WORTHINGTON -- What’s any self-respecting amateur baseball team to do when playing the Luverne Redbirds?
Throwing strikes is essential, of course. But throwing strikes at the Redbirds usually just means that you’re going to give up a lot of line drive hits. And that’s what happened to the Worthington Cubs Wednesday night in a game at the local middle school field. Luverne collected 13 hits in a 15-4 seven-inning victory over the Cubs.
“They’re very good hitters. They’ve always been,” said Cubs player-manager Ryan Swanson. “It’s hard to keep up with them sometimes.”
Luverne scored two first-inning runs off Worthington starter Tyler Linder, who pitched well and kept the ball around the plate. But a two-run two-out double by Derek Lundgren was the big blow.
Three more runs scored for the Birds in the third on an RBI double by Skyler Wenninger and RBI singles by Logan Norman and Jake Haugen. Six scored in the fifth -- all after two were out -- off Cubs reliever Brock Bruns as Cade Wenninger, Kendall Meyer and Ben Serie had the big hits. Four more runs crossed the plate in the final two innings off Cubs pitcher Triston Sauerbrei.
Worthington scored once in the third against Lundgren, who hurled six innings. A run-scoring single by Tate Gaul put the Cubs on the board, and three more Cubs runs scored in the fifth on an RBI single by Swanson and a two-out two-run single by Logan Huisman.
Pick your poison against the Redbirds. Throw a lot of strikes and hope they hit the ball right at you. Or nibble on the corners of the plate and hope the umpire has a wide strike zone.
“It’s one or the other when you play a team like them,” said Swanson. “You gotta hope that they have a really bad day.”
Looking ahead, the veteran Swanson believes the Cubs are in for better days. And if they can find a dominant pitcher, their fortunes can only improve.
“The kids are starting to grow up a bit. You can see their confidence is growing. The future looks bright. We just need some pitchers to help us out,” Swanson said.