PREP BASEBALL: Henning earns all-state honorsWORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Lucas Henning didn’t find out in the most extravagant way that he could add “all-state” to his sports’ resume.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Lucas Henning didn’t find out in the most extravagant way that he could add “all-state” to his sports’ resume.
“I actually found out on Twitter,” Henning said.
Even though it’s hard to believe that everything on Twitter isn’t fact, Henning still didn’t believe it.
“I had to look it up for myself,” Henning said with a laugh. “I had to find out for sure.”
Henning was named to the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association Class AA All-State Team to officially end his athletic career with Worthington High School.
“It says I’m one of the best players in the area and one of the best players in the state,” Henning said. “It feels great to see all the hard work pay off.”
There seemingly wasn’t a ball Henning couldn’t hit and a batter he couldn’t strike out, leading the Trojans to their first Southwest Conference title since 1999. Henning was 33-for-54 (.611) with 25 runs and 13 RBIs.
On the mound, Henning struck out 58 batters in 43 1/3 innings with a 2.26 ERA and a 4-2 record, including back-to-back no-hitters versus Jackson County Central and Luverne.
“It didn’t happen by accident or luck,” WHS coach Stacy Sauerbrei said. “He’s made himself into the baseball player that he is through a lot of dedication and hard work.
“I would tell him to go get hit and he would say OK. When I asked for him to hit 50 balls off the tee, he would hit 75 or 100. After games, some guys go home. He’s one of those guys that would stay and rake the diamond. He’s not just a very good player, but he’s a team leader.”
Henning chose baseball over football and basketball to pursue at the next level, as he will play for Minnesota State University-Mankato next year.
“I like all three, but baseball has always stood out for me,” Henning said. “I think I can go farther with baseball.
“I still remember playing tee ball for the YMCA when I was real young, being around the guys and having fun.”
The crowd remembered Henning playing tee ball.
“As a coach, you notice when a kid is special,” Sauerbrei said. “Lucas showed signs of that when he was very young.
“When he was 10 years old and he would walk up to the plate, people would expect something special to happen. Sometimes kids like that progress and sometimes kids don’t, but he did. He stands out.”
Although Henning was proud of his individual accomplishments, no leader wants to end a season and career with a loss, as the Trojans did in a 2-1 loss to Pipestone Area in the opening game of the playoffs.
“I kept track of my batting average after every game and, after a couple games, I was doing good and then, in the middle of the season, I was still there and at the end of the season, I was still there,” Henning said. “It feels great that I got this accomplishment, but I would give it all away to go further in the playoffs.”
That leadership is irreplaceable to any team.
“Sometimes, when the chips are down, the coach rallies the kids around them when they come off the field,” Sauerbrei said. “This year, they rallied around Lucas.
“His leadership is something we will miss along with his talent.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy may be reached at 376-7328.