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Tough loss: Trojans' softball team unable to make the big play in 1-0 loss to New Ulm

In any tight ball game, players get tense. And in a game like Monday’s game between the New Ulm Eagles and the Worthington Trojans, when you need to make a play or get a key hit in a crucial situation, sometimes the answer just isn’t there for you.

051721 N DG Worthington Trojans vs New Ulm Softball S2.jpg
Worthington Trojans center fielder Laci Boomgarden settles on a catch in Monday's high school varsity softball game with New Ulm Monday at Centennial Field. New Ulm won a nail-biter, 1-0. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- In any tight ball game, players get tense. And in a game like Monday’s game between the New Ulm Eagles and the Worthington Trojans, when you need to make a play or get a key hit in a crucial situation, sometimes the answer just isn’t there for you.

Is that why the excellent WHS girls fast-pitch team wound up on the losing end of a 1-0 game to the Eagles at Centennial Field? Well, who can say for sure? But Trojans head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka had no answer moments after New Ulm -- which lost to Worthington 12-0 in five innings only four days earlier -- walked off the field a winner.

New Ulm pitcher Miranda Suess pitched an outstanding game, which is something she didn’t do when the Trojans faced her in New Ulm.

“And we knocked her out of the game in about two innings. And we made her look like an All-American today,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We try to tell ‘em you gotta be focused. They’ve got a coach who makes adjustments, and she made ‘em.”

The right-handed Suess throws a good rise ball, and the Trojans couldn’t solve her the second time around. They collected only two hits in the game -- the same as New Ulm collected against Worthington ace Haley Grimmius -- but scored the game’s only run as Worthington committed two errors in the top of the sixth inning.

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The win pushed New Ulm to 9-9. Worthington is 12-4.

“I just think we didn’t have many good approaches at the plate. You know, you beat ‘em handily. You just assume you can do it again, and it just doesn’t work that way,” Hayenga-Hostikka said.

The overpowering Grimmius pitched a typical game for her. She didn’t walk a batter and struck out 11. The Eagles went down 1-2-3 in the first, second and third innings before the Eagles’ Maddi O’Connor led off the fourth with a clean single.

But there was no damage done. In the fifth, New Ulm went down 1-2-3 again. But then came the sixth.

With one out, New Ulm got a base runner on a soft single behind third base. The next batter reached on an infield error. Moments later, the Eagles attempted a double steal and scored when the resulting throw to third sailed past.

The Trojans responded in the bottom of the inning by putting two runners on base with two out. But they were stranded there. A rally was not forthcoming in the seventh.

Worthington’s best chance to score probably occurred in the fourth inning when Lauren Nelson socked a double to the left-center field fence with one out. She moved to third on a force out at first, but the next hitter bounced out to pitcher.

After starting the season 0-2 without some key players due to quarantining, the Trojans had won 12 out of 13 games prior to Monday’s rematch with New Ulm. Seven of those wins were shutouts, and only twice this season have the Trojans allowed more than two runs in any contest. But winning requires more offense than the locals generated on Monday.

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WHS lost one other 1-0 game this spring, to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on May 8.

“The loss to Lake Crystal and the loss to these guys were almost identical,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “That’s why you lose one to nothin’. It’s because you don’t execute. Nothing you can do about it, but to learn from it.”

R-H-E

New Ulm 000 001 0 -- 1 2 1

Worthington 000 000 0 -- 0 2 2

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