Heat’s season comes to an end

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hayfield Heat third baseman Tyler Nelson fields a sharp grounder down the line in the first inning in their playoff game against the Winona Chiefs Wednesday night at Marcusen Park. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Hayfield Heat could barely muster a hit, let alone keep their season alive as they lost to the Winona Chiefs 7-0 in a Twin Rivers Tournament elimination game in Marcusen Park Wednesday.

Winona’s Jesse Van Brunt didn’t allow a hit until Travis Kauffman singled with one out in the eighth inning in what was a dominating performance.

Van Brunt struck out 12, while allowing just two hits and one walk on the night.

Hayfield Heat catcher Jake Krier steps up to field a throw as Winona's Brandon Beech runs past to score in the first inning of their playoff game Wednesday night Marcusen Park.

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“We just couldn’t get anything going and when we hit it hard, we hit it right at somebody. That’s just something that happens in baseball. Our hitting wasn’t there,” Heat manager Kasey Krekling said. “We weren’t hot at the end of the year. We were hot in the middle of the year when we went on a nine game winning streak and we peaked at the wrong time.”

Hayfield’s only baserunner in the first seven innings was Shane Barry, who walked in the third inning and advanced to second on a bunt, but was stranded there.

Winona got on the board in the first inning when Lance Jensen laced a two-out run scoring single and the Chiefs broke the game open with a three-run seventh inning that saw them take a 5-0 lead.

While Hayfield’s season is over, Krekling still considers it a solid summer for the Heat (16-8 overall), who finished second in the Twin Rivers in the regular season.

The Heat, who are in their third year as a team, made it to the second round of the Class ‘C’ state baseball tournament last season.

“It’s still a successful year, but making it to Regions was one of our goals. It’s a little bittersweet, but you can’t hang your head,” Krekling said. “We’re one of the teams to be reckoned with in the Twins Rivers League and everybody knows that. We’ll be fine next year.”

Hayfield will return much of its roster next season, but their second baseman Casey Toops, who used to play for the Austin Blue Sox, will not return next year as he is finally calling it quits on his baseball career.

“We appreciate Casey playing with us and he will be missed next year,” Krekling said.

Hayfield Heat pitcher Shawn Palmer delivers in the first inning of their playoff game against the Winona Chiefs Wednesday night at Marcusen Park.

Winona 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 2 — 7 9 0

Heat 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 2 3

Heat pitching: Shawn Palmer (L), 9 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 7 R, 6 ER, 5 K, HBP

Heat hitting: Tyler Krekling, 1-for-4; Casey Toops, 0-for-4; Tyler Nelson, 0-for-3; Palmer, 0-for-3; Darin Wagner, 0-for-3; Travis Kauffman, 1-for-3; Shane Barry, 0-for-2, BB; Kasey Krekling, 0-for-2; Jake Krier, 0-for-3