WHS BASEBALL:Trojans score four 2-out runs in 7th to force extras, win 7-6 in eight over MHSWORTHINGTON – Down to their final out in the last half of the seventh inning, the Worthington Trojans mounted a four-run rally to tie Tuesday’s Southwest Conference contest with the Marshall Tigers to force extra innings with the score at 6-6.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON – Down to their final out in the last half of the seventh inning, the Worthington Trojans mounted a four-run rally to tie Tuesday’s Southwest Conference contest with the Marshall Tigers to force extra innings with the score at 6-6.
The Trojans capped off the comeback victory at the Middle School field in the bottom of the eighth when Tyler Hatterman drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to plate Lucas Henning for a 7-6 final, keeping WHS undefeated on the season.
The Trojans were stymied with the bats through the first four innings as the Tigers scored two runs in the third and added four in the fifth to take what seemed to be a commanding 6-0 lead.
However, WHS managed to get on the board with a run in each the fifth and sixth innings to cut the lead to 6-2, while the Trojan bullpen kept the Tigers at bay, setting up the seventh-inning rally and extra-inning win.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times. I’m not even sure what all happened there,” Trojan head coach Stacy Sauerbrei said following the wild finish. “But when I look back at the book, I know I’ll see a lot of Trojan players that did the little things to contribute to a win – Nathan Ray coming in and giving us a solid seventh inning, Deron Soderholm coming in in the middle innings and getting us out of a jam, Tyler Hatterman having a great at-bat at the end to bring in the winning run, Tristan Sorenson scoring two runs in one inning as a courtesy runner and then as a pinch runner.
“Those are the types of things that are the mark of a very unselfish team. When I look back at the book, I’ll see a lot of those things evidenced in this game.”
If Sauerbrei had had the scorebook in front of him when interviewed, he could’ve mentioned several more keys plays that tipped the game in the Trojans’ favor.
In addition to those that he did mention, some of the other highlights included a double play started by Aaron Pavelko at third base in the sixth inning when he tagged out Mason Schnaible, who had hit a one-out triple, and threw on to first base to end the inning, and a pick-off throw by catcher Blake Rogers in the eighth inning to eliminate the potential go-ahead runner, who had reached on a lead-off error.
Meanwhile, the biggest contributions came in the home half of the seventh inning.
After MHS starting pitcher Alex Fenske struck out the lead-off batter, Henning (2-for-5 with two runs) reached base on a double to left-center to get things started for WHS.
However, Fenske retired the next batter for the second out to bring the Tigers within one out of sealing a victory.
Down to the potential final batter, Blake Rogers cut the lead to three when he plated Henning with a single to center.
Rogers (2-for-5 with an RBI and a run) moved to third on a passed ball prior to Tyler Hatterman drawing a walk to give WHS runners on the corners and ending Fenske day after 6 2/3 innings.
Fenske finished with nine strikeouts, while allowing five earned runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter.
Tiger relief pitcher Aaron Mathiowetz was greeted by Jon Reller, who hit an infield single into the hole between third and short to score Sorenson (courtesy running for Rogers), making it a 6-4 game with the tying run at first.
Following another passed ball, the Trojans had both runners in scoring position for Tanner Rogers (2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run) and the middle infielder delivered the game-tying hit as laced a single up the middle, scoring Hatterman and Sorenson (pinch running for Reller).
“We had guys on first and second [before the passed ball] and I got a fastball a little bit outside,” Tanner Rogers said of his at-bat in the seventh. “The next one was down the middle. I just put the bat on the ball and it went up the middle to get two runs in.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that just love to play baseball. Our attitude is to never quit, because we always believe we have a chance to win. It’s always more fun when you win and we did that [Tuesday].”
Reller came on in relief for the Trojans and pitched a scoreless inning, which was aided by the pick-off throw from Blake Rogers, to bring the Trojan bats and their never-say-die attitude back to plate.
Henning, Tommy Hayenga and Blake Rogers each hit consecutive one-out singles to load the bases to set up Hatterman’s game-winning walk.
“We played terrible at the beginning, but we never gave up and got it done in the end,” Reller, who earned the win in relief, said.
Both teams put runners on base in the first inning as Schnaible (3-for-5) singled to lead off the game for MHS, while Haynega hit a double for WHS, but both starting pitchers settle down to hurl a perfect second frame.
However, Henning, who started for the Trojans, ran into trouble in the third, when Cory Deutz and Schnaible hit back-to-back singles to start the inning.
Following a sacrifice bunt by Leo Zerr, Matt Campion plated Deutz with an RBI ground out, while Schnaible scored on a single by Riley Carpenter for the early 2-0 lead.
Henning, who struck out three and walked one in four innings and had pitched no-hitters in each of his previous two starts, admitted he wasn’t his sharpest in this outing.
“I didn’t throw that many strikes and I knew that I wouldn’t strike out that many as Marshall’s always a good-hitting team,” Henning said. “But the defense came up with some really good plays the whole game and we just rallied around each other and got the win.”
WHS committed three errors in the contest, but only one was costly as it aided MHS in the four-run fifth inning off of Nathan Jensen (one earned run with two strikeouts in 2/3 innings). Soderholm (1 1/3 innings with one strikeout) got the final out in the fifth and pitched a scoreless sixth as the third WHS pitcher
Rylan Scholtes put the Trojans on the board in the bottom of the fifth when his double and a Tiger error allowed Pavelko (2-for-4 with an RBI) to score from first to make it 6-1 followed by Pavelko driving in the second WHS in the sixth inning to score Tanner Rogers, who had reached on a fielder’s choice following a Hatterman lead-off single.
Tuesday’s win bolsters the Trojans for their upcoming stretch of five games over the next seven days.
“It’s huge, it’s a huge win,” Blake Rogers. “A big conference game, section game and [Marshall’s] a tough team all-around. They always put together a good team and it’s always tough to beat them. It was a good time them.”
WHS (5-0) extended its winning streak to five games, while moving into the driver’s seat of the conference with a 3-0 mark as last year’s conference champion, Marshall, drops to 0-2 in the league and 3-2 overall.
The Trojans return to action Thursday with a non-conference game at Adrian followed by another non-conference game at home against New Ulm before returning to league play on Monday.
Thursday’s game is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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