Unbeaten Vikings sail closer to a state berth

Published 9:54 pm Monday, June 7, 2021

The top-seeded Hayfield baseball team put together a big enough first inning power surge to put it in prime position to get back to the state tournament when the No. 1 seeded Vikings beat No. 2 Lyle-Pacelli 13-3 in five innings in a Section 1A finals game at Seltz Field Monday.

The Vikings, who are now one win away from a Minnesota Class A State Baseball Tournament berth, put up nine runs in the first inning as every hitter in the Hayfield lineup had a hit or an RBI. Erik Bungum delivered a big blow with a two-run double to left field and Joey Tempel slapped a two-run double to right field to make it 8-0.

Bungum’s double kickstarted a surge that saw six straight Vikings reach base with two outs.

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“We knew right away that we had to come out hot and usually we’re not a first inning team,” Bungum said. “We had to come out and do something we’re not accustomed to and we had to keep the pedal down.”

Tempel finished with four RBIs as he put the game out of reach with a two-run double to left field in the fifth.

Hayfield junior Easton Fritcher struck out five in three scoreless innings before he was taken out to save his arm.

Sam Nelsen singled in a run with two outs to bring L-P within 9-3 in the fifth. The Athletics had runners on second and third, but Hayfield’s Nolan Klocke came up with a big strikeout of Jed Nelson to avoid further trouble.

Hayfield’s Karver Heydt pitched a scoreless sixth inning to help seal the win. He also chipped in a triple and a pair of RBIs on his birthday.

“This is one of the big birthday’s, that’s for sure,” Heydt said. “Our first inning hitting was contagious. We’re all friends on the team and our friendship brought us together. That was unlike any feeling in the world. There was pressure coming into the game, but after that first hit, we were into the game. You’re always focused against a good team like this. You have to be ready.”

L-P reached the scoreboard when Nelsen and Hunter VaDeer each came home on wild pitches to bring the Athletics within 9-2 in the top of the fourth.

Hayfield (22-0 overall) will play L-P again in the Section 1A title game at Seltz Field at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Vikings only need to win once to get back to the state tournament for the second time in three years.

The Vikings had a lot of fun on Tuesday, but they’ll be ready to go again on Thursday.

“The crowd was awesome today and getting everyone on base was great,” Bungum said. “We were flexible with our pitchers and everyone threw well. We’ve got a long line of good pitchers on our team. Our mentality is one game at a time, even though we have a really good record. We want to bring our ‘A’ game and then never look back.”

L-P 000 210 —  3  3   2

Hayfield 900 031 — 13  13  1

Hayfield pitching: Easton Fritcher (W) 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 5 K; Nolan Klocke, 2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 ER, 4 K; Karver Heydt, 1 IP, 0 R, 1 2 K

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

LP pitching: Zach Bollingberg (L) 1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 1 HBP; Jed Nelson, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 BBs, HBP, 3 ER, 4 K; Hunter VaDeer, 0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 ER

LP hitting: Cole Walter, 0-for-3; Zach Bollingberg, 0-for-2, BB; Sam Nelsen, 2-for-3, RBI; Jed Nelson, 0-for-3; Hunter VaDeer, 1-for-2, SB, BB; Mac Nelson, 0-for-3; Jake Truckenmiller, 0-for-3; Jayden Lewis, 2 BBs, R; Landon Meyer, 0-for-2