Little Big Leaguer: Hayfield’s Fritcher keeps rolling as Vikings beat FBA

Published 7:13 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Hayfield eighth grader Easton Fritcher has heard it all from his older teammates this spring. He’s been called Weston, eighth grader and he’s even been called a 12-year old.

It’s all in good fun for the team, but if Fritcher keeps playing the way he has been, his teammates might be calling him All-Conference. Fritcher started the game with a defensive highlight and he reached base in all four of his at-bats as the Vikings beat Faribault Bethlehem Academy 11-1 in six innings in Seltz Field Wednesday.

Fritcher robbed FBA’s Josh Oathoudt of an extra-base hit in the first at-bat of the game when he made a sprinting grab in deep center field. Hayfield pitcher Zach Nelson, who allowed just three hits in the win, was glad to see Fritcher make the play and he’s been pleased with what Fritcher has done in his first season on varsity.

Hayfield’s Easton Fritcher lines a triple against Faribault Bethlehem Academy in Seltz Field Wednesday. Rocky Hulne/

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“That catch was big. We haven’t started off the greatest so far this year and that was a good start to the game,” Nelson said. “We like to think we help Easton out, but he’s good enough that it comes natural.”

Fritcher also did plenty of damage with his bat as he went three-for-three with two triples and two RBIs in the lead-off spot. He’s hoping that eventually his teammates might stop calling him a 12-year old.

“I think [my teammates’ teasing] help push me on. I’m 14, and I think they could at least give me some credit and say I’m 13. It’s all in fun,” Fritcher joked. “It’s different going from junior high to varsity, but I’m just happy to be out here and I’m happy to help my team. I just want to win. I don’t care how I do, I just want to win.”

Fritcher, who bats left-handed, has come out swinging a hot bat for the Vikings (5-5 overall), who are now at the halfway point of the season. He is 15-for-24 with eight extra base hits on the season and he’s also picked up two pitching wins.

“He’s having a real nice season,” Hayfield head coach Kasey Krekling said of Fritcher. “He’s made nice adjustments at the plate and he’s hitting to all parts of the ball park. He’s showing off his speed when he gets on base. He’s doing a nice job.”

Hayfield is four games into a stretch where it plays seven games in seven days and the team is out of makeup dates if any rainouts occur. Nelson, the lone senior on the team, said he is embracing every time he gets to go out and play.

“After spending the first two months indoors, it’s nice to be outside,” Nelson said. “It would be nice to get a break in between, but if we can be outside playing, that’s what we’ll do. I feel like we’re good right now, but there’s a lot to improve on still.”

Zach Nelson pitches for the Hayfield baseball team in Seltz Field Wednesday. Rocky Hulne/

FBA 0 0 0  1 0 0    1     3  8

Hayfield 3 1 0  2 0 5    11 12  2

Hayfield pitching: Zach Nelson (W) 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 K

Hayfield hitting: Easton Fritcher, 3-for-3, 2 triples, 2 RBIs, 3 R, BB; Mason Tapp, 3-for-4, 3 RBIs, 2 R, SB; Patrick Towey, 0-for-4, 2 R, SB; Brady Nelson, 1-for-4, RBI, SB; Zach Nelson, 1-for-4, 2 RBIs; Kolby Tapp, 1-for-2, RBI, SB; Joey Tempel, 1-for-2, BB; Carter Kyllo, 1-for-3; Jake Risius, 1-for-3, triple, RBI, 2 R

Hayfield’s Patrick Towey and Brady Nelson head towards third base in the sixth inning of Hayfield’s win over Faribault Bethlehem Academy in Seltz Field Wednesday. Rocky Hulne/