Heat advance to Regional Tournament

Published 5:54 pm Monday, July 25, 2011

Shane Barry is greeted by teammates after he scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to give the Hayfield Heat a 3-2 win over Pine Island in Marcusen Park Monday. The Heat now advance to the Regional Tournament for the first time in their two year history. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

It wasn’t as smooth as they may have liked but the Hayfield Heat have advanced to the Regional Tournament for the first time in their two-year history.

Hayfield (13-9 overall) trailed for much of the night, but it prevailed in a 3-2 win over Pine Island in the Twin River Tournament semifinals at Marcusen Park Monday.

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“Stuff went our way today,” Hayfield manager Kasey Krekling said. “We had a bad start, but we just hung in there and hung in there and finally we broke through in the later innings.”

Shane Barry scored the run that put Hayfield up for good on a two-out wild pitch in the seventh inning.

Barry singled to shallow center field to start the inning, advanced to second on a single by Shawn Palmer and moved to third on a groundout by Craig Selk before he scored.

“We really needed it,” Barry said. “We weren’t hitting the ball all day and we finally got something going. It was huge and it was nice to get that hit.”

Hayfield had just five hits and they scored their other two runs on Pine Island throwing errors.

“We had to jump on whatever errors or calls were made and we did what we had to do to win,” Barry said.

Things couldn’t have started much worse for Hayfield pitcher Ben Pollock on the mound as he allowed four straight hitters to reach base with two outs in the top of the first. Two of those hitters scored, but Pollock didn’t allow another run the rest of the way.

Hayfield pitcher Ben Pollock throws a pitch during the Heat's 3-2 win over Pine Island in the second round of the Twin River League Tournament in Marcusen Park Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

“I’ve never really liked this field and I’m not usually a good starter,” Pollock said. “It’s a decent field but the mound was wet. Once I got used to it, I got going.”

Pine Island had the bases loaded in the seventh with two outs when Pollock forced one of the 13 groundouts Pine Island had on the night.

“The sinker was working tonight and guys made good plays behind me. I trust the defense,” Pollock said. “My catcher (Jake Krier) called good pitches and I just threw them.”

Shawn Palmer got a strikeout with runners on first and second to end the game, but Krekling gave a lot of credit to Pollock for hanging tough early on.

“Ben could’ve just broke down and a lot of pitchers would’ve that first inning,” he said. “He wasn’t getting what he thought were strikes for calls and he gave up two runs. He hung in there and you can’t say enough about his start tonight.”

Hayfield will play at Winona Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Twin Rivers title game. The winner of that game will get the No. 1 seed at the six-team region tournament.

The top two teams at regionals will advance to the Class ‘C’ state amateur baseball tournament.

Winona swept the Heat with two one-run wins during the regular season.

“We have a big step on Saturday, because it’s a lot easier to make it to state as a No. 1 seed than as a No. 2 seed,” Krekling said.

Pine Island 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 6 2

Hayfield 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 X — 3 5 0

Hayfield pitching: Ben Pollock (W), 8 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 2 ER, 5 K, 2 HBP; Shawn Palmer (S), 1 IP, BB, 0 R, 1 K

Hayfield hitting: Tyler Krekling, 0-for-2, R, BB; Palmer, 1-for-3; Craig Selk, 1-for-4; Josh Evans, 1-for-3, double, SB, BB; Darin Wagner, 1-for-3, R, SB, BB; Marty Dick, 0-for-2, BB, HBP; Bill Held, 0-for-4; Jake Krier, 0-for-3, BB; Shane Barry, 1-for-3, R, BB