VFW BASEBALL: Worthington VFW sweeps doubleheaderWORTHINGTON — It was a long night for the Worthington VFW baseball team, but picking up two wins in a doubleheader Friday night against Lennox, S.D., made it all worth it.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — It was a long night for the Worthington VFW baseball team, but picking up two wins in a doubleheader Friday night against Lennox, S.D., made it all worth it.
In Game 1, Worthington would jump out to an early one-run lead in the bottom of the first. After being advanced to second on a bunt by teammate Logan Thuringer, Tristan Sorenson would score on a wild throw as he attempted to steal third.
“In Game 1 we hit, we did a lot of nice things in the field and ran the bases fairly well,” Worthington coach T.D. Hostikka said. “We were aggressive in our base running in Game 1.”
Sorenson would cruise through the top of the second, allowing only one hit and striking out one.
“My fastball was working,” Sorenson said. “I was trying to mix things up with my pitches, use some off-speed stuff and letting my defense take care of it.”
The score would remain the same until the top of the fourth when Sorenson would give up three consecutive walks before getting a groundout to first. However, a runner would score on the throw to first, tying the game 1-1.
The next two batters would single to give Lennox a 3-1 lead, but Sorenson would battle back, striking out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
The flood gates opened for Worthington in the bottom of the fourth when Post 3958 scored five runs to take the lead. After a hit batter and a single put two men on base for Worthington, Trevor Wietzema would hit a two-run double to the outfield to tie the game at three.
“The things I liked about Game 1 was that we battled back and got ahead,” Hostikka said. “Then we didn’t stop.”
Lennox would get two outs on Worthington, but a single by Sorenson would bring another runner home, giving Post 3958 the lead once again.
“When we have a lead we do a lot better because we have confidence at the plate,” Sorenson said. “That is when we do really well. We are not afraid to let things happen because we know it isn’t the end of the game. We just have to keep our heads on the plate.”
A walk to the next batter would put two runners on the bases for Ryan Lee, who would hit a bases-clearing single to put Worthington up 6-3.
“Lots of times when these young guys get ahead, they just relax and you know we got to go back out there and put pressure on them,” Hostikka said.
And Worthington did just that, scoring four more runs in the bottom of the fifth on five hits, three of which were doubles.
Even with the lead, Sorenson continued to dominate Lennox batters, striking out another three batters while only allowing one hit in the top of the sixth.
Worthington would bring Game 1 to an early end in the bottom of the sixth when it posted three more runs to give Post 3958 a 10- run lead. The first run of the inning would come on a throwing error by Lennox with two runners on base allowing a runner to score from third.
The last two runs of the game would come off another error by Lennox which would allow two runners to score off a single to the infield, giving Worthington the win 13-3.
Game 2 of the doublejeader would be a much closer game, with Worthington battling till the end to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to get the 5-4 win.
“Going from a 10-run game to a tie game in the seveth inning, we just knew we couldn’t lose to these guys,” Sorenson said. “We just have to keep battling back and forth until we score. They are a good team and played really well. We know we just have to play the normal baseball we always do.”
Lennox’s starting pitcher, Jordan Harrington, would pitch all eight innings in the second game despite picking up the loss.
“That pitcher [for Lennox] pitches for their varsity team and he is pretty good,” Hostikka said. “He is probably one of the better pitchers we have faced all year. So I told them to go up there with confidence and hit the ball, put the ball in play and use our speed again.”
Once again, Worthington would jump out to another early lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first frame to take a 2-0 lead. A bunt single and a stolen base by Sorenson would put a runner on second for Lee who hit an RBI double to score the first run of the game. After two wild pitches, Lee would score from third to put Worthington up two.
Roque Soto would sail through the first two innings before being relieved by Wietzema in the bottom of the third. Things would not go as smoothly for Wietzma in the top of the third.
After striking out the first two batters, Wietzma would give up a single and an RBI double before Harrington smashed a two-run home run for Lennox to give them a 3-2 lead.
“In that game, three of their four runs were unearned,” Hostikka said. “So we had to battle back and they did.”
Oliver Wolyniec would get to pitch in the top of the fourth for Worthington and would only give up a single before getting out of the inning.
Things would remain the same until the bottom of the fifth, when Lennox would commit a series of errors to keep Worthington alive and allow two more runs to give Worthington a 4-3 lead.
Lennox would answer back in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single to tie the game.
It would become a pitcher’s duel between Harrington and Worthington’s bullpen.
The winning run would come in the bottom of the eighth inning after Sorenson laid down a bunt single to put a runner on the bases. In the very next at-bat, Thuringer sealed the win for Worthington with another bunt single which forced Harrington to commit a throwing error to first which allowed Sorenson to score.
“I told Logan [Thuringer] to get the ball down and lots of times they try to throw the ball over you to get it to first. And he just threw it down the line, and that is exactly what happened.”
Worthington VFW (20-8, 7-3) next plays in Granite Falls on Monday.
Game 1 R H E
Lennox 000 300 — 3 5 2
WGTN 100 543 — 13 12 1
Game 2 R H E
Lennox 003 001 00 — 4 7 3
WGTN 200 020 01 — 5 7 2
Daily Globe report Jordan Willi may be reached at 376-7335.