Vikings knock off Athletics

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hayfield's Carter Pesch leaps to avoid Lyle-Pacelli's Jonah Rohne on a fielder's choice in the fifth inning Tuesday in their Section 1A West Division playoff game at Dick Seltz Field. -- Eric Johnson/

The Hayfield baseball team had every right to feel a little down heading into their Section 1A West Division baseball tournament opener at No. 4 seeded Lyle-Pacelli.

Lyle-Pacelli's Jonah Rohne fields a grounder off the mound against Hayfield in their Section 1A West Division playoff game Tuesday night at Dick Seltz Field.

The Vikings, who have just two players older than sophomores on their squad, had lost six straight and they were coming off one of their most lopsided losses of the season.

But the Vikings never doubted themselves and they found a way to beat the Athletics 6-1 in Dick Seltz Field Thursday.

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“You would’ve thought (we would’ve been down) but our confidence was sky high,” Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling said. “They knew our schedule was brutal in the HVL and they knew it was to get us ready for the postseason. Our guys never thought they were gonna lose.”

LP scored in the bottom of the first when Daniel Bollingberg reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Hart, but Hayfield pitcher Jason Born, who pitched in a win earlier this season against LP, allowed just one hit in seven innings of work.

“I knew what kind of pitches their hitters liked and I tried to stay away from those,” he said. “I just tried to mix it up.”

While LP’s Jonah Rohne held the Vikings hitless for the first four innings, the Vikings (5-14 overall) finally broke through in the fifth inning when Cam Rutledge and Cole Kruger hit back-to-back infield singles to load the bases with nobody out. Will Waggoner reached on an error to score two runs, Drew Streightiff hit a sacrifice fly and JB Stackhouse drove in another run with a single to put the Vikings up for good.

“We lost focus in that one inning and they made us make plays. They’re a fast team,” LP head coach Brock Meyer said. “It’s like the world’s gonna end when we make an error, but they’ll learn to get over it when they mature.”

LP had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the fifth as they had runners on first and third with two outs and Hart at the plate, but Hayfield catcher Connor Nelson picked off Drew Chapek at third to end the frame.

“He got off really far and I was like ‘I don’t think you’re gonna get back,’” Nelson said.

The Vikings made another big defensive play to start the sixth when Cole Kruger made a sprinting catch on a deep fly ball hit by Hart near the center field fence.

Hayfield third baseman Will Waggoner tags Lyle-Pacelli's Drew Chapek, who was picked off third in the bottom of the fifth inning in their Section 1A West Division playoff game Tuesday at Dick Seltz Field.

“That could’ve been the beginning of a big inning but he got the first out and put the dampers on any comeback they might’ve had,” Krekling said.

The Vikings will now play at No. 1 Kenyon-Wanamingo Thursday at 5 p.m. Hayfield lost to the Knights (15-6 overall) 4-3 May 18.

“We were struggling all season, but this is a good playoff win and it gives us momentum,” Nelson said. “We had (KW) beat the first time, but I think we got them this time.”

For LP (12-7 overall), its season comes to an end but the team will not graduate any players on its roster.

“I think we improved dramatically throughout the year. They came to practice and play hard every day,” Meyer said.

Hayfield 0 0 0 0 4 0 2 — 6 8 3

LP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 1 5

Hayfield pitching: Jason Born (W), 7 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K

Hayfield hitting: Cole Kruger, 1-for-3, R, BB; Will Waggoner, 1-for-4, double, 2 R; Drew Streightiff, 0-for-3, RBI; JB Stackhouse, 2-for-4, double, 2 RBI; Jason Born, 0-for-3, SB, BB; Connor Nelson, 1-for-4; Jacob Steiner, 2-for-2, RBI, R, SB, 2 BB; Mat Walters, 0-for-1; Cam Rutledge, 1-for-3, R

LP pitching: Jonah Rohne (L), 7 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 K

LP hitting: Jonah Rohne, 0-for-2, R, BB; Daniel Bollingberg, 0-for-3, SB; Jordan Hart, 0-for-2, RBI; Josiah Rohne, 1-for-1, BB; Sean Shapiro, 0-for-2, BB; Kevin Juenger, 0-for-3; Jake Nelson, 0-for-2, BB; Drew Chapek, 0-for-2, BB