Vikings get past Randolph in 14 innings

Published 11:10 pm Thursday, June 2, 2011

It took four hours, 14 innings and they had to use both of their ace pitchers, but the No. 3 seeded Hayfield baseball team is moving on in the Subsection 1A West Division tournament after it beat No. 2 seeded Randolph 9-8 on the road Thursday.

The Rockets (16-4) scored a run in the bottom of the 14th when a Hayfield outfielder couldn’t track a fly ball and Randolph had the bases loaded with one out when Tyler Krekling recorded a strikeout and forced a groundout to end the game.

“The baseball gods smiled on us,” Hayfield head coach Craig Selk said.

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After neither team had scored for six straight innings, the Vikings (15-7 overall) finally got to Randolph ace Ethan Kuehn, who will play at Winona State, in the 14th inning.

Tyler Nelson singled off Kuehn in his third inning of work and stole second before scoring on an a two-out RBI-single up the middle by freshman Connor Nelson to make it 8-7. Connor Nelson scored on a throwing error on an infield single by Dillon Wagner.

Since Randolph doesn’t have lights and it was getting dark, the 14th inning almost never happened, but both head coaches urged the umpires to give it one more inning before restarting the game on Friday.

“It got to be kind of insane,” Selk said. “We both had our chances and it seemed like it would never end. We burned the Tylers and they burned their top three pitchers.”

Hayfield will now have to regroup to play two games on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Riverland. The Vikings will open up the double-elimination Section tournament with a game against No. 4 Kenyon/Wanamingo (14-8 overall), which knocked off top-seeded Southland 9-7.

“It was pretty quiet on the bus ride home and I think the kids are mentally and physically exhausted,” Selk said. “We’ll have to sort it out at practice.”

Hayfield pitching: Tyler Nelson, 9 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 7 ER, 12 K; Tyler Krekling, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 8 K

Hayfield hitting: Krekling, 3-for-7, triple; Nelson, 2-for-7, HR, 2 RBIs, Connor Nelson, 2-for-6, RBI