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Section softball: Trojans fight hard against all odds, lose

NORTH MANKATO -- Odds were fairly stacked against the Worthington Trojans Thursday in the Section 2AAA softball tournament. But the odds never said the Trojans couldn't play with grit and enthusiasm. The Trojans, facing a powerful Mankato West sq...

3380878+Trojans VS Man Softball rgb.jpg
Worthington Trojan Payton Sauerbrei (12) receives the ball from Brittin Fauskee (right) in time for the force out of Jalissa Stoltzman of Mankato West Thursday in North Mankato. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

NORTH MANKATO -- Odds were fairly stacked against the Worthington Trojans Thursday in the Section 2AAA softball tournament.

But the odds never said the Trojans couldn’t play with grit and enthusiasm.

The Trojans, facing a powerful Mankato West squad in the tournament opener at Caswell Park in North Mankato, witnessed a team that had beaten them 17-0 in the regular season. The Scarlets are not only the No. 1-seeded team in 2AAA, they are the No. 1 team in the latest Minnesota Class AAA rankings.

Mankato West won as expected Thursday against the eighth-seeded Trojans. But the game could be called a fight. It finished 10-2 and went the full seven innings.

In Worthington’s second game of the day, Hutchinson prevailed 10-0 to oust WHS from the tournament.

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Elsewhere, in Section 2A, Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey defeated Mankato Loyola 9-6 in a quarterfinal contest.

Section 2AAA Mankato West got the offense going early, scoring four first-inning runs. By the end of the third inning, the Scarlets led 10-1.

Still, the Trojans kept plugging away, shutting out the Scarlets the rest of the way and adding a run of their own in the sixth.

“Our goal was just to go here and fight,” said head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka. “We wanted to play seven innings. If they score runs, we wanted them to earn ‘em.

“We played excellent defense. We really did. I’m just proud of the effort,” she said.

Emily Veroeven was the winning pitcher, going six innings. Sydney Ponto pitched for Worthington, going the full seven innings while walking nobody and striking out one.

Mankato West out-hit Worthington 13-5. Ponto went 3-for-3 for the Trojans with an RBI. Christina Shorter doubled and scored a run. Hailey Cauwels had another hit.

Arecely Vasquez scored a run for WHS and stole two bases.

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In the six-inning Hutchinson game, Worthington trailed just 2-0 through four innings, and only one of those two runs was earned. But the Tigers erupted with six in the fifth.

Ponto pitched again for the Trojans. She walked two and struck out two and allowed six hits.

Worthington had just three safeties, a single each by Brittin Fauskee, Cauwels and Shorter.

Worthington finished the season with six victories.

Worthington 001 001 0 -- 2 5 1Mankato West 415 000 x -- 10 13 2---Worthington 000 000 -- 0 3 5Hutchinson 200 062 -- 10 6 0 Section 2A Hailey Pidde and Molly Carnell each had a pair of hits and Carnell drove in three runs as Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey overcame a 2-0 deficit after three innings to beat Mankato Loyola.

Carnell was the winning pitcher, completing seven innings.

MLA/C, seeded sixth in the tournament, next plays second-seeded Sleepy Eye Saturday at Caswell Park in Mankato. Game time is 10 a.m.

MLA/C 000 432 0 -- 9 8 5Mankato Loyola 002 121 0 -- 6 10 5

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Worthington's Arecely Vasquez (5) steals third base and, after the ball bounces off the glove of Mankato West's Kenzie Grunst (14), rounds third and goes for home. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

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