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Cubs sharp in first on-field win of the season, 10-3

The Worthington Cubs amateur baseball team accomplished its first on-field victory of the season Wednesday, topping Adrian 10-3

Worthington Cubs player Triston Sauerbrei (4) gets a fist bump from player-manager Ryan Swanson (25) after scoring the first run in Wednesday's amateur baseball game with Adrian.
Worthington Cubs player Triston Sauerbrei (4) gets a fist bump from player-manager Ryan Swanson (25) after scoring the first run in Wednesday's amateur baseball game with Adrian.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- Finally getting their first real on-field victory of the season, the Worthington Cubs couldn’t help but wonder to themselves. See, that really wasn’t so hard, was it?

Playing in the friendly confines of the The Swamp, Worthington played nine smart innings in a 10-3 triumph over arch-rival Adrian on Wednesday night. With it, they advanced to 2-11 in league play. Their only other 2022 win had been last Sunday’s forfeit victory over Pipestone.

In a season that had, up till Wednesday, seemed like a bad dream, the Cubs had broken down regularly in the pitching department and on the defensive side in a string of one-sided contests. But something was in the warm, breezy air in the game against the A’s. The Cubs never trailed, and they did everything well -- and consistently.

Worthington Cubs first baseman Tyler Linder tags Adrian A's Jakob Olson for an out after Olson's led off of first base catches the eye of Cubs pitcher Brock Bruns (18) Wednesday evening.
Worthington Cubs first baseman Tyler Linder tags Adrian A's Jakob Olson for an out after Olson's lead off of first base catches the eye of Cubs pitcher Brock Bruns.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“Win No. 2 was an actual win for us, and we earned it,” said player-manager Ryan Swanson, whose two-run double in a five-run sixth inning gave his team a crisp 7-0 lead. “We had the magic formula, good pitching, good defense and we hit the ball. These guys are building their confidence. I’d say they’re getting in mid-season form. It shows you how good we can be.”

If the Cubs are rounding into mid-season form, it’s coming a little late. But better late than never.

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The lack of a shut-down pitcher has been Worthington’s major weakness, at least up till now. The pitching-by-committee mentality hadn’t worked until Wednesday, when starting pitcher Brock Bruns threw wonderfully for seven innings before Triston Sauerbrei came on to take the team home.

Bruns shut out the A’s for the first seven innings on a four-hitter. The two runs the A’s scored in the eighth were charged to him, but by then a Cubs victory seemed like a foregone conclusion. In many games this summer, Worthington succumbed by allowing one or two huge innings to opposing clubs, but that didn’t happen in this one.

“It feels great,” Bruns said after the game. It’s always great to get your first win. It was a little later than we hoped. I think once you get something rolling, it just clicks for a lot of things.”

Adrian A's Pitcher Mike Preuss has a conference on the mound with Catcher Garrett Sarringar as the bases get crowded during a Wednesday evening game hosted by Worthington Cubs.
Adrian A's Pitcher Mike Preuss has a conference on the mound with catcher Garrett Sarringar as the bases get crowded during Wednesday's amateur baseball game hosted by the Worthington Cubs.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Worthington scored a single run in the third inning after Sauerbrei -- who had three hits in the game plus a walk -- belted a leadoff double and later scored. Three more runs were plated in the fifth using hits by Eli Gaul and Sauerbrei, plus a nice bunt by Tate Gaul that moved runners up from first and second to second and third.

In the sixth, the Cubs broke the game open. Kent Lais and Bruns both singled. With one out, Sauerbrei hit a ground ball to third base that resulted in an error, loading the bases. A Tate Gaul grounder to shortstop led to a force-out at the plate, but Tyler Linder walked on four pitches, forcing in a run. Swanson then delivered his two-run double to right-center field. Logan Huisman followed with a two-run single.

Adrian scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth, but the handwriting for Worthington’s first on-field victory was already on the wall. In all, the Cubs amassed 11 hits off three A’s pitchers, Mike Preuss, Brandon Veen and Jordan Bertrand.

The A’s are 5-7 in league action.

For his part, Bruns credited his catcher, Eli Gaul, for his own solid performance.

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“I always feel good going into the game. I haven’t pitched a lot to Eli, but he had a good game. He was telling me where to throw, and he made a lot of good stops behind the plate. He was really a key to the game.”

The Cubs, now hoping to begin a winning streak, are scheduled to play at Hadley on Sunday in a 5 p.m. start.

Adrian 000 000 021 -- 3-9-4

Worthington 001 035 01x -- 10-11-2

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 dwolter@dglobe.com.
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