By AARON HAGEN
WORTHINGTON -- The visiting teams left Worthington in a good place after Monday’s high school baseball games.
With the regular season winding down, teams were hoping to start preparing for Saturday’s section tournaments.
For Adrian and Pipestone Area, the confidence is high after Monday night.
The Dragons defeated Worthington 16-5 in the first game before the Arrows downed the Trojans 13-4 in the nightcap.
“We were talking about ending the season on a 5-0 run and going into the postseason with a positive,” said WHS coach Brian Iverson, whose team entered the day on a three-game winning streak. “We’ve been playing pretty good defensively and we’ve been hitting the ball. We hit the ball around a little bit, but it’s hard when you’re down.”
Ian Stamer ran himself into the record books.
By swiping a base on Monday, Stamer -- a junior on Adrian’s baseball team -- broke the school record for most stolen bases in a single season.
“Adrian has always been good in baseball,” Stamer said. “A lot of athletes come out of Adrian. I’m just glad to be in the record books.”
He swiped his 24th base -- breaking Adam Diekmann’s record of 23.
“We do acceleration workouts in the morning on Mondays and Wednesdays,” Stamer said. “All of us guys like to enjoy that, getting up really early, grinding, getting good acceleration and getting faster as a team.”
Before getting a steal, Stamer has to reach base first. The key, he said, is “just really getting deep in the count and making sure he throws enough pitches that I can see him throughout the whole at bat and then hitting the ball.”
Stamer was on base plenty against the Trojans. He was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
“It was a good team effort today. We had a lot of kids who were hitting the ball hard. Brent (Hokeness) had a good hit in that inning. It was a good team effort,” Stamer said. “I had a good night tonight. Hopefully I can keep that throughout the playoffs and we can make a run.”
Adrian led 2-0 early, but used a 10-run third inning to break the game open. Hokeness (2-for-4, three RBIs) had a two-run double and Lance Luettel (3-for-4, three RBIs) followed with a two-run single. Marshall Wagner (2-for-3, three RBIs) also drove in a pair of runs in the inning.
“We were excited to play Worthington. We always like playing these guys, they are a good baseball team. We just came out and had fun today,” Stamer said. “As soon as one person starts hitting, it feels like the rest of our team can hit. It just gives everyone confidence batter after batter and it happened today.”
WHS answered with a run in the first, one in the second and three in the fourth, but the Dragons scored three in the sixth to end the game early.
“The season hasn’t gone exactly how we wanted it as far as the conference, but we always said we want to play our best baseball at the end, and hopefully we can do that,” Adrian coach Joe Kruger said. “We’ve been seeing the ball well. We’ve been hitting the ball well, so hopefully we keep the ball well. We’ve hit at times, we’ve played defense at times and we’ve pitched at times. We really haven’t done all three together. Hopefully that’s coming.”
Trojan Michael Iverson had two hits and drove in two runs, while Tommy Lais and Reynaldo Paniagua each had two hits.
Adrian 20(10) 103 -- 16 15 1
Worthington 110 300 -- 5 9 3Pipestone Area 13, Worthington 4
Isaiah Byrnes doesn’t mind hitting with two strikes.
In fact, the senior on Pipestone Area’s baseball team kind of likes it.
He took advantage of his favorite count early in Monday’s game. In the first two innings, he had two hits, scored twice and drove in four runs.
“I was just being patient,” Byrnes said. “Even with two strikes, I was choking up and getting close to the plate, just trying to protect and fouling off anything I can. My mindset is always trying to hit the ball hard, that’s all I’m trying to do is put the ball in play and good things will happen. Two strikes is almost my favorite count because I’m a lot more confident protecting the plate. I’m more picky and I feel like I can find holes.”
The Arrows scored three in the first as Byrnes drove in two and Reid Homann had a run-scoring sacrifice.
But PA broke the game open with a five-run second inning.
“Tonight we really saw the ball well, I think,” Byrnes said. “We were patient with our pitches and we waited for our pitches. Obviously we were making contact. That’s all we can ask for, finding holes, and that’s what we did tonight.”
The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday night in Pipestone. But with the impending forecast and the already wet conditions, the game was moved to Monday in Worthington.
“We were kind of surprised coming here at first,” Byrnes said. “We have a lot of preparation stuff that we have to do that makes us get focused in the game. We weren’t there 100 percent right away, but as we worked in the game, we were more into the game.”
And while the Arrows were putting the ball in play, the Trojans committed three errors in the inning.
“I feel a little bad for Worthington, too,” PA head coach Rick Zollner said. “Those guys just played a tough game before and didn’t have everyone going. I think they were a little flat. We got on them right away, so that was good for us. They battled back really well. They hit the ball extremely well. We had two of our better kids throwing. It was 9-4 and they were just a hit or two away from being right back in that thing. Give them credit.”
Matt Enger, who was 1-for-1 but reached base four times and scored three runs, had an RBI single in the third. The Trojans were able to score runs early as Daniel Pavelko scored in the first, Tommy Lais doubled and scored in the second and Reynaldo Paniagua reached on an error and scored in the second. Michael Iverson doubled and was plated on Adam Russell’s double in the third as WHS trailed 9-4.
However, Josh Tinklenberg threw the final three innings for the Arrows and shut the door on any comeback.
“The crazy thing is our relief pitcher (Tinklenberg) got his wisdom teeth pulled this morning,” Byrnes said. “It’s crazy he can come out here and pitch like that.”
Pipestone Area 351 010 3 -- 13 9 3
Worthington 121 000 0 -- 4 6 5