Worthington VFW one game from state
GRANITE FALLS -- Justin Larson admitted that he wasn't really thinking. With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday, Worthington VFW baseball coach Ryan Weber ordered his players not to swing until a strike was called. Luckily f...
GRANITE FALLS -- Justin Larson admitted that he wasn't really thinking.
With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday, Worthington VFW baseball coach Ryan Weber ordered his players not to swing until a strike was called.
Luckily for Post 3958, Larson disobeyed. He laced the first pitch he saw down the left-field line for a double, sparking a six-run inning that led Worthington to a 10-4 win over Marshall Blue.
"We were supposed to take a pitch," Larson said, "but it was right down the pipe, so I was like, 'I'm going to swing.'
"I wasn't really thinking at the time."
The win was the second of the day for Worthington, which defeated Tracy 7-6 earlier in the District 3 VFW Final Four playoffs, and advanced it to the championship game of the double-elimination tournament.
Worthington had its five-game winning streak snapped, however, Sunday in a 6-5 loss to Tracy. The two teams will meet today at 6:30 p.m. in Granite Falls, with the winner advancing to the state tournament in Perham.
For Steven Kremer, today's game is "personal."
After Mitchell Jensen pitched the first six innings against Tracy on Saturday, Kremer came on in relief in an attempt to preserve Worthington's one-run lead.
Firing only fastballs, Kremer struck out the side.
On Sunday, Kremer entered the seventh inning in relief of starter Derek Lee, who scattered eight hits and left with a two-run lead.
Kremer got the first batter he faced to ground out on the first pitch. The next batter lobbed a fly ball into right-center field, but a lack of communication between Worthington's outfielders allowed the ball to land safely between them.
Kremer recorded a strikeout for the second out but then gave up a single to put runners on the corners.
The next batter hit a line drive to third base, and Stuart Rogers dropped what would have been the game-ending out.
Kremer proceeded to allow a walk, two hits and two unearned runs.
When Tracy recorded the final out of the game, the celebration started.
"We were set up to win, and they came back," Kremer said. "We are kind of mad because, after the game, one of (their fans) had a fog horn, and they were blowing that, screaming and running through the stadium.
"(Today) it gets personal."
With the comeback, Tracy turned the tables on a Worthington team that produced two come-from-behind wins on Saturday.
Trailing Tracy 4-3 going into the bottom of the fourth inning Saturday, Worthington scored four runs to take a lead it never relinquished.
Ethan Duffy reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Jensen's RBI double to right field. After a groundout, Kirk McBreen was hit by a pitch, and Kremer, Cody Melendrez and Adam Munkel delivered consecutive RBI singles.
Worthington went 7-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
Trailing by one against Marshall on Saturday, Worthington took advantage of an error and three walks in its two-run fifth inning. McBreen delivered an RBI single, and Melendrez coaxed a bases-loaded walk.
Marshall tied the game in the top half of the sixth but fell apart defensively and mentally in the bottom of the frame.
In his fit of disobedience, Larson led off with a double. Duffy followed with a bunt, and Marshall's pitcher overthrew his first baseman, allowing Larson to score from first.
Jensen attempted a sacrifice bunt and reached safely on a fielding error by Marshall's pitcher.
After a groundout and a McBreen walk, Kremer hit a grounder to first. Marshall's first baseman started toward first, but, upon hearing his teammates' shouts, turned and fired toward home. The ball sailed over the catcher's head and to the backstop, allowing Duffy to score. With no one covering home, Octavio Jimenez followed behind with the third run of the inning.
Three batters later, Marshall's third baseman dropped Rogers' pop fly for the fifth error of the inning, allowing two more runs to score.
"We had some physical and mental miscues," Marshall coach Matt Suby said. "They made us make plays, and, unfortunately, we didn't make them."
Likewise, Worthington failed to make plays late on Sunday, spoiling what would have been its third such comeback win in two days.
Tracy led 3-1 until Worthington scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by RBI singles from Kremer and Duffy, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Game 1 R H E
Tracy 002 211 0 -- 6 9 2
Wgtn. 210 400 X -- 7 9 3
Game 2 R H E
Marsh. 102 001 0 -- 4 8 6
Wgtn. 200 026 X -- 10 5 0
Game 3 R H E
Tracy 021 000 3 -- 6 11 1
Wgtn. 010 004 0 -- 5 7 3