WORTHINGTON -- Bouncing back after staking Marshall to a 3-0 first inning lead, the Worthington Trojans baseball team led 5-4 after three frames Tuesday at the middle school field, then finally succumbed 6-5 to their Big South Conference rivals.
WHS received a solid performance from senior left-handed pitcher Kent Lais, and timely hitting fueled the comeback. But it was in the top of the fourth inning where the Tigers scored their fifth and sixth runs, taking advantage of two Trojan mistakes.
With runners on second and third base with two outs, Trojan catcher Jake Brandner made a surprise throw to third to catch the runner napping, but the throw went past third and into left-field, resulting in a run. The runner on first motored to second, later scoring on an infield error.
There were no hits in the inning.
“We usually don’t like to hit, and we like to field. And today we didn’t like to field, but we hit,” said Worthington head coach Skyler Wenninger. “Now we just gotta put those two things together and we’ve got a pretty good team.”
Worthington is 2-5 on the spring season.
Lais settled down after a shaky first inning where he allowed three hits, walked one batter and was charged with a balk. The first of four Worthington errors occurred in the first.
In the bottom of the second, the Trojans scored twice. With one out, Tate Gaul was hit by a pitch. Coy Turner, who had two hits in the game, doubled over center fielder Josh Baker’s head to score Gaul. Turner went to third on a throw home, then scored himself on a wild pitch.
Marshall scored a single run in the third, but Worthington answered with three in the bottom of the inning. The first two WHS batters made outs, but Brandner doubled and Damon Schutz walked before Gaul delivered an RBI single between shortstop and third base into left-center field. Turner followed with a well-hit two-run shot to left-center as left fielder Connor Neubeck bobbled it.
Marshall used three pitchers in the game. Jack Bly pitched two innings, Jacob Eben pitched one, and Mitchell Bowman finished.
The Trojans had several chances to score the tying run after MHS assumed its 6-5 lead. In the fifth, they put runners on first and second base with two out, but second baseman Seth Radtke made a diving catch of pinch hitter Cooper McCoy’s sinking liner for the final out.
Down to their last at bat in the seventh, Bowman walked lead-off hitter Michael Iverson. But pinch runner Blake Ahrenstorff was promptly doubled off first when Brandner lined out to second. Schutz singled to keep hope alive, but Gaul was called out on strikes to end the game.
Wenninger praised the performance of Lais, who hurled six and one-third innings before being relieved by Gaul. The gutty left-hander allowed eight hits in the game while walking three and giving up four earned runs. He mixed his fastball well with his curve.
“He’s strong. He put in a lot of time in the weight room. And I think it helped him with his velocity and confidence, and just being able to compete,” Wenninger said. “He did a real good job coming after hitters.”
Marshall 301 200 0 -- 6 8 1
Worthington 023 000 0 -- 5 10 4