WORTHINGTON -- There was no quit in Worthington’s Legion baseball team on Thursday night.
Despite trailing 9-1 to a talented Sleepy Eye team, Post 5 made a valiant comeback effort.
However, the visitors had too big of a cushion in a 12-6 victory.
“It was awesome to see them not give up,” Worthington coach Tim Gaul said. “It was awesome to see a couple things go right and you saw the energy pick back up in the dugout. They were right back with the mentality that this is a good team, but so are we and we can play with them. I was proud of them that they didn’t just fold up their blankets and go home for the night.”
Early on, Sleepy Eye’s Carter Brinkman provided more than enough offense. He hit a towering two-run home run in the first inning and followed with a solo homer in the third. SE added two more and led 5-0.
Meanwhile, the Worthington bats were struggling as it took until the third to get its first hit.
“We’ve not been on the diamond for three weeks. I think that made a difference in how we came to the plate,” Worthington’s Austin Svalland said. “We were on top of the ball right away, but hitting to where the guys are, just like usual Worthington baseball.”
Post 5 pushed a run across in the third as Ben Rogers drew a walk and was driven home by Brayden Donkersloot (two hits).
However, after SE put four on the board, the home team responded. Will Brandner and Adam Russell each singled and Kyle Mullaney drew a walk. Rogers was walked to drive in a run and with two outs, Svalland was at the plate with the bases loaded.
Hitless in his first two at bats, Svalland made the most of his opportunity with a bases-clearing double.
“I was mad at myself for getting struck out right away and fouling out to the catcher is not always good,” he said. “The pitcher was pitching pretty hard and I just got the foot down and knew I was going to hit it. It felt good right off the bat.”
Post 5 added another run in the fifth as Turner Rogers walked and scored on a wild pitch, bringing Worthington within three, 9-6.
“Three weeks without going and someone pitching that quick, we were behind it. Luckily we got on the ball after a while,” Svalland said. “It helped that we got some people on base. Everyone just let it got and got kind of mad, I think, and just tried to crush the ball. That’s what happened at the end.”
Behind a two-run double by Kyle Domeier, Sleepy Eye scored three in the sixth to pull away.
“They are a pretty good hitting team,” Svalland said. “We play them again. We know what’s coming. It should be a fun game. It was fun today.”
The two teams will see each other again next week in the first round of the playoffs.
“We play these guys again Wednesday,” Gaul said. “We’ve seen what they got, we saw their best pitchers tonight, so we know we can play with them. We just know we have to come out of the gate ready to go. I think they will.”