WHS SOFTBALL: With their first finish above .500 in nearly a decade in 2012, the Trojans are on the riseWORTHINGTON — The 2012 season marked the first time that the Worthington Trojan softball team has recorded a winning record since coach Sam Baumgartner can even remember.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The 2012 season marked the first time that the Worthington Trojan softball team has recorded a winning record since coach Sam Baumgartner can even remember.
“I think it has to be the early 2000s,” Baumgartner said. “We feel like in the last several years we’ve been taking steps forward and been building a formidable team.
“It’s another step in the building process.”
The Trojans finished with an overall record of 11-9 and 6-6 in the Southwest Conference, which earned the squad third place in the standings behind Pipestone Area (12-0) and Redwood Valley (10-2).
Following a 1-3 record to start the season, WHS rattled off a six-game winning streak to improve to 7-3 at the season’s mid-point. The locals dropped five of their next six games, falling to at 8-8 before winning the final three games of the regular season to take an 11-8 mark into the postseason.
The Trojans’ season ended in the first round of the Section 3AA playoffs, as the St. James Saints edged WHS, 2-1, May 22 in Pipestone. The Trojans won a regular-season contest with the Saints, 10-2, May 7 in Worthington.
“It was a little disappointing,” Baumgartner said. “We expected to perform a little better, but that’s the way softball playoffs go.
“Last year, we were the lower seed that beat a higher seed and this year it turned around on us. We just weren’t able to get things to go our way. It was a very close game, but they made a couple of big defensive plays and kept us from getting any momentum.”
Senior pitcher Angela Robinson led a core of five seniors in the successful WHS campaign.
The right hander hurled every inning from the circle, finishing with 122 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.69.
Robinson led the team with 24 RBIs, while scoring 17 runs and was second on the team in batting average at .409 (27-for-66). She clubbed a pair of home runs to go with six doubles.
“Angela Robinson is a quality performer at the mound, at the plate and as a teammate,” Baumgartner said. “She’s been a remarkable player that has helped the softball program come along.”
Jenny Majerus blasted a home run and doubled five times, while finishing with an average of .381 (24-for-63). The senior outfielder had 15 RBIs and scored 10 runs.
“Jenny Majerus was one of the most improved Trojan athletes,” Baumgartner said. “She definitely had a breakout year and she’s one of those players that shows if you put in work in the offseason, it will pay off.”
Seniors Kari Suby, Grace Harms and Haley Rogers also made valuable contributions to the team.
Rogers scored six runs, had six RBIs and totaled a .280 average with three doubles, while Harms scored a run and Suby had one double, three RBIs and five runs scored.
“Suby was one of those players that was able to contribute in so many ways,” Baumgartner said. “Rogers came up with some really big hits.
“Harms was very positive and just loved the sport of softball no matter what her role on the team was.”
Rebecca Linder batted at a .421 clip (24-for-57) to lead the squad. The sophomore first baseman had four doubles, six RBIs and 11 runs.
K.C. Riley nearly joined Linder and Robinson in the .400 club, as the junior catcher batted .393 (22-for-56) and tallied eight extra-base hits (one home run, one triple and six doubles). Riley scored 17 runs and drove in 17 runs.
“The return of Riley behind the plate was huge,” Baumgartner said. “She’s just a great athlete.
“She just shuts down other teams’ running games in so many ways with her defensive ability behind the plate.”
Sophomore Paige Kinley batted .353 (24-for-68) and led the team in runs scored (24) and extra-base hits (seven doubles, three triples). The infielder had 17 RBIs.
Yadira Barragan was the sixth and final Trojan to bat above .300, as the junior outfielder was 16-for-52 for a .308 average. The left hander scored 17 runs, had eight RBIs and legged out two triples and a double.
Junior third baseman Brandie Timmerman doubled four times, while driving in six runs and scoring five runs.
Additional contributions to the squad included a double from each sophomore Aleanna Heig (seven runs, three RBIs) and freshman Betsy Thompson (six runs, one RBI), while junior Kara Honius had two RBIs and scored five runs and Valerie Cano scored a run.
The Trojans batted .315 as a team and scored 132 runs in their 20 games.
The Trojans lose two starters to graduation, so getting above .500 is becoming expected rather than wanted.
“We have a good nucleus coming back,” Baumgartner said. “We lose Angela (Robinson) and Majerus, who saw significant starting time, but we return seven of the nine positions.
“The future looks bright. We’ll need someone to step up and replace Angela (Robinson) on the mound, but the future looks bright for the softball program.”