WHS SOFTBALL: WHS scores 8 in the final 3 innings to beat SJ 10-2WORTHINGTON — Breaking open a tight ballgame with back-to-back four-run outputs in the fifth and sixth innings Monday afternoon, the Worthington Trojans claimed a 10-2 victory over the St. James Saints in a non-conference high school fastpitch softball contest at Centennial Field.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Breaking open a tight ballgame with back-to-back four-run outputs in the fifth and sixth innings Monday afternoon, the Worthington Trojans claimed a 10-2 victory over the St. James Saints in a non-conference high school fastpitch softball contest at Centennial Field.
Rebecca Linder, who was one of five Trojans to smack two hits in the team’s 13-hit attack, drove in four runs — including two on a key two-out, bases-loaded single that snapped a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning. Haley Rogers followed with a two-run double, lifting Worthington to a 6-2 lead after five frames.
The Trojans, who improved to 8-6 overall, then scored four more runs on six solid hits in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding eight-run advantage (10-2) and secure a win for the first time since April 24.
“It was nice to see the girls hit the ball well and have some fun today,” Worthington head coach Sam Baumgartner said after the game. “We were knocking on the door for most of the game, but we didn’t get the big hit until Rebecca came through there in the fifth. That hit seemed to help us relax a little bit, and everything else fell into place for us the rest of the way.”
Angela Robinson hurled a complete game for Worthington, striking out six batters and allowing just two earned runs on four hits and one walk in seven strong innings. Robinson worked a trio of 1-2-3 frames (third, fourth and seventh) and faced just four batters in three others (first, second and sixth).
St. James (6-7) scored its two runs in the top of the fifth, stringing together three hits to tie the game at two runs apiece. Kendahl Rogers drove in Jacqui Oliver (lead-off single) with a fielder’s choice groundball, while Acacia Foss belted an RBI double to plate Rogers (after Darcie Bottem reached on a bunt single).
The Saints’ only other hit came on a one-out infield single by Olivia Schmidt in the sixth inning, but a nifty 6-4 double play — shortstop Betsy Thompson to second baseman Aleanna Heig — on a hard smash off the bat of Oliver helped Robinson and the Trojans keep St. James from any further scoring chances.
“That was a heads-up play by Betsy,” Baumgartner said. “She snagged a one-hopper in the hole with runners on first and second, went to step on third base and threw to second base. There was some confusion from the base runners as to whether she caught the ball on the fly, but it was still a great play nonetheless.”
Trojan catcher K.C. Riley’s snap throw down to Linder (third baseman) for a pick-off in the fifth was another defensive highlight for Worthington, which did commit four errors in the game. Robinson, though, was able to work around the Trojans’ miscues — throwing strikes and continuing to trust her defense.
“Angela pitched well and pounded the strike zone,” Baumgartner said. “She worked ahead in the count and effectively changed speeds, going seven solid innings and issuing just one walk. It was a great outing by Angela.”
Worthington had at least one hit in every inning except the fourth, which was a 1-2-3 frame tossed by Bottem (six innings, five strikeouts and four walks). Yadira Barragan cracked a one-out double to the opposite field in the bottom of the first for Worthington’s initial hit.
Robinson drew a lead-off walk in the second and went to second base on a single by Jenny Majerus. A passed ball and an RBI groundout by Linder then allowed Robinson to score for a 1-0 Trojans’ lead.
Paige Kinley (2-for-4) smacked a double to begin Worthington’s half of the third and advanced to third base on a single by Robinson (2-for-3). Majerus then plated Kinley with an RBI groundout, as the Trojans took a 2-0 lead.
Worthington had chances to score more runs in both the second and third, but some good defensive plays by St. James kept the damage to a minimum.
The Trojans, though, did break through in the fifth. Kinley reached on a two-base error to get things going before Barragan walked, and Riley (2-for-4) singled to load the bases with no outs.
A pair of infield pop-ups for outs came next, but Linder (2-for-4) delivered a huge single to right-center field — driving in Kinley and Barragan. Haley Rogers (2-for-4) then blasted a double to the fence in left-center, scoring Riley and Linder to give Worthington a 6-2 lead.
Thompson, Kinley and Riley each singled and scored in the sixth, while Robinson tagged a two-run double and scored a run to complete Worthington’s scoring with a 10-2 lead. Linder (RBI single) and Haley Rogers (ground-rule double) also had hits in the inning for the Trojans.
“We had our hitting shoes on throughout the lineup, with eight girls collecting at least one hit,” Baumgartner said. “This was a good game for us, as we had things clicking pretty well for the most part. We made good things happen and earned a nice all-around win.”
Worthington is back in action Thursday with a key doubleheader on the road against Redwood Valley. St. James plays at Fairmont today.
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