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Prep baseball: Trojans win season opener over HL-O

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington shook the rust off and opened its season in winning fashion, topping Heron Lake-Okabena 5-2 on Thursday in Worthington. Though neither side was in midseason form this early in the spring, both sides showed some signs of...

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Worthington Trojans first baseman Tyler Linder (29) handles a pickoff attempt as Heron Lake-Okabena's Ethan Becker scrambles to get back to safety. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)
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WORTHINGTON -- Worthington shook the rust off and opened its season in winning fashion, topping Heron Lake-Okabena 5-2 on Thursday in Worthington.

Though neither side was in midseason form this early in the spring, both sides showed some signs of what they can expect moving forward. The Trojans used four pitchers, most looking fairly sharp, and got production at the plate from some key contributors. It took HL-O’s pitching a couple of innings to settle in, but once it did, the Wildcats looked competitive.

“It’s good to get a game in this early,” Worthington manager Stacy Sauerbrei said. “Both teams hadn’t been outside very much and that was pretty evident, throwing the ball across the diamond. You hope to learn things in a game early in the season and we learned a little bit about ourselves. We got some big hits in big moments, and other times we didn’t. All in all it was a good start.”

Logan Huisman scored the go-ahead run for the Trojans with two down in the bottom of the fifth. He hit an infield single and took second base after the throw to first careened past the first baseman. He took third on a passed ball and then scored from third on a wild pitch.

Worthington added two more runs in the sixth to pad the lead and give Huisman some insurance on the mound entering the final inning. Tucker Sorenson drove in Austin Svalland from third with a line drive between the first and second basemen. Eli Gaul then drove in Sorenson with a double to pad the lead at 5-2.

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“We’ve got kind of a veteran team, so that’s what you hope to get in a close game,” coach Sauerbrei said. “If you can separate a little bit in a close game, it helps.”

Shawn Hurley scored the Trojans’ first run of the game in the first inning -- driven in by Gaul -- and was 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a stolen base. Gaul, meanwhile was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs and a double.

“This was a good start for us,” Hurley said. “I hope I can come out and help the team out at the plate and on the mound going forward, and contribute more than just defensively this year.”

The Trojans used four pitchers in the victory, with Hurley getting the victory. Sorenson started, throwing two innings with four strikeouts, three walks and no hits. Easton Sauerbrei pitched the third inning, allowing two hits and striking out two. Hurley pitched the fourth and fifth, allowing one hit, one strikeout, and walking one. Huisman closed the game out for the Trojans, pitching the sixth and seventh, striking out five, walking one and giving up one hit.

“Our pitchers competed on the mound,” the Trojans coach said. “They were a little erratic at times, but that’s to be expected. We had hoped to pitch six, but I changed my mind mid-stride. So hopefully we’ll get a couple guys more looks in the next game.”

Ethan Becker scored both of HL-O’s runs and went 1-for-2 with a walk and reached on an error. In the first inning, he walked, advanced to second on an error on a pickoff attempt, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error. In the fifth, he reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Taylor Dewall drove him in with a single to left-center.

“They’re a good team,” Sauerbrei said. “We were expecting it to be a tough game. That team is going to win a lot of games.”

Heron Lake-Okabena 100 010 0 -- 2 4 2Worthington 100 112 x -- 5 8 5 Minneota 8, Adrian 7 MINNEOTA -- Adrian battled back with a five-run seventh inning, but it just couldn’t overcome its six-run deficit and fell to Minneota.

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Zack Loosbrock hit a grand slam for the Dragons in the seventh, but Adrian stranded the potential game-tying run on third.

Minneota built its lead with a six-run fourth inning, and scored all six with two outs.

Nick Harder had double, a single and 2 RBIs for Adrian.

Austin DeVlaeminck had a double and 3 RBIs for Minneota.

Preston Nuy pitched six innings and got the win for Minneota, allowing two runs.

Adrian 200 000 5 -- 7 8 1Minneota 200 600 x -- 8 4 2

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