Legion baseball: Five-run sixth propels Worthington to win over Luverne

WORTHINGTON -- Luverne took leads over Worthington in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Post 5 answered both times as it won 6-4 in American Legion baseball action on Thursday at Worthington Middle School Field.Facing a 3-1 deficit in the bot...

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Worthington Post 5 pitcher Tucker Sorenson (27) attempts to pick off Luverne's Quinn Buss with a throw to Tyler Linder in Post 5's victory on Tuesday in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/ The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Luverne took leads over Worthington in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Post 5 answered both times as it won 6-4 in American Legion baseball action on Thursday at Worthington Middle School Field.
Facing a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth, Worthington hung five on Luverne as it sent all nine batters to the plate. Logan Huisman made it a one-run game as he scored from third on a wild pitch. Karter Honius drove in Tyler Linder with a grounder to the second baseman to tie the game, the throw to first was off target and Eli Gaul came around to score the go-ahead run as Honius was safe at first. Honius scored from third on a groundout by Mason Ellenbecker, and Shawn Hurley drove in Eric Heidebrink with a triple to left field.
“After the fifth inning was over and I sent them back into the field to start the sixth, I talked to them about a better approach, about keeping themselves level at the plate -- not trying to hit the ball to the fence -- so they weren’t hitting it in the air, and you saw more balls on the ground -- a couple infield hits,” Worthington manager Tim Gaul said.
The game was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings. Worthington’s Tucker Sorenson struck out eight batters and allowed only three hits through the first four frames. In that same time, Luverne’s Ben Serie allowed only two hits and didn’t let a baserunner past second.
“Tucker was on tonight,” Gaul said. “He had a couple walks here and there, but when he did have walks, he didn’t lose his composure and he battled through it. It’s always great to have a kid on your pitching staff that you know can throw -- I think he threw 123 pitches -- a lot of strikes.”
In the third inning, Sorenson gave up a hit and a walk to open the inning, but escaped the inning with three-straight strikeouts. He finished the game with 10 strikeouts, while allowing three runs on six hits in six innings. Hurley closed the game out for Worthington with a walk, a hit, a run and one strikeout in one inning.
“I call Shawn Hurley my security blanket,” the coach said. “Since he was a little boy, he always threw strikes.”
Serie accounted for three of Luverne’s four runs as he scored twice and drove in a run. He scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Then, in the sixth inning, he drove in Charles Reisch with a double off the wall in left-center, and later scored on a single by Trey Roberts.
Post 5 found production up and down the lineup as six players scored and nine players reached base.
This past weekend, Worthington went 1-2 at the South Sioux City Tournament, falling to the Omaha Gold Sox 2-1, defeated Pender, Neb. 10-6, and falling to Dakota Valley in 10 innings.
“(In the game against Dakota Valley), Logan Huisman pitched the best I’ve ever seen him pitch in his life,” Gaul said. “Throughout the game he was the spark plug. He pitched so well. We had bases loaded a couple times, we just couldn’t bring the runs in. In that game, I think we had 10 laser line drives at their guys.”
This Friday, Post 5 heads to the Alexandria tournament where they face a tough draw, playing Elk River, a highly-ranked team in Class AAA and Wayzata, the No. 1 team in Class AAAA.
“I don’t know if there’s a tougher tournament in the state than the Alexandria tournament, maybe the state tournament,” Gaul said.
Luverne 000 012 1 -- 4 6 2
Worthington 000 015 x -- 6 6 2

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