Baseball: Vikings advance to Section 1A title game
Published 3:25 pm Saturday, May 30, 2015
ROCHESTER — The Hayfield baseball team moved one step closer to its first ever Class A state tournament trip in school history when it edged out Lewiston-Altura 4-3 in Hudson Field in Rochester Saturday.
The Vikings (18-5 overall) took the lead for good when senior Blake Risius came through with a two-out opposite field single that scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Hayfield had pulled to within 4-3 when Dominic Dublin singled in a run in the sixth.
Risius’s hit was a moment of vindication for him as he had been thrown out trying to score a run on a wild pitch that would’ve tied the game at 2-2 in fifth inning.
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“I got down right away because I thought I had tied the game and I was out. My teammates got me back up and I was able to come back,” Risius said. “It seemed like we just caught fire [in the sixth]. We were confident and the coaches got on us a little bit to get us fired up.”
Hayfield sophomore Adam Fjerstad picked up the mound win and he had to overcome a little pain as he sustained a stinger injury to his non-throwing arm when he collided with an LA base-runner early in the game. Fjerstad picked up steam late in the game as he struck out two of the last four hitters he faced to close the door on the Cardinals (12-12 overall).
With a trip to the Section 1A title game looming, Fjerstad had to contain his emotion as he faced the last few batters.
“It’s really tough. You get so excited and we wanted to win and be the first Hayfield team to go the championship game. It was fun,” Fjerstad said. “I was just trying to command my fast ball and mix spots as much as I could. My defense made plays behind me.”
Hayfield made some early miscues to fall behind 3-1 as they had a dropped fly ball, and a couple of LA pop flies dropped for hits.
“We had some things that normally don’t happen and it was nice to see them respond to it,” Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling said. “But we’ve done that all year and playing in the HVL helps with that.”
The Vikings will play in the Section 1A title game 5 p.m. Tuesday against LA. If the Vikings lose the first game, they will have a second chance to advance to get to the Class A state tournament by winning a second game.
Hayfield ace pitcher Cam Rutledge is set to start Tuesday’s title game.
“It would be nice to have that 2015 under the baseball banner [at Hayfield High School] that has nothing underneath it right now,” Krekling said. “We’ve got our ace in Cam on the hill and we feel confident.”
Before the season there weren’t a lot of big predictions or expectations for the Vikings, and now they stand a single win a way from making school history. Risius said the squad has rallied behind the underdog label as they’ve moved through the Section 1A West and Section 1A tournaments.
“I don’t think anybody really believed we were going to win four games and now we’ve only lost five,” Risiius said. “I think that we really took that to heart that nobody believed in us and we wanted to prove them wrong.”
Hayfield 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 — 4 7 2
LA 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 — 3 6 0
Hayfield pitching: Adam Fjerstad (W) 7 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 HBP
Hayfield hitting: Cam Rutledge, 1-for-4; Adam Younge, 0-for-3, BB; Andrew Becker, 1-for-3, RBI, BB; Aaron Younge, 0-for-4; Ben Czaplewski, 2-for-4, R; Lane Canny, 1-for-2, R; Dominic Dublin, 1-for-2, RBI, R, BB; Jax Bauer, 0-for-2, BB; Blake Risius, 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, BB; Karl Stasko, R