WHS gets walkoff win over PA: Hayenga drives in winner in 10th to lift Trojans over Arrows 7-6WORTHINGTON — Although it took 10 innings, the Worthington Trojan baseball team held off the Pipestone Area Arrows with a 7-6 win Tuesday afternoon in a Southwest Conference contest at the Middle School field.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Although it took 10 innings, the Worthington Trojan baseball team held off the Pipestone Area Arrows with a 7-6 win Tuesday afternoon in a Southwest Conference contest at the Middle School field.
Tommy Hayenga provided the winning at-bat to keep the Trojans perfect on the campaign, as he lofted a flyball to right field that was misplayed to score Rylan Scholtes for the game-winning run.
“I was just trying to get it to the outfield for a sac fly to for sure get the run in and I got it to the outfield,” Hayenga said of approach at the plate in the game’s final at-bat. “This is a good win. Pipestone never gave up and they fought back. Thank goodness we held on for this win.”
The win didn’t come easy for WHS, although the hosts did jump out to an early lead with a four-run bottom of the first.
PA chopped the Trojan lead to 4-2 in the third inning, which was answered by WHS in the fourth to make it 6-2.
However, the Arrows tied the game in the sixth with four runs to eventually send the game into the extra frames and both sides received fantastic relief pitching late prior to the game-winner in the tenth.
Scholtes, who entered the game as a pinch hitter to start the home half of the tenth, coaxed a six-pitch walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Verdoorn.
With first base open, the Arrows elected to intentionally walk Lucas Henning to set up force plays in the infield, but both Scholtes and Henning each stole a base to move into scoring positon for Hayenga, who finished the game 3-for-5 with two stolen bases, two runs, a walk and an RBI.
“Tommy’s hitting the ball well and just having a dynamite season at the plate,” Trojan head coach Stacy Sauerbrei said. “I think this is the fourth out of five games where he’s had multiple hits. He’s drilling the ball most of the time and having him up at the plate is a good thing for us with guys on base.”
Hayenga, who bats second, along with Henning, who leads off, combined to reach base in 10 out of 12 plate appearances and set the table for the game’s first runs.
“With Lucas and Tommy getting on base at the top of the order, that is really giving us oppportunites and we’ve came through in some clutch situations,” Sauerbrei added.
Following a lead-off walk by Henning (2-for-3 with a double, three walks and two runs), Hayenga lined a single to left to give WHS runners on first and second before PA recorded the first out in the bottom of the first.
Tanner Rogers reached on an error to load the bases followed by a fielder’s choice from Tyler Hatterman to plate Henning for the game’s first run.
Hayenga and Rogers both came around to score on another Arrows’ error on a batted ball by Turner Hagen to make it 3-0 and Hatterman scored the fourth run an errant pick-off throw to first base.
The four-run lead provided plenty of breathing room for WHS starting pitcher Jon Reller.
Reller, who received a no decision, worked around a one-out triple by Damian Skyberg (3-for-4 with a double, triple and a run) and a walk to Matt Haraldson in the first inning, which was aided by a double play started by Trojan second baseman Eric Koob to end the inning, before using six pitches to record a perfect second frame.
However, PA got on the board with a pair of runs in the third as Skyberg drove home Jacob Derby (single) with a double to right with one out followed by Skyberg scoring with two outs on an error off the bat of Austin Evans to cut the Trojan lead in half.
WHS threatened in the third as a walk and a pair of errors loaded the bases with one out but the Arrows received a timely 1-2-3 double play to end the threat.
The Trojans received their second double play of the afternoon in the top half of the fourth as Reller garnered a strikeout, while Blake Rogers threw to Koob at second to end the inning on a caught stealing.
Tuesday’s contest featured six double plays with each side turning three apiece.
Henning and Hayenga reached on back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the fourth to give the hosts yet another threat, which turned into a two-run inning as Henning scored on Tanner Rogers’ fielder’s choice and Hayenga scored on a double steal with Rogers for a 6-2 lead after four innings.
Reller struck out the side in the fifth to get the Trojans back to the plate, but the Arrows recorded another double play after hits by Reller and Deron Soderholm to end another threat.
“We’ve seen Jon for throw for many years in VFW [baseball] and such, so we knew if we could stick around and get his pitch count up that he would lose a little bit of velocity on his fastball,” PA head coach Rick Zollner said. “In some of those innings when he was shutting us down, he was throwing curveball after curveball and we couldn’t do much with that.”
While Reller did keep the Arrows at bay for the good part of the first five innigs, PA finally got to the righthander in the sixth with a four-run rally to tie the contest.
Back-to-back singles up the middle by Skyberg and Haraldson followed by a walk to Evans loaded the bases with no outs.
An error on the Trojans on a batted ball by Brady Bos allowed Skyberg to score to make it 6-3 followed by an RBI fielder’s choice from Alex Ossefoort scored Haraldson to bring the visitors within two.
Gunnar Manderscheid then provided the Arrows with the big hit that they needed as he laced a triple into right-center to score Evans and Bos to tie the game.
Reller used a pair of strikeouts to end the Arrow sixth and opened the seventh with another pair of strikeouts before his day ended with after a walk to Haraldson and a single by Evans with two outs.
Reller, who displayed a sharp curveball throughout the day, allowed four earned runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out 10 (six looking).
“The curveball was working [Tuesday] for strikes,” Reller said. “I walked a few and I hit a guy with two strikes in the seventh inning, which I wish I could take back. But the curveball was breaking and I stayed on top of it like the coaches always tell me to.”
Soderholm came on in relief for the Trojans to end the seventh and both respective bullpens worked scoreless innings until the Trojans won it in the tenth.
Derby, who relieved Arrow starter Josh Mabon (two earned runs in four innings on four hits, three walks and one strikeout), took the hard-luck loss, despite allowing one earned run on three hits and four walks over the final 5 1/3 innings.
“He hasn’t played baseball in a few years, so we try to take it easy on his arm and get him into situations where he can be successful,” Zollner said of Derby.” With him being lefthanded, that can be a lot of situations and he came in and threw very well and gave us a chance to win.”
Soderholm earned the win for WHS over the final 3 1/3 innings, striking out two against one hit and two hit batters.
“That’s clutch pitching,” Sauerbrei said of Soderholm’s relief effort. “He came in during a crisis situation with two runners on in the seventh and did an outstanding job to close out the game in relief of Reller’s outstanding performance.”
The loss drops the Arrows to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the conference. PA travels to Windom for a doubleheader Friday.
Despite the loss, Zollner was pleased with the Arrows’ ability to overcome a sloppy start.
“I told the kids that we played a lot better in the second half of the game than in the first half,” the coach said. “We can’t give away so many runs, but generally we are a pretty good defense team. We came out and had three errors in the first inning. It could’ve been a lot worse, but Worthington left a lot of runners on base. We battled well the second half and had a chance to win. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
The win improves WHS to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the conference.
The Trojans travel to Montevideo Friday.
R H E
PA 002 004 000 0 — 6 9 6
WHS 400 200 000 1 — 7 7 2