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Worthington, Adrian legion teams set for district tourney

WORTHINGTON -- A 10-day layoff is something the Worthington Legion team has become accustomed to.

Worthington last played on July 17, with a 3-2 victory over Adrian.

"We actually had a 10-day layoff before that game, so I think we'll do just fine," Worthington head coach Todd Schroeder said of the district playoffs.

The fifth seeded Worthington team will open its postseason tournament tonight at 7:30 in Sleepy Eye, against the fourth seeded Sleepy Eye squad.

Sleepy Eye St. Mary's won the Minnesota Class A State Baseball Tournament, but Schroeder admits he doesn't know how many players from that team are on the legion squad.

Worthington, however, will have to focus on itself today.

"We need to pitch well tomorrow, and it actually comes down to hitting," Schroeder said Thursday. "It seems that if we score six or seven runs a game, we do quite well."

Worthington enters the game 11-8, but has been playing well as of late.

"The last five games or so we've hit the ball very well," Schroeder said. "Our pitching has been real good."

Schroeder said that it took a while for the team to really come together and find the right lineup to be successful.

"We were kind of out of position," Schroeder said. "It took us a good 10 games for us to figure out where the kids should be playing and where they play their best."

One key to the entire weekend for Post 5 is the amount of innings put on its pitchers. All tournament games will be nine innings, opposed to the normal seven-inning games Post 5 is used to.

"You can really go through the pitching; you have three games in a weekend, so you need five kids that can go out and throw at least three, four or five innings," Schroeder said.

While Worthington pitchers don't walk many opponents, Schroeder said that the defense will be another key.

"We just need to play good defense," Schroeder said. "They (the pitchers) make them put the ball in play, so if we can play good defense behind them, we'll be just fine."

The tournament is a double elimination format, and Worthington will play again Saturday regardless of the outcome.

Adrian AL to face MN Lake

WORTHINGTON -- With only five home games over a 25-game schedule, the Adrian American Legion team won't be out of its element when it travels to Springfield today for the district playoffs.

Adrian will face Minnesota Lake at 11:30 a.m. in the double elimination tournament.

Minnesota Lake and Adrian are not strangers this year. They faced each other earlier this season at the Jackson tournament. Minnesota Lake prevailed, 3-2.

Adrian head coach Greg Kruger said that he thinks playing Minnesota Lake prior to today will help Adrian.

"Sometimes they say you don't want to play a team that you've played before," Kruger said. "I know what their pitcher is; he throws hard. He was their No. 1 pitcher; they told us that. I think it's an advantage to us."

On the Adrian side, there is no question on the pitching.

"Cody Kontz is going to start the first game," Kruger said. "Cody's off-speed is what's going to do it. If his curveball is on, we're okay."

After Kontz, Adrian has a plethora of arms. Brandon Diekmann, Matt Gades and John Archer are among many players who could see innings on the hill.

Kruger admits his pitching is the team's strength, but hitting is a close second.

"One through nine has hit the ball well this year," Kruger said. "If we put our solid lineup in, we're above average in every spot."

For Kruger, he will finally have his full complement of players. Due to VFW and amateur baseball, players have been missing games. Last weekend, Adrian played Pipestone with just eight players.

"It will be nice," Kruger said about having his full team. "What we struggled with is pitching. I just couldn't believe it, we have 14 or 15 guys there, and all of a sudden we have eight."

One weakness for the Adrian team is not always being ready to play game in and game out.

"Our weakness is probably not getting up for games, but its summer and you just have to leave it go," Kruger said. "They know when to play. All of them will step up."

If Adrian plays like they are capable of playing, Kruger said he likes his team's chances.

"Anybody can beat anybody in this tournament," Kruger said. "I'd say we're just as good as anybody there, when we have our full team."