Hayfield and Randolph Lose State Tournament Openers
The Hayfield Vikings and Randolph Rockets were the #3 and #4 seeds in the MSHSL Class A State Tournament. Both lost today by giving up double digit runs. In the Hayfield game which was the last contest of the day at the Mini Met in Jordan fans were treated to just about everything.
The Sacred Heart Eagles of East Grand Forks turned a 2-2 tie in the 6th inning into a 10-6 victory over Hayfield. The Vikings had to have a record by turning 4 double plays in the game. I checked the high school league records on their website and nothing is listed under double plays and nothing is listed under triple plays. Sacred Heart was given 6 errors by the official scorer although Hayfield Head Coach Kasy Krekling and I agreed it should have been 5. In the third inning the Vikings Brady Nelson crushed a ball to the third base bag and the official scorer gave the third baseman an error on the play. I and the broadcaster next to me thought it should be a double. I don't think a major league official scorer would have given an error on the play.
Still 5 errors and hitting into 4 double plays and winning is amazing. Before the game Coach Krekling told me the formula to a victory had to be no more than one error by his team (they had 3), no more than two free passes (there were 6) and less than double digit strikeouts against the Eagles pitching (they had 6).
Freshman Easton Fritcher (9-0, 1.10 ERA) started the first state tournament game ever for Hayfield and did well until the 6th inning. Nerves may have led to a tough start in the first inning when Sacred Heart put two runs on the board. Fritcher (51 IP 69 strikeouts) allowed two walks in the inning although I believe both runs were not earned thanks to an error. He did throw 28 pitches in the inning, 15 strikes and was visibly upset when he didn't get a couple of close calls and then gave up hits.
The Vikings did answer with a run in the bottom of the first. With two outs junior Brady Nelson stroked a solid single to center off senior Brendan Bethke (6-1, 0.68 ERA). A few of the coaches and broadcasters I talked to said Bethke (41 1/3 IP 66 strikeouts) was probably the best pitcher in the tournament. After the single, cleanup hitter for Hayfield junior Kolby Tapp was walked on 4 pitches before junior Jake Risius hit a ball to the third baseman resulting in an error and it was 2-1 Sacred Heart. Bethke threw 29 pitches, 14 strikes.
In the second and third innings Sacred Heart tried bunts that ended in pop out double plays. More conventional double plays were turned by Hayfield in the 4th and 7th innings.
The Vikings had their chances leaving 4 runners in scoring position over the first 3 innings and 6 over the first 5 innings of the game. They tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on an unearned run. Number 9 hitter freshman Karver Heydt hit the first pitch thrown for a single. Lead batter in the order Easton Fritcher stroked a single. Senior Mason Tapp executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third base. The infield was drawn in when Nelson hit a ball to the shortstop who elected to throw home. Ethan Slaathaug came in to run for Heydt and scored when the ball was thrown in the dirt and went to the backstop.
In the top of the 6th inning Bethke hit a 1-1 pitch for a single to right field. Eagles #3 hitter Will Rohrich looked like he was trying to bunt, with the count 1-1 Fritcher threw a high fastball which is what pitchers are told to do when players are trying to bunt because they may pop it up. Rohrick blasted a two run homer over the left field wall 310 feet away. Cleanup hitter Cullen Rohrich hit a single to left center before a hit batsman ended the day on the mound for Fritcher.
Senior left handed pitcher Luke Dudycha went to the hill. the first batter he faced got on base by a fielder's choice that scored a run. Then there was a sacrifice fly. A runner was thrown out trying to steal a base before a ground out ended the inning.
Hayfield got the game to 6-3 when Patrick Towey led the bottom of the 6th with a double and would later scorer on a fly out by Heydt.
In the top of the 7th inning the Vikings brought in right handed pitcher Brady Nelson with a 8-0 record and the first two batters were hit by pitches before Bethke struck out looking. There was an intentional pass given to put a force at any base. Cleanup hitter freshman Cullen Rohrick jumped on the first pitch for a two run single. The next hitter sophomore Gage Wavra hit a 1-0 two run single to get the run total to 10 for the Eagles.
Hayfield did not give up. They scored three runs off Bethke before he exited after reaching the pitch total limit. Nelson hit a one out single to left and stole second base during a strikeout. Risius had an RBI single. Towey was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Joey Tempel hit a ball resulting in an error scoring another run. The pitching change was made. #8 batter in the Vikings order junior Carter Kyllo connected on a 0-2 pitch for a single up the middle scoring a run. The 8th batter to come to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and the game was over.
Hayfield ended up leaving 9 runners on base in the game, 7 in scoring position. The Vikings play South Ridge of Culver at 12:30 p.m. at the Chaska Athletic Park Friday. The Panthers lost 10-1 to New York Mills. It was a close game until late. The game will be broadcast on KDHL Radio following the Randolph game which is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m.
The Rockets play Sebeka, tough luck losers to top seed BOLD. The Trojans were up 2-0 going into the bottom of the 6th inning before the Warriors got a 3 run homer and won 4-2.
The Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints sent 12 men to the plate in the third inning to take a 8-0 lead and never looked back in a 10-0 five inning win against Randolph. They had 7 hits in the inning and the Rockets 2 errors.
Fighting Saints starting pitcher freshman Alex Call (8-1, 0.60 ERA) threw two innings and will be able to pitch against BOLD because he threw 27 pitches, 18 strikes. Striking out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. Regan Carlson (5-0, 1.01 ERA) threw the rest of the game for K-M-S.
Randolph senior Andrew Wenstrom (7-1, 0.35 ERA) struck out 3 of the first nine batters he faced before the big 3rd inning. The Fighting Saints finished the game with 12 hits, had no errors and left 8 runners on base, 5 in scoring position.
Randolph finished the game with 3 hits, 2 runners left, 1 in scoring position and 3 errors.
It was not the Rockets day. Playing in their first ever State Baseball Tournament the first two batters to reach base were both picked off.
In the semi-finals at the Mini Met Friday BOLD plays K-M-S at Noon and New York Mils faces Sacred Heart at 2:30 p.m.