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Jorgensen’s return engineers Cardinals’ comeback victory

CONGRATS — Fairmont’s Zach Jorgensen (11) receives congratulations from teammate Jack Kosbab (7) after smacking a home run during Big South baseball action Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Eli Anderson (9) and Nate Soelter (15) scored on the home run. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Zach Jorgensen literally made a big impact during his first high school baseball game in three full weeks.

Jorgensen went 4-for-5, including a pivotal three-run home run in the second inning, produced a game-best five RBIs and scored three runs to power the Fairmont Cardinals to a 17-8 Big South comeback triumph over the Worthington Trojans on Thursday at Herb Wolf Field.

“There’s no doubt, it’s nice to have him back in the lineup today,” Fairmont head coach Don Waletich said in reference to Jorgensen, who had missed six of the Cardinals’ first seven games due to an ankle injury. “Zach and our entire batting order had great approaches at the plate.

“One of the big keys was the fact that our bottom three hitters (Nate Soelter, Gavin Rodning and Landen Meyerdirk) combined to reach base nine times and scored eight of our 17 runs.”

Trailing 1-0, Jorgensen golfed a double down the left-field line, swiped third base on a perfectly-timed delayed steal and scored the equalizer on Jack Kosbab’s clutch RBI single with two out in the home half of the first.

The Trojans then erupted for five runs on six hits during the top of the second to put the Cardinals in a 6-1 deficit. Coy Turner, Andrew Benson and Mathias Noble generated consecutive singles before Isaiah Noble lofted a sacrifice fly. Danny Pavelko, Kent Lais and Jake Brandner grouped hits, with Brandner collecting one RBI to complement Worthington scoring two other runs via wild pitches.

Jorgensen then stepped to the batter’s box and shifted the momentum to the Cardinals with one powerful swing in the last half of the second. Soelter was hit by a pitch and Eli Anderson kept the at-bat alive via a single with two outs. Jorgensen then deposited a high Brandner fastball over the left-field fence for a three-run HR to narrow Fairmont’s gap to 6-4.

“Jorgy’s homer was a game-changer,” said Fairmont assistant coach Levi Becker. “After that, all of our guys seemed to gain confidence at the plate.”

Anderson then quieted the Trojans’ bats in back-to-back scoreless frames while the Cardinals unloaded for a total of nine runs on five hits during the third and fourth innings.

Kosbab and Levi Pooley were plunked before Rodning drew a two-out walk to load the bases in the Fairmont third at-bat. Meyerdirk delivered a clutch two-run single to left to knot the game at 6-all.

“Landen came through with a big two-out hit in that situation,” said Waletich.

Anderson followed with an RBI single, Jorgensen legged out an infield hit and Jackson Utermarck drilled a two-run single to center. Kosbab tacked on an RBI single during his second trip to the batter’s box in the inning to extend Fairmont’s lead to 10-6.

The Cardinals manufactured three runs in the fourth on the strength of two walks, two Trojan errors and a wild pitch en route to a 13-6 margin. Anderson drew a bases-loaded walk and Jorgensen added an RBI groundout.

Isaiah Noble then delivered a two-run single in the top of the fifth to inch the Trojans within 13-8, but the Cardinals countered with four in the home half.

Lincoln Becker legged out an infield hit and scored on Levi Pooley’s RBI triple. Pooley later stole home on a pickoff throw to third. Rodning and Meyerdirk, who had walked, later scored on Anderson’s sacrifice fly and Jorgensen’s RBI single.

Becker then allowed only one hit in two shutout innings of relief in the sixth and seventh. He walked one and hit one batter. Anderson notched the win by giving up two runs on three hits, struck out one, walked one and plunked one in three solid innings of relief.

“Eli and Lincoln did a great job of closing Worthington down for the final five innings, and our defense turned in a solid performance,” said Waletich.

Kent Lais went 3-for-4, including a pair of doubles, for the Trojans, while Isaiah Noble went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and produced a team-best three RBIs.

Brandner gave up 10 runs on nine hits, walked six, hit three and fanned two in three innings to take the loss.

Fairmont (4-4) travels to Windom on Saturday for an 11 a.m. doubleheader, while Worthington (1-4) plays host to Pipestone Area at 5:30 p.m. today.

WOR 150 020 0 — 8 10 3

FMT 136 340 x — 17 12 1

Jake Brandner (LP), Tate Gaul (4), Isaiah Noble (5) and Damon Schutz. Landen Meyerdirk, Eli Anderson (3, WP), Lincoln Becker (6) and Jackson Utermarck.

LOB–Worthington 9, Fairmont 8. 2B–Zach Jorgensen (FMT), Kent Lais (WOR). 3B–Levi Pooley (FMT). HR–Zach Jorgensen (FMT). SF–Eli Anderson (FMT), Isaiah Noble (WOR).

Martin County West 9, Madelia 2 — Blake Jagodzinske pitched a complete game and gave up no earned runs to power the Mavericks past the Blackhawks during Valley Conference action Thursday in Madelia.

Blake Jagodzinske gave up two unearned runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out four in seven innings of work to earn the victory for MCW.

Jaxson Rohman collected two hits, produced three RBIs and scored a run for the Mavericks, while Jacob Fiala delivered two hits, including a triple. Jesse Potts added three hits to the Mavericks’ effort with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

Dylan Grev pitched the first six innings for Madelia, allowing four runs on seven hits and no walks, while striking out eight. Carter Florez pitched the final inning for the Blackhawks, walking one and striking out one and the way to giving up five runs on five hits.

Garrett Reed had a double and a run scored for Madelia.

MCW (4-6) hits the road to Jackson for a 4:30 p.m. nonconference matchup today.

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