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VFW baseball: Post 3958 uses stellar pitching to sweep Luverne

LUVERNE — Worthington VFW Post 3958’s pitching was nothing short of dominant Monday in a doubleheader sweep of Luverne.

Jed Jewett, Nate Russell and Brian Morales combined to throw 14 scoreless innings, allowing just six hits along the way. Couple that with a stellar defensive showing, and Worthington finished off victories of 1-0 and 5-0.

“I was extremely pleased with our pitchers,” Post 3958 coach T.D. Hostikka said. “They threw a lot of strikes and we didn’t give up many walks. I was very pleased with how they pitched.”

The biggest key to success on the mound, according to Hostikka, was the ability of all three to throw off-spead and breaking pitches for strikes. That kept the Luverne batters off-balance for the duration of both games.

“They did a great job throwing their second and third pitches,” he said. “They used curveballs and off-speed stuff to set up their fastball. They’d throw that for a strike and come back with a fastball. So the batters didn’t really know what to expect.”

In the first game, it was Jewett going the distance. He fired a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 Worthington win.

Post 3958’s lone run came in the top of the fifth when Russell drew a walk. He moved into scoring postion on a stolen base before advancing to third on a basehit by Manuel Dominguez. He eventually scampered home on a passed ball to put his team on top 1-0.

Jewett struck out eight and walked only one in the complete game win. Matt Overgarrd took the loss for Luverne, allowing only four hits himself.

Dominguez led Worthington at the plate, going 2-for-3. King Blanchette was 1-for-2 with a double while Russell went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

“We haven’t played in a week,” Hostikka said. “I’d like to see us hit a little bit better than we did, but it’s been a while since we’ve been out there. I’ll take two games with the pitching and defense we got tonight.”

In the nightcap, Russell took to the hill and threw five innings of shutout ball before giving way to Morales. Meanwhile the Worthington defense was flawless.

Post 3958 got a single run in the first before earning some breathing room with two in the second. Single runs in the fourth and fifth put the game away.

Russell struck out seven, allowed two hits and walked only two in the win. Morales gave up one hit and fanned three in his two innings of relief work.

The bats picked up a bit for Worthington in the second game when it slammed seven hits. Shawn Hurley went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base with Tyler VanHove adding a 2-for-2 night. Russell helped himself with a triple, an RBI and a run scored. Blanchette and Easton Sauerbrei finished with a run driven in and one scored, respectively.

With the win, Worthington improved to 12-9 overall and 4-1 in league play. It will take on Pipestone in its league finale at 6 p.m. Thursday at home all but locked into the second-seed in the postseason.

Hostikka hopes Monday’s performance was a sign of a strong stretch run to the summer of 2014.

“Luverne’s a quality program,” he said. “They’re well-coached, they never give up and they always do things well fundamentally. It was nice to get two wins against a team like that.”


Worthington 000 010 0 — 1 4 1

Luverne 000 000 0 — 0 3 0


Luverne 000 000 0 — 0 3 0

Worthington 120 110 x — 5 7 0

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

(507) 376-7335