By AARON HAGEN
WORTHINGTON -- Damon Schutz was creative in how he got on base.
In four at bats, he reached on an error, singled, walked and was hit by a pitch in Thursday night’s Junior Legion baseball game.
And in each of his four at bats, Schutz scored.
“It really helps when the rest of the team is hitting and you run around the bases pretty easily,” he said, but admitted that much running made him tired, “I’m not conditioned at all.”
Worthington pounded out 13 hits in a 16-6 victory over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.
“I think we played amazing,” Schutz said. “In the first two innings, we need to come ready to play. We were a little flat. Otherwise, the rest of the game was good.”
R-T-R led 3-2 entering the bottom of the third inning.
“I just had to give the team a little bit of a pep talk and just said, ‘Keep the gas going, don’t let up,’” Schutz said. “It happened.”
Worthington scored six runs on six hits in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a pinch-hit two-run single by Blake Ahrenstorff.
“The first at bat felt really good,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to get a hit, but it happened, so we got two runs on the board.”
Tate Gaul also had a two-run double in the inning as Worthington led 8-3.
But the offense wasn’t done.
“When your bats are alive, you win games,” Schutz said. “It’s not always defense, but defense is a big factor.”
R-T-R answered with two in the fourth and one in the fifth and narrowed the deficit to 8-6.
“Two times I called them out here and I said, ‘Just because a team comes in here, they are not going to roll over,”’ Worthington coach TD Hostikka said. “We’ve scored 47 runs in our three conference games and we’ve given up nine, including tonight. They’re thinking we won 18-2, we won 13-1, this is going to be easy. It’s not.”
However, Worthington answered. In the fifth, Jake Brandner, Brock Bruns and Michael Iverson each drove in a run to push the lead. In the sixth, Worthington put the game away.
An error plated two runs before Ahrenstorff had a two-run double in the inning.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Ahrenstorff said. “Just going up to the plate, I usually overthink it and it doesn’t really go well. I didn’t think about it this time. I hit the ball; the first strike.”
Nathan VanOrman had a walk-off RBI single to give Worthington a 10-run victory.
“We started off slow, but we ended up coming back and playing good overall with batting and defense in general,” Ahrenstorff said. “Once we started getting it handed to us, we started kicking it in the butt and started going.”
Iverson finished with three RBI, while Tommy Lais had three hits and Gaul had two.
“Everyone of my guys can hit the ball,” Hostikka said. “Everyone has hit the ball multiple times, it’s not just a rarity. I can count on everybody, there’s no glaring mistake in the lineup.”
R-T-R 102 210 -- 6 6 3
Worthington 116 035 -- 16 13 1