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Russell, Huisman help Cubs earn split in Sunday doubleheader

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Worthington Cubs infielder Logan Huisman tries to catch a flipped ball for a force out at second base as Windom's Noah Kloss slides in safely Sunday in the first game of two at the Worthington middle school baseball field. Windom won the game, 2-0, but Huisman was the winning pitcher in the second game, a 4-3 victory over Heron Lake. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Adam Russell and Logan Huisman didn’t get the job done when they had opportunities to put the Heron Lake Lakers away Sunday night in an amateur baseball clash in Worthington. But they took advantage of second and third opportunities to get the job done en route to a 4-3 Cubs victory.

Russell’s one-out line drive single in the bottom of the seventh inning ended the game. Huisman pitched a complete game to earn the mound win after his throwing error in the sixth inning allowed Heron Lake to knot the score at 3-3.

In the fourth inning with Worthington trailing 2-0, Russell came up to the plate with two runners on base and two out. But he was called out on strikes and the would-be rally was snuffed. He came up again in the fifth inning with the bases loaded with a chance to add to a three-run inning (highlighted by a two-run single by Huisman to right-centerfield followed by a Ryan Swanson RBI single). But he hit an infield pop fly to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs’ first batter, Ethan Duffy, was hit by a pitch. The next hitter, Huisman, struck out. Designated hitter Swanson then doubled to the left field fence, putting runners on second and third base. Tyler Linder was hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Russell, who left no doubt as his hard liner screamed over the second base bag for the game-winner off Lakers reliever Eli Fest.

“I just felt good going up there -- felt I was going to get a hit,” he said later. “I was ready this time. I just went up there basically wanting to win the game. I just wanted to make contact, and it turned out good.”

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Huisman might not have needed Russell’s game-winning hit if not for his throwing error in the top of the sixth inning. It happened as Heron Lake had secured a runner on second base when the Lakers’ Eli Becker laid down a bunt which Huisman cleanly fielded. He elected to throw to third and would have had an easy out there, but his toss sailed and the tying run came home.

As a pitcher, however, the former Worthington High School standout athlete did very well. He checked the Lakers on six hits while stuffing the visitors in the top of the seventh inning following a leadoff walk and an infield error by a teammate.

“I’ve only pitched one other time before this. I just had to keep finding it, keep working at it,” Huisman said after the game. “I don’t put much pressure on myself. In high school if something bad would happen, I’d get discouraged, or I started thinking about it alot. Now, I just let it go.”

For the day, the Cubs went 1-1. They lost the first game 2-0 to the Windom Pirates in a good pitchers’ duel between the Pirates’ Collin Lovell and the Cubs’ Brayden Donkersloot. Windom scored single runs in the second and third innings off Donkersloot, who went the full seven. Lovell was dominant for Windom in hurling six innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight.

Donkersloot, another WHS grad, smartly worked out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, he pitched out of danger after allowing the Pirates to have runners on first and third base. In the fifth, Pirate runners were on second and third when Donkersloot struck out a Windomite for the third out.

Lovell threw hard for the Pirates and dominated the first inning by striking out the side. Worthington began its half of the second inning with consecutive hits by Swanson and Linder but they were unable to score.

In the Heron Lake game, the Lakers scored two runs in the top of the third inning on a two-run, one-out double to left-centerfield by Erik Jass.

Justin Jass hurled the first five innings for the Lakers and was relieved in the sixth by Fest.

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Worthington is in action again tonight (Wednesday) at Fairmont. Game time is 7 p.m.

First game

Windom 011 000 0 -- 2 5 0

Worthington 000 000 0 -- 0 4 4

Second game

Heron Lake 002 001 0 -- 3 6 0

Worthington 000 030 1 -- 4 8 4

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Conner Redman of the amateur baseball Windom Pirates motors to third base as Worthington third baseman Adam Russell awaits a throw Sunday afternoon in Worthington. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

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