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Vikings advance in 11-innings

HAYFIELD – Last year a young Hayfield Vikings baseball team learned first hand what it takes to win a baseball game in the playoffs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

HAYFIELD – Last year a young Hayfield Vikings baseball team learned first hand what it takes to win a baseball game in the playoffs.

They won one game in 11 innings and went on to win the sub-section championship in a double-elimination tournament.

One could say they literally used that seat-of-the-pants experience in the first round of this year’s single elimination Sub-Section playoffs.

Once again took them 11 innings to get the win. This time, the Vikings edged United South Central, 4-3.

The Vikings made game-saving defensive plays throughout the game including two from the sitting position in the 10th and 11th innings.

The Vikings now play Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday in Dodge Center at 7:30 p.m. With a win they advance to the Section 2AA tourney. But first, they would play for the Sub-Section championship Friday night in Dodge Center at 7:30 p.m.

Heading into the game, the two teams knew it would be a great pitchers’ duel. Junior Jon Severson, who came in with only one loss in nine decisions and an earned run average around 1.00, was hurling for the Vikings, while senior Dominic Schultz, who had a 6-1 mark coming in and an ERA of 2.60, took the mound for the Rebels. They both went all 11 innings and neither coach hesitated to send their aces out inning after inning.

"He (Schultz) is are work horse," USC coach Thomas Williams said. "He kept on saying he felt OK."

"Severson has a great heart," Hayfield coach Ryan Mathison said, "We will have to wait and see how well he recovers, but he will want the ball again Thursday because it is an elimination game."

Schultz mowed down batter after batter ending up with 14 strikeouts in the game. Meanwhile, Severson got into a few jams along the way, but he made the big pitch when he had to and his defense made the plays behind him. Four times Severson and the Hayfield fielders stranded a man on third base, twice a USC inning ended with the bases left loaded and two other times the Vikings ended a USC at-bat with a double play. A total of 12 Rebels were left on base with at least one in each of the first six innings.

The Hayfield fielders continued to make big plays in the extra innings. First center fielder Brent Young made a long running catch for the second out of the ninth inning. There was a runner on first at the time, who was later caught stealing for the third out by a strong throw from catcher Brandon Schuck. In the 10th inning with a runner on third, left fielder Preston Rouhoff fell to his backside as he made a catch.

Finally, in the 11th inning with runners on first and second, Severson got Adam Grunzke to ground the ball back to him. From the ground, Severson threw the ball to second and shortstop Justin Oakland relayed the ball to first for the double play.

"I don’t think I could ever make that play again," Severson said. "The ball wasn’t hit that well. I bare handed it. I knew we had doubled him (Grunzke) up early so I go to two and the relay throw then beat him to first.

"It probably saves us a run. The defense probably saved five or six runs for me today."

USC was able to manage to score single runs in the first, third, and sixth. Hayfield responded with a two-run fourth – Severson doubled, Rouhoff tripled to send him home, and left handed hitter Justin Behrens stroked an opposite field single to plate Rouhoff – and a solo run in the fifth. Schuck singled to open the fifth inning. Mark Santjer was brought in as a courtesy runner. Santjer moved to second on a wild pitch and later scored on a two-out single off the bat of Mike Haugen.

Hayfield would not get a runner to second again until they scored the game-winning run.

Schultz struck out the first two batters of the 11th inning before Behrens coaxed a walk from him, it was Schultz’s first and only walk of the game.

Cory Peterson then came in to pinch run.

"I had saved him for such a situation," Mathison said. "He has been are top pinch runner throughout the year."

Matt Harvey singled moving Peterson to second.

Young then beat out a grounder to short sending Aaron Tempel up to the plate with the bases loaded.

Tempel then got the game winning RBI on a second straight infield single. Tempel took the age old advice of Wee Willie Keeler and hit it where they ain’t, softly past the pitcher and third baseman and in front of the shortstop.

No USC player could pounce on the ball before Peterson crossed the plate for the winning run.

USC 101 001 000 00- 3 9 1

Hayfield 000 210 000 01- 4 14 3

D. Schultz and Ulrich; Severson and Schuck., WP: Severson (9-1); LP: Ulrich (6-2). 3B-Hayfield: Rouhoff. 2B-USC: J. Schultz; Hayfield: Severson.