Baseball: Vikings survive the stormPublished 8:42pm Wednesday, May 29, 2013
With their season on the line, Vikings were facing a six-run deficit against a team that ended their season last season and it was pouring rain.
Things weren’t looking good early on, but No. 3 Hayfield found a way to beat top-seeded Kenyon-Wanamingo 7-6 in a Section 1A baseball qualifying game in Dick Seltz Field Wednesday.
Hayfield rallied to take a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh on a two-run single by Mat Walters and right fielder Jacob Steiner made three straight catches for three outs after the Knights had two runners on base with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.
“We had some magic left in the tank I guess,” Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling said.
Two of Steiner’s catches were routine, considering the conditions, but the one he made for the second out was nothing short of spectacular. With one out and runners on first and second, KW’s Alex Roosen, who went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, drove a deep fly ball to right field and Steiner lost his footing, before laying out and pulling in a diving catch.
“It was exciting and nerve racking. Mostly nerve racking,” Steiner said. “It was a little slippery out there. I lost my footing and fell. Luckily I caught it. I had it in my sights all the way, it was just mostly the rain.”
Hayfield (9-12 overall) was down 6-2 going into the seventh when KW (13-9 overall) brought in its ace pitcher, Sam Roosen, who allowed two hits and a hit batter before he started lose control. Roosen walked in two runs and Carter Pesch hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. Walters took the first pitch he saw it grounded it past the second baseman to put Hayfield up for good.
“Hitting in the eighth spot you usually see a first pitch strike every time. I came in aggressive and got a good piece of it. Best feeling in the world, hands down,” Walters said. “I knew we had fight in us. But I don’t think any team expected that.”
Hayfield sophomore pitcher Cam Rutledge picked up the win, but he started off a little slow as Alex Roosen hit a three-run homer over the left field fence off him in the first inning.
Rutledge calmed down and allowed just two earned runs over the next five innings and Drew Streightiff picked up the save for Hayfield.
“I knew this was one of the biggest games of the season. I had to focus and I couldn’t get down on myself,” Rutledge said. “I’ve never really pitched that much on the rain. I had to grip the curve ball a lot harder and the ball was a lot more slippery.”
Hayfield came back to score three runs in the seventh to beat Randolph in the first round, but Krekling wasn’t sure they’d have the chance for a miracle comeback on Wednesday. With heavy rains pouring, the game could’ve been called as a final any time after the fifth inning was completed.
“We talked about treating this as a five inning game with the storm coming in,” Krekling said. “The guys kept with it and we had a great meeting before the seventh inning and the boys had a lot of heart.”
Hayfield 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 — 7 7 1
KW 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 — 6 9 1
Hayfield pitching: Cam Rutledge (W), 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 K; Drew Streightiff (S), 1 IP, 2 HBP, 0 R
Hayfield hitting: Cole Kruger, 2-for-4, double, R, SB, BB; Rutledge, 1-for-3, R, 2 BBs; JB Stackhouse, 0-for-3, HBP; Jason Born, 1-for-4, RBI; Drew Streightiff, 1-for-3, RBI, R, BB, R; Connor Nelson, 0-for-2, RBI, 2 BBs, R; Carter Pesch, 1-for-2, RBI, BB; Mat Walters, 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, 2 BBs; Adam Younge, 0-for-1; Ben Czaplewski, 0-for-1; Jacob Steiner, BB, RBI
Rocky Hulne is the sports editor of the Austin Daily Herald. Follow him on Twitter @RockyHulneADH.