Worthington recovers from blown lead for 11-7 victory against Luverne
WORTHINGTON -- It wasn't pretty, but Worthington VFW baseball coach Ryan Weber said he'll take it. After blowing a five-run lead in the fifth inning, Worthington recovered Thursday to earn an 11-7 victory over Luverne in a game that featured nine...
WORTHINGTON -- It wasn't pretty, but Worthington VFW baseball coach Ryan Weber said he'll take it.
After blowing a five-run lead in the fifth inning, Worthington recovered Thursday to earn an 11-7 victory over Luverne in a game that featured nine errors, six unearned runs, eight walks and four hit batters.
"It wasn't pretty," said Weber, whose team earned the No. 1 seed in the district playoffs, which start Monday. "But I'll take a 'W' any way I can get it."
The eventual winning run wasn't pretty, either, but it was painful.
With a full count and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, Worthington shortstop Kirk McBreen got plunked on the elbow, allowing Justin Larson to walk home and give Post 3958 an 8-7 lead.
Cody Melendrez followed with an RBI on a fielder's choice, and Adam Munkel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Stuart Rogers followed by lacing the first pitch he saw for a two-run single, and Luverne was unable to come back.
"(The game) was a little crazy," Luverne coach Jon Schomacker said. "We both had opportunities, but they made more with their opportunities than we did.
"It was a sloppy game, but I'm happy that our guys stayed in there and battled."
Worthington scored four runs -- all unearned and all with two outs -- in the second inning with the help of a walk and three Luverne errors.
McBreen led off with a walk, and Melendrez, who attempted a sacrifice bunt, reached on an error.
Munkel popped out to the pitcher for the second out on his sacrifice bunt attempt, and Tyler Stugelmeyer loaded the bases when he reached on an error by Luverne shortstop Trevor Stoeffel.
Like it did all evening, Worthington took advantage of the extra outs.
Octavio Jimenez followed with a two-run single, and two more scored when Larson's grounder was misplayed by Stoeffel.
Steven Kremer delivered a two-run single up the middle, and Worthington scored three more runs -- two unearned -- in the fourth to take a 7-2 lead. But, as has been the problem for Post 3958 all season, the advantage didn't stand.
Munkel, who started on the mound for Worthington, walked the first three batters he faced in the fifth inning.
Kremer came on in relief and allowed back-to-back RBI singles to Landon Gache and Joey Slieter before an already wild game became even more unique.
After falling behind in the count 0-2, Luverne's John Fodness fouled off five consecutive pitches. Fodness swung and missed at the eighth offering, but Worthington catcher Mitchell Jensen dropped the ball.
Jensen fired to first base, and the ball was dropped, allowing two more runs to score, allowing Luverne to tie the game.
"That gave our guys confidence; (Kremer) is one of the better pitchers," Schomacker said. "Our guys started rolling after that."
Fodness retired Worthington in order in the bottom of the frame, but the shift in momentum didn't last long, as Post 3958 once again recovered in the later innings.
"We've had a couple of close games like this that went to the end. It's not new to us; we're used to it now," McBreen said. "I think it gives us experience coming into the playoffs. We just have to stay up and keep battling and good things will happen."
Kremer went 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs and stuck out four over three innings of relief to earn the win.
Jimenez went 1-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, and Larson and Rogers each finished with two RBIs for Worthington (24-8-1).
"The problem all year is we've got up big and let teams get back into it," Weber said. "We have to learn how to close the door and put teams away. And, come playoff time, that's what scares me."
Slieter went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and Zane Anbert had an RBI to lead Luverne, which entered the game tied for the third seed with Slayton.
R H E
Luverne 001 150 0 -- 7 4 6
Worth. 040 304 X -- 11 8 3