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Sports briefs: Legion teams are up and running; Trojans finish historic state track meet today

baseball
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Legion goal: Be positive

The Worthington area American Legion summer baseball team is stocked with many proven ballplayers, and veteran head coach Tim Gaul is determined that the mood stays positive in the dugout and on the field.

Many players recently finished a high school season that was disappointing, but the Legionnaires opened on Monday with an impressive come-from-behind victory over Tracy. They are competing this weekend in a Friday-Saturday-Sunday tournament in Luverne. Their first game was scheduled for Friday against Russell-Tyler-Ruthton. Today (Saturday), they play Baltic, S.D., at noon, and at 3 p.m. they play West Central.

If the Legion squad does well enough, it will play some more on Sunday.

“I think there’s a lot of talent on this team,” said Gaul.

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Jake Brandner, an outstanding all-around talent, is a headliner. Coy Turner is a proven hitter with power, and Gaul believes Triston Sauerbrei will make a “huge” impact in a variety of areas. Mason Schutz is an outfielder with speed, and Cooper McCoy has untapped potential. Blake Ahrenstorff, a strong pitcher who’s still coming back from arm problems, could throw some important innings.

Two Worthington High School graduates who played for Minnesota West in the spring -- brothers Kent and Tommy Lais -- are key players both as leaders and for their abilities on the field. Kent “swings a mean bat,” said Gaul, and he will also pitch and play in the outfield. Tommy, another outstanding hitter, “has a cannon behind the plate. People are silly if they’re going to try to run on him,” said the coach.

Gaul’s son, Tate, is another WHS grad eligible to play Legion baseball who is also playing with the Worthington Cubs amateur team. He led the Legionnaires in batting last year and, as a team captain, takes a positive, measured approach to the game.

This summer, major efforts will be made to encourage positive vibes. Coach Gaul said the team can do very well this year if players don’t get down on themselves or each other.

“When you boot a ball, you don’t need somebody who’ll be down on you,” said the veteran mentor. “You need somebody to say, ‘Hey, you’ll get the next one.’”

Jr. Legion in business

Worthington’s Junior Legion baseball outfit won its season opener Monday, 5-0 over Tracy. Cade Grimmius threw five innings with two walks and 12 strikeouts, and he also had three RBIs. Ben Mahlberg scored twice.

Worthington hosted Edgerton Thursday night (results unavailable).

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Here’s the local roster for 2022: Grimmius, Mahlberg, Cutter Jacobs, Tucker Brandner, Ryan Lais, Mathias Noble, Anthony Quintanilla, Chase Byrne, Dawson Svalland, Brandon Bosma, Max Ostrem, Holdyn Sheppard and Dylon Sholes.

Trojan track extravaganza

By any standard, this year is a remarkable one for the Worthington High School track and field team. There are 11 events represented by the Trojans at the state meet. Finals in Class AA are today.

Has there ever been as large a state meet group as this one?

“I don’t remember the year, but I do remember we had a very big group. It was 2010,” said co-head coach Cory Smidt on a beautifully warm Wednesday afternoon -- the last day of practice at the WHS track before the contingent of Trojans headed off to St. Michael-Albertville High School.

060921 N DG Bailey Newman drill S1.jpg
Worthington High School track and field athlete Bailey Newman, shown practicing in a 2021 photo, is a state competitor at the Class AA meet. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

“I can’t remember the last time a Trojan athlete has been in four events (at state),” Smidt added.

Abagotte Opiew, of course, is in four state events for the boys meet -- the triple jump, the 110-meter hurdles, the long jump and the 4x400-meter relay. He established a new school record in the triple jump (44-10.75) at the sectional competition.

“I feel real good,” Opiew said Wednesday in Worthington. “When I was going to the section I felt prepared a lot. My teammates helped, too. They pushed me hard in practice.”

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The WHS junior recorded his school record in his first jump last week Friday in Waconia. He said he may have taken too many practice leaps before the event, and it appeared to wear him down a bit.

“It took a lot out of me,” he said.

It should be pointed out that though Abagotte represents Worthington in the most events, two stars on the girls’ team -- Bailey Newman and Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor -- are represented in three events. The Trojan girls, co head-coach Jessica Hogan said, don’t get the team scores the boys do (the boys placed first in the Section 2AA meet), but some of the girls are simply outstanding.

The results prove it.

Luverne at state tennis

The Luverne Cardinals were beaten twice in the team portion of the Minnesota state Class A boys tennis tournament Tuesday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. They were also unable to claim a victory in the individual portion of the tournament on Thursday.

St. Paul Academy beat LHS 7-0 in the first round of team competition, and in their second match the Cardinals lost to Minnewaska Area 6-1. Griffin Jarchow was Luverne’s lone victory.

In singles, Luverne’s Pierce Cunningham lost his match with Holy Family’s Michael Frost 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. In doubles, Jarchow and Blake Frahm lost to John Gorman and Enrico Petto of Breck School 6-4, 6-2.

Related Topics: SPRING HS SPORTS
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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