WORTHINGTON -- Haley Grimmius always takes the same approach at the plate, no matter the situation.
So when she had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the seventh inning, the ninth-grader on Worthington’s softball team didn’t look at the at-bat any different.
“I just think that every time I do the same routine no matter if it’s game-winning or anything,” she said. “I just let that all go out of my mind.”
Grimmius delivered an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning to send the Trojans to a 4-3 victory over St. Peter in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“It’s a big stride for our team,” Grimmius said. “It brings confidence to the rest of the year.”
The Saints, who finished second in Class AA last year, took the first game 8-0.
“They are an elite program, so that’s a big win for our program,” WHS head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We were kind of down after the first game. We just didn’t hit the ball. Like we said to these guys, there’s nothing you can do about the first game, so why be down about it or worry about it, just come back. We did a great job. Defensively, I thought we played really well. Haley pitched a great game. We hit the ball. What more do you ask for?”
Grimmius not only delivered what was the game-winning hit, but she earned the victory in the circle.
“I knew I had to hit certain spots because the umpire’s strike zone was tight. My defense was great behind me,” said Grimmius, who allowed three runs on 10 hits, struck out four and didn’t issue a walk. “I just mixed my pitches. I put it where I was supposed to put it and knew my defense would come through behind.”
St. Peter struck first in the nightcap with a run in the second, but WHS answered in the top of the third. Hailey Cauwels led off with a double and scored on Grimmius’ double. Kara Thuringer (running for Grimmius), scored two batters later on Sydney Ponto’s single.
“I think we adjusted at the plate better the second game and we were able to string hits together to produce runs,” said Grimmius, who went 4-for-4 with two doubles and drove in two runs in Game 2. “I just knew that I had to be on time. The first game I didn’t hit as well as I wanted to, so I used it as motivation for the second game.”
After the Saints tied the game in the third and took the lead in the fourth, the Trojans answered with a run in the fifth. Grimmius doubled and her courtesy runner -- Thuringer -- scored on Sophie Wietzema’s single.
With the score tied at 3 in the top of the seventh, Payton Sauerbrei walked and stole second.
“I honestly feel like if Payton gets on, it’s going to be a rarity that she doesn’t score,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “She’s able to steal bases, she’s fast, you have three great hitters coming up that you know are going to put it in play hard most of the time.”
That brought up Grimmius with a chance to drive in the winning run. She delivered.
“I was so excited I almost ran off of first base,” she said. “I just knew that the team needed it.”
In Game 1, St. Peter’s Olivia Stevens couldn’t be stopped. She had three hits, scored three times, drove in a run and threw seven shutout innings (five hits, seven strikeouts, one walk) to lead the Saints to the victory.
Grimmius had two hits in the first game, while Wietzema, Kami Bird and Olivia Hayenga recorded a base hit each.
WHS (2-1) plays at Fairmont on Tuesday.
“I feel like we have a certain standard and we expect to play at that standard,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We’re not going to surprise anybody anymore. I think last year we surprised some people. I think the kids believe in their head that they need to play, which is really fun to see. They expect to be able to compete and expect to be able to do some things. That’s fun when the kids start believing in themselves.”
St. Peter 201 104 0 -- 8 12 1
Worthington 000 000 0 -- 0 5 4
Worthington 002 010 1 -- 4 9 1
St. Peter 011 100 0 -- 3 10 2