VFW BASEBALL: Worthington sweeps SF

WORTHINGTON -- T.D. Hostikka's shorts are staying home. A night after an extra-inning loss to Luverne -- where Hostikka sported a pair of shorts -- the Worthington VFW baseball coach was back in a pair of long, grey baseball pants Tuesday night. ...

Worthington's Eric Koob
BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Worthington second baseman Eric Koob charges a ground ball during Tuesday night VFW action in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- T.D. Hostikka's shorts are staying home.

A night after an extra-inning loss to Luverne -- where Hostikka sported a pair of shorts -- the Worthington VFW baseball coach was back in a pair of long, grey baseball pants Tuesday night.

The result: An 11-1 and 15-5 sweep of Sioux Falls Central.

"I know that (Luverne coach Mike) Wenninger wears shorts and during the regular season its hot and we wear shorts," Hostikka said. "I talked with Rosalie (his wife) about it two or three times, 'Should I wear shorts?' She said, 'If it's hot, wear shorts.' So I wore shorts. Never again.

"I'm superstitious. When we went to Sioux City, I didn't change uniform the whole time."


The way Worthington hit the ball, Hostikka won't be changing clothes any time soon.

Post 3958 pounded out 26 runs on 23 hits in two games.

"I don't even know how we did, but we hit the ball," Hostikka said. "Jon Reller hit the ball hard every time. I think he hit the warning track four times. Blake (Rogers) hit the ball, Tyler Verdoorn hit the ball hard, that was a great gap shot in the first game. Up and down the lineup, everybody hit the ball and everybody did what they were supposed to do. That makes us a lot more relaxed."

Reller did most of the damage.

In the two games, he went 5-for-9 with four doubles and drove in eight runs.

"I just went up and hit," Reller said.

That he did.

In the first game, Reller drove in a run in the first, but didn't get an actual hit until the sixth inning -- a two-run double.


It was that hit that propelled him into Game 2.

"Ending the first game with a double, that helped a lot," Reller said. "After the first one, I wanted to keep hitting, it felt really good. Then I was kind of mad when I didn't get to hit with the bases loaded again. I wanted to hit that time, too."

He drove in a run in the first inning of the nightcap with a single before finishing his night with three straight doubles -- the last two of which nearly left the park -- making for one of his best days of the season.

"Sioux City was pretty good, I had 11 RBIs," Reller said. "This is the best day. This is a really good day."

He had a run-scoring double in the third, and then hit again in the inning. This time, with three runners on, he smashed a bases-clearing double.

Reller was on deck as the third out was made in the fourth inning with the bases loaded, but he led off the fifth with a double to cap his night -- one he hopes to duplicate.

"I'll just go up there and concentrate and not swing at pitches above my head or in the dirt, take level cuts and keep my eye on the ball," Reller said.

After Eric Koob drew a walk following Reller's double in the fifth, the two runners advanced a base on a passed ball.


Deron Soderholm then put down a suicide squeeze, scoring Reller as Worthington put the finishing touches on a 15-5 victory and ending the game the same way Luverne defeated Post 3958 the night before.

"It's kind of fun to be able to do what you learned (Monday) night," Hostikka said. "I just told them to break. The one thing I know about Deron is that he will bunt and he can bunt very well. He's not called to bunt very much, but I've seen it in tryouts, I've seen it in practice. He's calm and he puts the ball on the ground and that's all he has to do."

If four doubles and eight RBIs weren't enough for Reller, he also earned the victory on the hill in Game 1.

He allowed one run on four hits while walking two and striking out six in five innings.

"I just wanted to throw strikes and not walk them," Reller said. "I threw all right. I shouldn't have walked the people that I did. But I think I threw pretty well."

While the right-hander was keeping Sioux Falls Central off the scoreboard, Worthington scored three runs in the first inning as Blake Rogers, Reller and Tanner Rogers each drove in a run.

Verdoorn and Koob each drove in a run in the fourth as Worthington took a 6-1 lead early.

But it was the sixth inning that made the difference.


Tyler Hatterman and Blake Rogers each drove in a run, Reller followed with a two-run double and Nate Jensen ended the game with an RBI single, giving Worthington an 11-1 victory.

"Nate Jensen hit the ball well (Tuesday)," Hostikka said. "He got the go-ahead to send us to 10 runs in the first game and he hit the ball well. He had at least three hits."

Worthington, which scored a combined four runs on six hits in its last two games, scored five runs on five hits in the sixth inning alone.

"I think that maybe, if anything, those were two games in a row that we were cold," Hostikka said. "We just kind of didn't focus. We know that (Marshall) Blue is going to be the team that's going to block us from going further. We get a big victory, 11-3 and maybe let down a little bit. Coming off the weekend and thinking we beat (Luverne) Red 7-1 and we beat their best pitcher, we're going to be OK. But you have to show up. A key will be going to Marshall on Thursday."

The momentum from the inning then carried into Game 2.

Post 3958 scored three times in the first, and after a scoreless second, exploded in the third.

Lucas Henning led off with a walk -- one of five he would draw in the two games -- and Reller drove him home with a double.

Soderholm drove in Reller with a single, while Jensen, AJ Hayenga and Tanner Rogers each drove in a run in the inning. Reller added a key three-run double as Worthington scored 10 runs on six hits in the frame.


SFC responded with a big inning in the fourth. Although they sent the first two batters to the plate out of order, Central scored five runs in the frame to crawl back into the game.

"We got pretty good pitching," Hostikka said. "I think that's an anomaly that inning where they scored five runs. They were batting out of order, no big deal, but you take away the guy who hit the ball deep and scored two runs, he was out. But we still have to play."

Soderholm earned the victory in Game 2. He allowed three earned runs while striking out three.

Tanner Rogers and Hatterman then finished the game for Worthington.

Blake Rogers drove in a run in the fourth and Soderholm squeezed in the game-ending run in the fifth, giving Worthington its 13th victory of the season.

"The thing that I liked, without even realizing or even thinking about it, we finished the game instead of making it go six or seven innings," Hostikka said. "We had to score two runs and we did it."

Game 1 R H E

SFC 010 000 -- 1 5 0


Worth. 300 305 -- 11 11 0

Game 2 R H E

SFC 000 50 -- 5 5 6 5

Worth. 30(10) 11 -- 15 12 3

Worthington's Jon Reller
BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Worthington's Jon Reller connects for one of his eight RBIs during Tuesday night VFW action against Sioux Falls Central in Worthington.

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