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LEGION BASEBALL: Worthington Legion outlasts Luverne 7-3

chris murphy/daily globe Luverne Legion shorstop Skyler Wenninger grabs the throw to force out Worthington's A.J. Hayenga at second base in a game Monday in Worthington.1 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Luverne's Reed Skattum delivers a pitch in a game versus Worthington Monday in Worthington.2 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion shortstop, Tommy Hayenga, throws to first during Monday's game against Luverne in Worthington.3 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion's Lucas Henning steals second against Luverne Monday night in Worthington.4 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion pitcher Lucas Henning delivers to home plate during Monday's game against Luverne in Worthington.5 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Luverne Legion catcher Cody Christensen throws to firstbase during Monday's game against Worthington in Worthington.6 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion's Aaron Pavelko steals second on a close tag by Luverne second basemen Connor Fitzer on Monday night in Worthington.7 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion second basemen Aaron Pavelko tags out Leverne's Cody Christensen Monday night in Worthington.8 / 9
Chris Murphy/Daily Globe Worthington Legion's Jon Reller is tagged out at home by Luverne catcher Cody Christensen on Monday night in Worthington.9 / 9

WORTHINGTON -- Coming into Monday's game, Worthington Legion battled inconsistencies at the plate even though they continued to win games.

"We have not been hitting the ball well at all this year," Worthington coach Todd Rogers said.

Monday's 7-3 win over Luverne remedied many of their problems in the batter's box. Worthington scattered 13 hits around the field, while starting pitcher Lucas Henning fanned six batters in six innings of work.

"At first, my command was a little bad, but I had defense behind me," Henning said. "At times I got the pitches over and I got them to swing. Like I said, I got defensive help today."

The game remained scoreless through three innings until Deron Soderholm of Worthington opened up the hitting with a single to center field. Aaron Pavelko hit in Worthington's first run three batters later with a one-out single up the middle.

"It was good to start hitting the ball again," Rogers said. "They are a good team. We really played well against a good team."

With Pavelko on second, after advancing on a wild pitch, Worthington's Blake Rogers hit a deep ball to the outfield and legged out a triple to put Worthington up 2-0.

The hit sparked a four-run third behind two RBI doubles by Tyler Hatterman and Jon Reller to give Worthington a 4-0 lead which they would never relinquish.

"It was a 3-1 count; I kind of knew they were going to throw me a fastball. I know the pitcher throws a lot of curveballs on 3-1 counts, so I just sat on the curveball and hit it right up the middle," Blake Rogers said. "I guess he fumbled it in the outfield, so I rounded second and picked up coach at third."

Worthington continued to find ways to get hits against Luverne starting pitcher Reed Skattum when they put together another multi-run inning in the bottom of the fourth. After two singles and a wild pitch scoring a run, Worthington's Tyler Verdoorn hit an RBI single to the outfield to put Worthington up 6-0.

"We've faced Reed a couple times this year," Henning said. "This is the first time we really hit him.

"A lot of guys got out of their slumps today, which was good."

Henning labored through six innings, although he only allowed four hits. His defense came up big for him.

"I knew we had the big lead, so I just kept trying to throw strikes," Henning said. "Sometimes I got them over for strikes, but the defense helped me out of it."

Even though Luverne put batters on base in six of seven innings, Worthington's defense was able to keep Luverne off the board until the top of the sixth inning. Although Henning wasn't at the top of his game, his teammates helped him preserve the win while only allowing one run.

"The first couple innings, he wasn't really good," Blake Rogers said. "His command just wasn't really there.

"As he got going, we got defense behind him which helped a lot. Usually he is an overpowering pitcher."

Henning's coach echoed Blake's sentiments.

"Lucas did well, he was a little worn there in the end, but six is enough for him," Todd Rogers said. "He did a good job and kept us in the game."

In an attempt to get his team hitting consistently again, Todd Rogers gave them team a pre-game pep talk, telling them that they needed to hit the ball. He told them the game was an important one that they needed to win.

"We hit the ball well tonight," Blake Rogers said. "There are nights we come out with five hits or so scattered everywhere and still win those games.

"When one person starts hitting then we all start hitting, so it was pretty contagious tonight."

AJ Hayenga rounded out the scoring for Worthington with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth to put the team up 7-0 going into the sixth.

Luverne's Skattum had an RBI single in the sixth and Richard Gonzalez had two RBIs on a single in the seventh, but Reller shut the door for Worthington, pitching the final frame.

Worthington will host Pipestone tomorrow with a 6:30 p.m. start.


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Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jordan Willi may be reached at 376-7335.