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18U softball: Storm takes second at state

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Worthington Storm 18U softball team poses with its plaque for taking second place at the state tournament in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD — The Worthington Storm ended its season on a high note Sunday when it capped off a 5-2 run at the ASA 18U State Tournament to take second place.

“It was a good year,” Worthington coach Joe Kinley said. “The girls had a lot of fun.”

After going 4-2 in its first six games and playing back through the consolation bracket, Worthington found itself in the title game against Sleepy Eye, a team it had beat just a week earlier in Fairmont. Unfortunately for the Storm, that is where they ran out of firepower as it took an 8-0 loss to take second.

“The girls were all pretty banged up and tired,” Kinley said. “We had to come all the way through the loser’s bracket and a lot of times that meant playing three games back-to-back with 15 minutes in between. We just ran out of gas.”

The weekend got out to a promising start, however, when the Storm went 2-0 in pool play on Saturday. It took convincing wins of 12-3 and 13-2 over the Morris Ottertails and Duluth Toppers, respectively.

The first signs of trouble came in the first round of bracket play when they dropped a 12-8 decision to the BGMR Gators. They turned things back around in a hurry, though, taking a 10-8 win over Fairmont to close out Saturday with a 3-1 mark.

Both of Worthington’s first two games on Sunday were rematches of contests from the day before.

The first of those was a 5-1 victory over Morris.

In that game, Ida Rogers-Ferguson pitched a complete game and allowed just one run on seven hits while striking out four and walking no one.

Much as she did all weekend, Betsy Thompson led the way at the plate. She was 3-for-3 while Paige Kinley went 2-for-2.

Thompson finished the weekend at a staggering 17-for-21. Kinley wasn’t too far off that mark, going 11-for-21.

The Storm got another crack at BGMR in the consolation finals and came away with a 6-2 win.

Worthington was on top 6-0 going into the sixth when the Gators got something going. It already had a couple runs in when Rebecca Kazemba fielded a basehit in the outfield and threw dart to Kameron Kroh behind the plate for an out. Alertly, Kroh got up and threw to Kinley at third to complete the unconventional double play.

Rogers-Ferguson went the distance again, allowing zero walks and striking out seven. In all, she pitched 29 innings and fanned 29 over the weekend.

Thompson was 3-for-4 with a home run in that game. Brooke Henning and McKenna Schreier were both 2-for-4.

The season came to a close one game away from qualifying for nationals when Sleepy Eye scored five runs in the first two innings to put the game away early.

Kinley, Bailey Grussing and Kroh all had hits for Worthington, which finished the season with a record of 21-5-1. Coach Kinely expects most of the squad to be back next summer.


Worth. 002 101 1 — 5 9 0

Morris 001 000 0 — 1 7 0


Worth. 100 140 0 — 6 13 2

BGMR 000 002 0 — 2 6 2


Worth. 000 00 — 0 5 2

Sl. Eye 231 02 — 8 4 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.

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