MANKATO -- Worthington won a game and lost a game. But in the end, the Trojans are still alive in the Section 2AAA softball tournament.
Fifth-seeded WHS lost to fourth-seeded Mankato East 6-2 in the opening round, but came back to defeat Marshall 4-1 on Thursday.
The Trojans advance to face New Ulm at 2 p.m. Saturday at Caswell Park in Mankato.
“Overall, we are pretty fired up to be playing on Saturday,” WHS head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka said. “Somebody said this is the first time that we’ve ever won a section game. I’m not sure if that’s 100 percent true, but I think that’s pretty cool for the program to be playing on Saturday.”
Worthington struggled offensively against East and only managed two hits. But the bats came alive in the nightcap as the WHS offense belted 11 hits against the Tigers.
“I think we had a little bit of jitters with this being a section game,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We didn’t hit the ball super well, especially in the first game, we only had two hits. We jumped on them and had the bases loaded in the first inning and we didn’t get another run in. Then we couldn’t hit the ball real well. I feel like we stayed in the game the whole time. We just couldn’t seem to get a good bat on the ball. It was nice to come back in the Marshall game and get the 11 hits.”
Against East, Sydney Ponto started and threw the first three innings. Haley Grimmius threw the final three innings.
Grimmius had a hit and scored Worthington’s first-inning run, while Ponto had a hit and an RBI. Payton Sauerbrei scored the other run in the game.
In the nightcap, the first two innings were scoreless. The Tigers scored first in the third before WHS answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. The Trojans then scored twice in the fourth to break the game open.
“Our spirits were down a little bit because we had quite a few strikeouts (against Mankato East),” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “That was a little bit disappointing… We had to get mentally back, it was good that we came back and took care of business against Marshall.”
Grimmius earned the victory in the circle. She allowed no earned runs, walked three and struck out four. At the plate, she was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Kami Bird was 2-for-3 for Worthington, while Aracely Vasquez had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run. Olivia Hayenga had a hit and scored twice.
New Ulm has faced WHS twice this season, with the Eagles coming out on top both times, 9-0 and 7-1.
Worthington 100 010 0 -- 2 2 2
Mankato East 211 200 x -- 6 8 2
Marshall 001 000 0 -- 1 3 0
Worthington 001 201 x -- 4 11 4