Hayfield’s two tough Tylers

Published 10:06 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

Hayfield seniors Tyler Krekling, left, and Tyler Nelson, right, have provided the Vikings with some solid pitching, hitting and fielding over the years. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

HAYFIELD — Hayfield senior baseball players Tyler Nelson and Tyler Krekling share a lot more than their first name.

They both have the same hitting, pitching, and fielding skills — and all of them are top notch.

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Hayfield head coach Craig Selk has been at the helm for eight years, and he’s coached Krekling for six of them and Nelson for five years. Needless to say, he’s glad they’re on his squad.

“We’ve been together almost a lifetime in baseball,” Selk said. “It’s hard to describe what those two mean to this program. I’ve been leaning on them since they were ninth and tenth graders and they’ve met the challenge year in and year out.”

The Vikings (4-3 overall) play a lot of doubleheaders in the spring and more often than not the only two pitchers who see the field are Nelson and Krekling. The Tylers also bat in the No. 3 and No. 4 slots and play shortstop when they aren’t pitching.

It’s not just in the name either. Both players have played baseball as long as they can remember and they’re very dedicated to the sport. They hit in the cage in the winter and they play as many games as possible over the summer.

While filling so many roles for Hayfield is quite a load to take on, Krekling, who is undecided on where he’ll play college ball but does have offers, is more than willing to do it for the betterment of the team.

“We knew at the beginning of the year (Nelson and I) would have to step up a lot in order to go far in the playoffs. That’s what we’re going try and do,” Krekling said. “Hopefully we get it started in the regular season and hit our peak in the playoffs.”

Nelson, who will play baseball at Division II Bemidji State next year with a partial athletic scholarship, isn’t worried about the workload either — but he knows the team is going to have to click as a whole for the Hayfield to do some serious postseason damage.

“It would be nice to be more of a team,” he said. “We’re closer than we have been in years, but we’re still not quite there. Hopefully we’ll be there by subsection time.”

For Krekling and Nelson, this year is really about one thing and one thing only — they’d love to go to the state tournament.

Both players played on a VFW state championship team and an American Legion team that went to state, but they are quick to point out that Hayfield has never been to state in school history.

The Vikings have seen their seasons end in many ways in the past few years.

“Some of them were close and others weren’t, but there’s always been a couple of teams (in our way),” said Nelson. “I don’t want (this year) to end, but it’s our last chance to do something, I’d like to at least get to state.”

Randolph ended Hayfield’s season last year and that will most likely be the team standing in their way again this season as the Rockets are off to a 6-0 start.

Krekling is feeling pretty optimistic at this point.

“We know we can make it to sections,” he said. “Randolph will be tough, but other than that we know we have a good enough team where we can possibly make it to state and that’s our goal right now.”

For Selk, who considers Randolph one of the best teams in Class ‘A’, he at least has the luxury of having two aces on the mound and two No. 1 hitters.

“It’s very rare (to have two pitchers who also hit that well) and I’m very fortunate to have possibly the two best pitchers in the HVL and two of the top hitters in the HVL,” he said.

With two Tylers of that caliber, the Vikings might just make a run.