-for-2 with three RBI) drove in Henning and Hatterman with a double down the right-field line and then came in to score on Reller’s double to right-center.
Soderholm completed the Trojan fourth-inning scoring when he drove home Reller with a single to left to make it 9-0.
“Worthington really hit the ball real well and we didn’t,” Sukalski added. “Henning was really good out there.”
Henning struck out the side in the fifth after issuing a two-out walk to Phil Buschena and then the WHS lefthander scored the game-ending run in the bottom of the inning after hitting a one-out double and scoring on Hagen’s second double of the game.
“It’s just really fun doing that and knowing that the coaches trust you with the bat,” Hagen said of his at-bats off the bench. “It’s really nice to get your team going and to get those runs in when you really need them.
“Lucas was spectacular. He was throwing strikes, gave up no hits and not too many walks. He pitched an absolute great game for us.”
In addition to his pitching, Henning was 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs to set the table for the Trojans from the lead-off spot.
“I like to be a leader and to lead by example,” Henning said. “I just try to get the team going at the top of the lineup. Just get on base and I know the rest of the guys can hit the ball behind me.”
Additionally, Sauerbrei was pleased with how his bench stepped up after Verdoorn left the game with the early injury.
“As a coach, that’s what you hope for and I’ve kind of grown to expect that out of our guys,” Sauerbrei said. “Verdoorn get’s hurt, so Sorenson comes in and gives us a couple nice innings. Then Turner comes up in a crucial situation to foul off a number of pitches to get a couple of RBIs with a double.
“He comes up again the next time and gets another RBI double. He’s thrilled and it’s just fun to watch these guys get in the game and come through for us.”
The loss drops JCC to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference. The Huskies host New Ulm Tuesday for a non-conference game.
WHS improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference. The Trojans travel to Windom today for a doubleheader.
The first game is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m.
R H E
JCC 000 00 – 0 0 0
WHS 310 51 – 10 14 1