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Legion baseball: Emotions are high as Post 5 sweeps Madison

WORTHINGTON -- Emotions ran freely and so did the runs Thursday night as the host Worthington American Legion baseball team swept a twinbill from Madison, S.D., 15-14 and 16-6. An incident at home plate early in the first game added to an intense...

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Madison catcher Mitch Hansen missed the ball on this play at the plate but followed through with the tag Thursday night in the first game of a Legion baseball doubleheader, hitting Worthington base runner Eli Gaul 7 in the face with his glove. The incident angered Post 5 players, who eventually won 15-14. TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE

WORTHINGTON -- Emotions ran freely and so did the runs Thursday night as the host Worthington American Legion baseball team swept a twinbill from Madison, S.D., 15-14 and 16-6. An incident at home plate early in the first game added to an intense atmosphere and lots of chest-beating chatter, forcing Post 5 head coach Tim Gaul on more than one occasion to warn his players to control their fire.

They finally did. But on this night, no Madison pitcher could control their bats as they collected 31 runs and 27 hits in the two games.

“It was kind of old-school baseball,” Gaul said, “and unfortunately it wasn’t the way we want to play. We need to just let the scoreboard do the talking.”

In a wild first game where runs came in bunches, Worthington scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 12-12 tie, then had to hold on after Madison scored twice in the top of the seventh. The potential tying run was on third base with two out, safe there after Post 5 flubbed a rundown situation between third and home. But the runner didn’t score as Worthington pitcher Shawn Hurley got the last batter to ground out.

Earlier in the first game, the Madison catcher swung around to strike a Post 5 player in the neck after failing to secure a throw on a scoring attempt. For the remainder of the night, Worthington players played with a fire that was never quenched.

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In the bottom of the sixth, Hurley started a three-run rally with a one-out single and stole second on the first pitch. Torey Rogers walked and, after the next hitter rapped a weak grounder to third, Nate Braaksma walked to load the bases. A wild pitch was thrown to the next batter, Easton Sauerbrei, which scored Hurley. Sauerbrei then drilled a two-run double to deep left-center field, scoring two more.

Bryan Morales pitched three innings for Post 5 and Hurley pitched the last four frames, earning the win.

Rogers had two doubles, Eli Gaul had three hits, and Braaksma and Brandon Veen each had two.

In the second game Veen went 4-for-4 at the plate. Braaksma and Tucker Sorenson each had three hits and Trevor Wietzema had two.

One of Wietzema’s two hits was a long home run over the leftfield fence in the sixth inning. Not long after that, with two out, Braaksma slugged a bases-loaded three-run double to end the game early.

Russell went the distance on the mound, giving up six hits, walking four and striking out seven.

R H E

Madison 420 510 2 -- 14 11 5

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Worthington 340 053 x -- 15 11 3

R H E

Madison 010 104 -- 6 6 4

Worthington 108 025 -- 16 16 4

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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WORTHINGTON – The top 10 teams in Minnesota Class A high school gymnastics will be in Worthington on Saturday (Jan. 28) for the state True Team meet. Participating teams are Becker, Benson, Big Lake, Byron, Detroit Lakes, Mankato West, Melrose, New London-Spicer, St. Peter, and Worthington.
Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.