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Prep softball: Miscues haunt Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- Relief pitchers Jordan Ehlert of Fairmont and Erin Benz of Worthington shone Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Field, but it was a pair of unearned runs that helped the Cardinals break free from a 6-6 game to win 8-6 in the Trojans' ...

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TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Worthington second baseman Megan Kluever covers second base while Fairmont’s Mallory Gochanour slides in safely.

WORTHINGTON - Relief pitchers Jordan Ehlert of Fairmont and Erin Benz of Worthington shone Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Field, but it was a pair of unearned runs that helped the Cardinals break free from a 6-6 game to win 8-6 in the Trojans’ softball season opener.
Ehlert showed good snap on her pitches when she came on in the third inning in relief of FHS starter Kassandra Lopez, and Benz completed five innings in relief of WHS starter Katie Rogers, allowing five hits while walking just one and striking out two. Her ability to change speeds kept the Cardinals off-balance, but the home team defense wilted enough to spell the difference.
Fairmont, which defeated Luverne 16-15 on Monday in a 21-hit effort, out-hit Worthington 9-3 on Tuesday. The Trojans committed six errors.
“We didn’t hit as well as we can,” WHS head coach Josh Wasmund said. “And we didn’t field as well as we can. I thought, pitching, it was pretty good.”
In the top of the fifth inning with the score tied at six, a Cardinal hitter reached on a two-out infield error, moved up to third, then broke the tie as an easy pop-up was dropped in the Worthington infield.
The Cards added an insurance run in the seventh with the help of two more WHS mistakes.
Meanwhile, Ehlert, who came on in the third inning to quell a five-run Worthington outburst, kept the Trojans from scoring again. Worthington’s best opportunity fell by the wayside in the sixth inning when runners were stranded on second and third. Ehlert set down the home team 1-2-3 in the seventh frame.
Despite the final result, it was a good start to the year for Benz, who said she only saw five or six innings of pitching action with the varsity last year as a junior. She honed her pitching in the off-season during summer league, and she went to a couple of camps.
“That’s where I got my change-up. That’s when it really started to work,” she said after Tuesday’s game.
Worthington scored a single run Tuesday in the bottom of the first inning on a Brittin Fauskee double. In the Trojans’ five-run third, Lopez walked the bases full before walking in a run and sending another one home on a wild pitch. More wildness from Ehlert allowed the Trojans to score some more before the inning ended.
Wasmund said Ehlert was “effectively wild,” and some of his hitters, showing their aggressiveness, began swinging at bad pitches.
“I think some of the girls got down when they didn’t get a hit,” he said.
As for Benz, she hoped that Tuesday’s outing can be something for her to build upon.
“I was just trying to throw outside, trying to keep it off the middle,” she said. “Trying to mix it up a little.”
R H E
Fairmont 150 010 1 - 8 9 1
Worthington 105 000 0 - 6 3 6

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TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Worthington first baseman Morgan LeBrun keeps her foot on the bag to retire a Fairmont batter during the Trojans’ home opener Tuesday. The Cardinals scored late to take an 8-6 victory.

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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