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Watson scores late run to complete improbable Hayfield comeback

HAYFIELD – It’s hard to get up when you’re down 12-0, but that’s exactly what the Hayfield 18U baseball team did in a 15-14 win over Triton in Hayfield Thursday night.

Hayfield scored 13 straight runs and it put up three runs off a flurry of Triton errors to go up 13-12 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Triton bounced back to score twice in the top of the seventh, but Hayfield came up big when it mattered as Joey Tempel beat out an infield single for a two-out RBI to tie the game and James Watson scored on a wild pitch to win the game. Watson also kept Hayfield in the game on the mound as he pitched three scoreless innings before allowing a couple of runs in the seventh.

“That’s what every kid dreams of, honestly,” Watson said. “Ever since I was pitching I always wanted to close out a game. It’s a dream come true. It was such a crazy game from the start, we were all down on ourselves. Then we got some runs and picked ourselves up. I can’t stop smiling.”

Hayfield, which committed six errors and walked 10 batters as a team, looked lifeless after trailing 12-0 in the third inning, but Kolby Tapp gave the team a pulse when he drilled a three-run triple in the bottom of the third.

“When we were down, it was kind of like a big kick in the gut,” Tapp said. “It was going to be tough. But in the playoffs last year, we always came back from behind.”

Brady Nelson was also crucial in Hayfield’s comeback as he knocked in three runs. Waston, Nelson and Tapp are all part of a big Hayfield senior class that missed the spring baseball season a year after Hayfield went to state for the first time in school history.

The Vikings won’t play in a postseason this summer, but they currently have a record of 4-1 overall in what will be an 11-game season. Watson said it was important to get a few more games in with his friends this summer.

“It’s really great,” Watson said. “We would’ve had a really good team this year. I’m glad we can get all of our seniors together one more time. It’s so much fun out here. The atmosphere is great and the dugout is crazy.”

With Tapp headed to Riverland and Nelson and Jake Risius, headed to Rochester Community and Technical College, the summer games also give some Hayfield players a chance to warm up.

“For the guys who are playing college ball, it’s really nice to be able to see pitches and feel comfortable in the box,” Tapp said.

Triton 1 8 3  0 0 0  2  –  14  7  5

Hayfield 0 0 3  2 5 3  2  –  15  11 6

Hayfield pitching: Jake Risius, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 8 R, 6 ER, 1 HBP; Karver Heydt, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 ER, 3 K, 2 HBP; James Watson, 3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 HBP; Joey Tempel, 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K

Hayfield hitting: Jake Risius, 1-for-3, 4 R, 2 BBs, HBP; Joey Tempel, 4-for-6 3 RBIs, 3 R; Brady Nelson, 4-for-6, 4 RBIs, R; Heydt, 0-for-4, SB, BB; Isaiah Tempel, 0-for-4, SB, BB; Lucas Hanson, 3-for-3, 2 R, SB, 2 BBs; Watson, 1-for-4, R, 2 SB, BB; Erick Bungum, 0-for-3, RBI, R, BB