Blast off: Hayfield coach’s daughter gives her dad a reason to smile in playoff opener

Published 7:51 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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HAYFIELD – Hayfield sophomore Kenna Selk never saw her dad Craig Selk, who is the co-head coach of the Vikings, during his heyday as a power hitter on the local amateur baseball scene, but she did her best impersonation of him on Monday.

Kenna ended the game and advanced her team in a Section 1A West Tournament elimination game when she blasted a two-run homer to center field to give the No. 4 Vikings an 11-1 win in six innings over No. 5 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (8-8 overall).

“I didn’t even think it was a home run,” said Kenna, who went two-for-four in the win. “I watched my dad play slow pitch softball, not baseball. That was before my time. He’s a big inspiration because he makes me angry and he always makes me want to get better.”

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Craig acknowledged that sometimes he’s a little brash with his motivation techniques for his daughter. But both of them wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That (home run) was a very proud father moment for me,” Craig said. “We’re the same person, so if she’s struggling, I get mad and vice versa. Coaching your own kid is very tricky, but there’s nothing better.”

Hayfield (8-9 overall) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Betsy Gillette tripled in a run and then scored on a groundout RBI by Alexys Swygman.

From that point on, sophomore pitcher Elaina Masching controlled the game as she didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. 

“I was just doing my thing and trying to throw it in there like I normally do,” Masching said. 

Gillette finished with two RBIs for the Vikings and Swygman added four RBIs.

It’s been a back and forth battle for the Vikings all spring, but the team was always aiming to play its best ball at the end of the season.

“This is exactly how we predicted it,” Craig said. “Our season was kind of a roller coaster and everything we did was to prepare for the playoffs. It seems like we keep getting younger and younger every year, but we’ve made a lot of progress after a lot of ups and downs.”

The Vikings are now past the single elimination round of the postseason and they will take on No. 1 Faribault Bethlehem Academy in Faribault at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

FBA (15-1 overall) beat No. 8 Lyle-Pacelli (1-14 overall) 14-0 in its opening game.

WEM 0 0 0  0 0 1  –  1   1  1

Hayfield 0 2 0  3 3 3  – 11 12  2

Hayfield pitching: Elaina Masching (W) 6 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 5 K

Hayfield hitting: Jo Tempel, 1-for-4, SB; Taylor Dick, 1-for-4, RBI, R; Kenna Selk, 2-for-4, HR, double, 2 RBIs, 2 R, SB; Reese Bauman, 2-for-3, double, RBI; Natalie Beaver, 1-for-3, R; Betsy Gillette, 2-for-3, triple, 2 RBIs, 2 R; Alexys Swygman, 1-for-2, 4 RBIs; Maggie Hansen, 1-for-3, RBI; Melody Walker, 1-for-4, double; Kenna Rutledge, 3 R