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Rested Worthington Legion to play Sleepy Eye

NEW ULM -- Advancing past the first round of the Division I, District 2 American Legion baseball tournament couldn't have been any easier for Worthington Post 5. The scheduled opponent, St. Peter, forfeited Thursday's game due to a lack of players.

Just how the non-game will affect Post 5, however, remains to be seen.

"I know the boys were a little upset about it. They wanted to play today," coach Todd Rogers said.

Whenever plans are made, then abruptly canceled, ramifications follow. Rogers had planned to pitch Mitch Baumhoefner against St. Peter, but he will probably use a different pitcher in today's 11 a.m. game against Sleepy Eye Post 7. Baumhoefner is not expected to be available today due to job requirements.

Despite that, the Worthington/Sleepy Eye contest looks like a good one on paper. Worthington is the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination tournament and Sleepy Eye is seeded No. 3.

Today's game will be played at New Ulm's Johnson Park. The winner will await a 1 p.m. Saturday game at the same location. The loser of today's game will play again tonight at Mueller Park in New Ulm.

Sleepy Eye, which has had an up-and-down summer season, appears to have righted itself after having played shaky baseball just prior to the district tournament. In its first tournament game Thursday, Sleepy Eye edged sixth-seeded Mankato American 2-1 behind pitcher Jordan Anderson, who pitched a complete game.

Anderson and Sean Mathiowetz have proven themselves a solid 1-2 pitching punch this summer, and one might expect Mathiowetz to get the call against Worthington.

That may not happen, however, as Mathiowetz, who played shortstop Thursday against Mankato American, has been fighting some arm troubles recently, according to Post 7 coach Bruce Woitas.

Sleepy Eye, now 8-7 on the summer campaign, stumbled into the district tournament having dropped its final two regular season games 10-5 to Mankato National and 16-9 to Mankato American. Woitas explained some of Post 7's regular season stumbles to players gone on vacation, inconsistent pitching and defensive mistakes.

"We've had a few games where it's like, 'Who's on that field?'" Woitas said.

When the team is playing well, pitching and defense are strengths. Those were in evidence Thursday in Round 1 of the district tournament.

Further evidence of Sleepy Eye's capabilities can be found in the fact that it has beaten New Ulm -- which is seeded No. 1 in the district tourney -- twice this season.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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