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Vikings come out on top in a battle of unbeatens

HAYFIELD — Hayfield junior Easton Fritcher was completely in his element on Thursday night — on the mound against a tough opponent.

Fritcher and the Vikings brought their best as he struck out 15 and Hayfield beat Maple River (5-1 overall) 8-1.

Fritcher went six and one-thirds innings and he walked just three, while allowing two hits. He left the game due to the pitch count rule.

“I definitely wanted to finish it, but I threw too many pitches in a couple of innings,” Fritcher said. “I got a little wild and I pushed to a full count a few times, but we’ve got guys who can throw strikes. We got the win and that’s all that matters.”

Hayfield (7-0 overall) took a 1-0 lead when Lucas Hansen laid down a bunt for an RBI on a squeeze play and the Vikings went up 2-0 when Nolan Klocke doubled in a run in the second. Hayfield put up three runs to go up 7-1 when Ethan Slaathaug converted a squeeze bunt for an RBI and Erik Bungum singled in a run.

Bungum finished three-for-three with a double against Lucas Doering, who is Maple River’s ace pitcher.

“I felt really confident against a faster pitcher, especially against a lefty,” Bungum said. “I usually do better against lefties. We knew this was a big game and they’re a good team in our conference. We played our hearts out.”

Fritcher wasn’t just tough on the mound, he also made a big impact at the plate as well as he went three-for-four with an RBI. He opened the game with a bunt for a single and he put an exclamation point on the win when he tripled to the right field fence and scored on a pickle between third and home on a ground ball hit by Karver Heydt.

Fritcher said the Vikings are in full baseball mode after winning a state basketball championship just a few weeks ago.

“We’ve always had a pretty decent baseball team with a lot of athletes,” Fritcher said. “We’ve been playing together since James Tempel coached as a Little League team and that really shaped us into the players we are today. “

MR 0 0 1 0 0 0  0   —  1  3  2

Hayfield 1 1 0 2 3 1  X  —  8 10 1

Hayfield pitching: Easton Fritcher (W) 6 ⅓ IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 15 K; Cael Becker, ⅔ IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K

Hayfield hitting: Fritcher, 3-for-4, triple, RBI, 2 R; Joey Tempel, 0-for-4; Karver Heydt, 2-for-4, double, RBI, R; Lucas Hansen, 0-for-1, RBI; Isaiah Tempel, 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 SB, BB; Ethan Slaathaug, 1-for-2, RBI, HBP; Erik Bungum, 3-for-3, double, RBI, 2 R; Isaac Watson, 0-for-2, BB; Nolan Klocke, 1-for-3, double, RBI