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Becker helps boost Coyotes over Trojans, 7-6

WORTHINGTON -- Eli Becker didn’t get much sleep before Friday’s game.

But it didn’t seem to bother him.

Becker, a senior on Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda’s baseball team, had two hits, scored twice and earned the win on the hill as the Coyotes used a walk-off wild pitch to take a 7-6 victory over Worthington.

“We played good for the first game,” Becker said. “We haven’t had much practice on the field because the field is so wet. It’s been mostly indoors. The kids played pretty well for the first game and first time really being outside and playing on the field. Everybody stepped up.”

The Heron Lake seniors had been on a class trip to New York and arrived home early Friday morning.

“We got back this morning at 12:30 and I didn’t get home until 1,” Becker said. “I didn’t get much sleep on the airplane or the bus. I’ll probably sleep good tonight.”

In fact, Becker wasn’t sure he was up to pitching. But when head coach Chad Knutson called on him, he gave the Coyotes three solid innings in relief.

“I didn’t want to (pitch); I was a little tired from the trip,” Becker said. “Coach needed me, so I was like ‘Might as well, see how it goes.’ After the first inning I pitched, it started getting better and just went with it.”

HL-O/F took a 2-0 lead in the third inning as Becker and Matt Madsen each scored. But WHS responded with five runs in the fourth.

Ben Rogers had a single and scored, Tommy Bauman drew a walk and scored, Reynaldo Paniagua reached on a bunt single and scored, Turner Rogers singled and scored and Adam Russell reached on an error and scored. Brayden Donkersloot and Will Brandner each had an RBI.

But the Coyotes answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs as Eli Fest walked and scored on Becker’s single. Becker later scored on Tyson Dirks’ single.

The Trojans took a 6-4 lead in the fifth as Ben Rogers scored and later scored on a wild pitch.

HL-O/F tied the score with two in the fifth as Tyson Cotter singled and scored and Fest reached on an error and scored.

“We know where we have to go,” WHS coach Brian Iverson said. “That’s what I talked to them about. It was only Day 2 outside, so we will expect mistakes early, but we have to rebound quickly because we’re back at it on Tuesday. They will field the ball. We made some mistakes today that aren’t typically Trojan baseball mistakes. We had a few errors and we started throwing it around a little bit. I told them to have a short memory.”

The Coyotes won the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh. The bases were loaded with three walks -- and with Becker at the plate -- a wild pitch scored the game-winning run.

“It’s always good to start out on top,” Becker said. “We just got back from the class trip and hadn’t practiced for a while, so it was a little iffy on playing. We came out and fought. We got down a few times, but came back and fought back and ended up pulling out the win at the end.”

Worthington 000 510 0 -- 6 7 5  HL-O/F 002 220 1 -- 7 6 5
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