Livin’ on a prayer: Vikings advance

Published 4:15 pm Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hayfield second baseman Drew Kenyon goes up for a high throw as Kenyon-Wanamingo's George Whipple steals second during the Section 1A Baseball Tournament Saturday at Riverland Community College. - Eric Johnson/

For one second, it looked like Hayfield’s baseball season was over.

The Vikings trailed by one with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Jared Ellis hit a sharp grounder right at Lewiston/Altura third baseman Hunter Matzke, who stopped the ball, but couldn’t pick it up in time to get an out as Hayfield scored the tying run.

“It was a little squirrely so I kind of peeked out of the corner of my eye and I saw that it did squirrel once it got the gravel,” Hayfield head coach Craig Selk said. “It kind of cuffed him a little and sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. We are officially out of gas. We came into today after burning the Tylers on Thursday and we were praying we’d get some innings out of some guys. We made it.”

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After the error, Hayfield’s Tyler Nelson came to the plate, worked a 3-2 count and fouled off two pitches before drawing a walk to end the game and give the Vikings (15-8 overall) an 11-10 win in a Section 1A elimination game at Riverland Saturday..

“It was really tough (to lay off) because I fouled off the other two that looked just the same. It just didn’t look like a strike to me,” Nelson said.

Hayfield's Tyler Krekling rounds third during their game in the Section 1A Baseball Tournament against Kenyon-Wanamingo Saturday at Riverland Community College. - Eric Johnson/

Nelson, who had a homer and four RBIs in the win, was standing in the on-deck circle when he thought his season was over for a moment on the grounder that led to an error.

“I thought it was done, but I’m glad he dropped it. That’s just the way it goes,” he said.

Hayfield starter Tyler Krekling was pitching on fumes as he allowed a grand slam and a homer in the first three innings. The homers were also aided by the fact that Hayfield was playing on a field with a 350 foot center field fence.

Hayfield freshman Drew Streightiff came in and pitched four innings, where he allowed just four hits and one walk, although two of those hits were homers —including a solo shot by Zachary Nelson that made it 9-8 L/A in the top of the sixth.

“I’ve pitched before, so I just had to settle in and throw,” said Streightiff, who made just a handful of starts in the regular season. “We want to keep playing and it’s fun to keep playing. Baseball is fun.”

Hayfield’s seventh inning rally started harmless as the first two batters didn’t reach base. Then with two outs, Joe Volgarino drew a walk, Drew Kenyon took a 3-2 pitch for ball four and Krekling drew a walk to load the bases before the error.

“He was struggling to find the zone, so we decided to take one for sure and they’d just look at me to decide if we’re going to take another one,” Selk said. “Our goal was to get to Tyler Krekling and we got to him.”

The Hayfield bats fell silent as the Vikings droped the Section 1A West title game 3-2 to No. 4 seeded Kenyon/Wanamingo to start the day.

Hayfield’s No. 3 pitcher Jared Ellis allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work, but the Vikings committed five errors and had just four hits.

“We were hoping to get three innings out of Jared and give up five or six runs,” Selk said. “That game was the opposite of everything I envisioned. I thought it would be a slug-fest.”

Krekling scored both Hayfield runs as he singled and scored in the first and third.

K/W took the lead for good in the top of the fourth when the Vikings committed two errors in the infield — one of which allowed a run.

The Vikings will play K/W Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Wabasha/Kellogg at RCC. If Hayfield wins, it will play Wabasha/Kellogg at 7 p.m.

The Vikings should be well rested for that one.

“I think everybody was fatigued physically and mentally, but now that we get this rest I think we’ll be fine on Tuesday and hopefully we’ll play our best baseball,” Nelson said.

Hayfield must now win three straight elimination games to get to state.

L/A 0 4 2 3 0 1 0 — 10 10 2

Hayfield 3 4 0 2 0 0 2 — 11 8 0

Hayfield pitching: Tyler Krekling, 3 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 ER, 3 K, HBP; Drew Streightiff, 4 IP, 4 H, BB, 4 ER, 3 K

Hayfield hitting: Krekling, 1-for-4, RBI, R, SB, BB; Jared Ellis, 2-for-3, double, 3 R, 2 BBs; Tyler Nelson, 3-for-3, HR, 4 RBIs, 3 R, SB; Evan Bungum, 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, R, SB; J.B. Stackhouse, 0-for-4; Connor Nelson, 1-for-3, RBI, BB; Cole Kruger, 0-for-3, BB; Shane Volgarino, 0-for-1, R, 2 BBs; Drew Kenyon, 0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BBs, SB

K/W 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 — 3 4 2

Hayfield 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 2 4 5

Hayfield pitching: Ellis (L), 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 K

Hayfield hitting: Krekling, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 SB; Ellis, 0-for-3; Tyler Nelson, 1-for-3, RBI, SB; Bungum, 0-for-3; Stackhouse, 0-for-3; Connor Nelson, 0-for-3; Dillon Wagner, 0-for-2; Volgarino, 1-for-3, SB; Kenyon, 0-for-3; Kruger, 0-for-1