College baseball: Minnesota West impressive against Dordt JV

BY DOUG WOLTER WORTHINGTON -- In the only two home games of the 2018 spring baseball season, the Minnesota West Bluejays eloquently demonstrated the breadth of their talent Wednesday. In beating Dordt JV at the Worthington midd...

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The Minnesota West Bluejays' Jeremie Garcia collides with Dordt JV catcher Jacob Vanderwilt on his way to home plate Wednesday in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)



WORTHINGTON -- In the only two home games of the 2018 spring baseball season, the Minnesota West Bluejays eloquently demonstrated the breadth of their talent Wednesday.

In beating Dordt JV at the Worthington middle school field 15-0 and 8-3, the Jays showcased strong pitching, timely hitting and power.


Five West pitchers combined to shut out the Defenders in the first game on three hits, striking out 13. Four other hurlers held Dordt to three runs and five hits while striking out 12 in the second game.

Minnesota West collected 26 hits in the two seven-inning games. Andres Lopez hit two home runs in the opener, and Angel Sanchez also cleared the fence. In the second game, area products Darrius Johnson (Jackson County Central) and Easton Sauerbrei (Worthington High School) homered, as did Jose Zabala.

The Worthington Trojans’ home field was selected for the game because the area near the college field is undergoing a messy transformation.

At the same field where he played his high school ball, Sauerbrei selected a low pitch and golfed his homer high over the left field fence.

“That is the first time I ever hit a moon shot home run, because it went so high,” said Sauerbrei, who also drove in two runs in the first game with a sacrifice fly and a single. “When I was on the field before the at bat, I was thinking I should try to do something good at the plate so I could be more sure of a spot. I saw some of the other guys hit ‘em, and I thought, ‘If they can, why can’t I hit one, too?’”

In the same second game, Sauerbrei’s former WHS teammate, Tucker Sorenson, started on the mound and held Dordt JV scoreless on one hit through the first three innings.

“I just felt good. Felt good pitching on the high school mound again,” Sorenson said. “I’m trying to use my legs more. I know that when I was in high school, they told me I was all upper body, so I’m trying to use my lower legs. Here (at the college level), you have to hit your spots because they’ll get ahold of it if you’re not on target.”

Dordt JV wasn’t on target much at all in the two games. Decker Quintana, Izak Davenport, Michael Middelkamp, Kevin Munoz and Ricardo Reyes all pitched well for MW in the first game. And in the second game, Sorenson, JanKarlo Flores, Jonathon Vincente Vega and Jeremie Garcia all pitched well enough to move West toward a sweep.


“We had a plan of pitching so many pitchers, and those pitchers knew what they had to do. I don’t know where that (batting) power surge came from, but I’ll take it,” said head coach TD Hostikka.

Minnesota West’s essence this spring is its pitching and its speed. The Bluejays stole 12 bases in the two games on Wednesday.

They hit a lot of line drives, too. Sanchez and Lopez each had three hits in the first game while Nelson Hopkins, Carlo Zarola and Nathaniel Owens each had two. The Jays dominated early, scoring five runs in the first two innings and adding eight more in the third to take complete control.

The second game was scoreless until the bottom of the second inning when West plated three on a two-run Johnson homer and a solo shot by Zabala.

West led just 5-3 in the sixth, but in the bottom of the inning Sauerbrei took out his 5-iron for his solo shot, then scored on a Zabala sacrifice fly. Peyton Smith doubled off the right-centerfield fence to bring home the third run of the inning.

Hostikka declared the games a good tune-up for what comes later. The Bluejays will play four games against division opponents Saturday and Sunday in Austin before looking ahead to double-elimination tournament play May 12-13 in Rochester, where they hope to qualify for the regional tournament May 16 in St. Cloud.

First game

Dordt JV 000 000 0 -- 0 3 2


Minnesota West 148 020 x -- 15 16 0

Second game

Dordt JV 000 021 0 -- 3 5 1

Minnesota West 030 113 x -- 8 10 3


Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
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