JACKSON -- A two-out Coy Turner double to right-centerfield plated the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning, and a gutty pitching performance by Triston Sauerbrei in the bottom of the inning preserved a 4-3 victory over Jackson Thursday night for the Worthington Junior Legion baseball team.
The first game in a doubleheader was Worthington’s first of the season. And the come-from-behind triumph in the six-inning game was very satisfying for the locals. They trailed 3-1 heading into the sixth, where they scored three runs to win the game.
“I just told ‘em I was proud of ‘em,” said head coach TD Hostikka. “That’s the 15th game they (Jackson) played this year. And we just played one.”
The deciding inning began as Worthington’s No. 9 hitter, Kaden Teerink, drew a one-out walk off Jackson left-handed pitcher Andrew Boyum. Sauerbrei followed with a line drive single up the middle. And when the next hitter bounced into a force out at second base, runners straddled first and third.
A stolen base put runners at second and third. Maxwell Morrison then drilled a one-hop liner to third base, but the ensuing throw sailed over the head of the first baseman and allowed one runner to score. The second run of the inning scored moments later when another errant throw occurred.
With the game tied 3-3, Turner -- a left-handed hitter -- made solid contact with the ball and lofted it between the center fielder and right fielder to allow Morrison to score.
Leading by a run heading into the bottom of the sixth, Sauerbrei -- who entered his third inning of work after relieving starter Blake Ahrenstorff -- needed to put up one more good inning of mound work to get the win. He had already made short work of the Jackson hitters in both the fourth and fifth innings.
But Jackson’s Chase Hamlett reached on an infield hit to start the home team’s half of the sixth. The next hitter struck out. Pinch hitter Tyler Hendricks singled to put runners on first and second base with one out. But moments later, Sauerbrei wheeled and threw to second. The throw was on the mark, the runner was late in getting back to the bag, and he was out. The next hitter struck out to end the game.
“He’s pretty crafty,” Hostikka said of Sauerbrei. “And the guy (on second) is thinking, ‘No one’s going to try to pick me off second base.’ He threw it in the right spot, and he slid into the tag.”
Hostikka also had praise for Turner’s timely hit.
“He has a real nice swing,” he said. “Kind of that natural left-handed swing. When he puts it all together he’s going to put it in the right spot.”
Worthington scored a single run in the top of the first inning and didn’t score again until the sixth. Morrison scored in the first after singling, going to second on an error, to third on a passed ball, and home on another passed ball.
Jackson got all its runs in the third inning off Ahrenstorff. Dylan Withers walked, went to second on an infield out, to third on a passed ball, and home on a wild pitch. A hard-hit double to left field by Peyton Handevidt drove home the second run. An infield error scored the third.
The second game was scoreless in the third inning when The Globe went to press. Sauerbrei started on the mound for Worthington and was relieved in the third by Turner.