Resilient rush: Vikings grab their fourth straight elimination win after edging out Southland

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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A year ago, Hayfield sophomore Elaina Masching could only dream of what she is doing now, but it didn’t happen overnight.

Masching pitched Hayfield to its fourth straight elimination game victory in a 13-4 win over Wabasha-Kellogg after the Vikings slipped past Southland 5-3 in a pair of Section 1A Tournament contests Tuesday in Todd Park.

Masching, a rookie pitcher for the Hayfield varsity team, scattered 11 hits, while allowing seven earned runs in 14 innings of work. She has now put in 28 innings of clutch pitching over the last six days for Hayfield.

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“I’ve had a lot of practice and there have been a lot of early mornings where I’ve asked one of my captains to come catch for me before school,” Masching said. “I just do what I’ve got to do.”

Hayfield (12-10 overall) had just five hits against the Rebels and it had to play a lot of small ball by bunting and staying active on the bases to produce offense. Against W-K, the Vikings smashed out 10 hits. Senior Jo Tempel was a force at the top of the order as she was two-for-four with a double and four RBIs.

“I didn’t do well against Southland and we just did what we had to do to put the ball in play and score some runs, but I knew the second one was a new game,” Tempel said.

Hayfield will now take on top-seeded Faribault Bethlehem Academy in the Section 1A finals in Todd Park at 5 p.m. Thursday. Hayfield will have to beat FBA twice to get to state. FBA handed Hayfield its only loss of the postseason in a 1-0 win.

Tempel is faithful that Masching will give the Vikings their best shot.

“In fall ball, we weren’t sure what we had for pitchers,” Tempel said. “When I saw Elaina in fall ball, we knew we would be fine and she’s gotten way better, especially in these playoffs. She’s put in a lot of time.”

Hayfield 5, Southland 3

The Vikings trailed Southland (18-3 overall) 3-1 after freshman Juliette Matheis homered to left field in the top of the third inning, but Masching shut down Southland the rest of the way.

Hayfield pulled within 3-2 when Betsy Gillette tripled and scored on a bunt single by Alexys Swygman in the bottom of the fourth, the Vikings tied the game when Gillette grounded out to drive in a run in the fifth and they took the lead for good when Kenna Selk delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

“We didn’t handle their small ball game at all like we’re capable of handling it. That’s on me,” Southland head coach Tom Clements said. “I didn’t work them hard enough at the small ball game. I thought I did, but I think that when we worked on it in practice, they knew it was coming. In a game situation, a girl can either hit away or bunt and that’s one of the things we didn’t understand.”

Southland eighth grader Laney Weis struck out four against Hayfield and she only allowed more than one run in one inning. Weis and the other young Rebels will likely be back in contention for years to come.

“They’re young and I have really, really high hopes for this team. We should be strong next year with four eighth graders, two ninth graders and three 10th graders,” Clements said. “Going 18-3 is a heck of an accomplishment. We had three goals at the start of the season and that was to win the conference, get the number one seed in subsections and get to state. Two out of three isn’t bad for as young as we are.”

Southland 020  100  0    3  7  2

Hayfield 001  112  X    5  5  2

Hayfield pitching: Elaina Masching (W) 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 K

Hayfield hitting: Jo Tempel, 0-for-3; Taylor Dick, 1-for-3, RBI, 2 R, BB; Kenna Selk, 1-for-3, RBI; Reese Bauman, 0-for-1, RBI, HBP; Natalie Beaver, 0-for-2, BB; Betsy Gillette, 1-for-3, triple, RBI, R; Alexys Swygman, 1-for-3, RBI; Megan Hansen, R, BB, SB; Melody Walker, 1-for-2, R, HBP

Southland pitching: Laney Weis (L) 6 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 ER, 4 K, 2 HBP

Southland hitting: Riana Ulven, 1-for-3; Laney Weis, 0-for-2; Clara Timm, 1-for-3; Hayley Lowe, 0-for-3; Bria Nelsen, 1-for-3, R; Grace Kresbach, 1-for-3; Juliette Matheis, 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 R; Maren Wehrenberg, 0-for-3; Shannon Kiefer, 1-for-2, BB

WK 0 0 0  3 1 0  0    4     4   2

Hayfield 0 4 5 0 0 4   X –  13  10  0

Hayfield pitching: Elaina Masching (W) 7 IP, 4 H, 6 BB, 4 ER, 1 K, 1 HBP

Hayfield hitting: Jo Tempel, 2-for-4, double, 4 RBIs, 2 R; Taylor Dick, 2-for-5, 3 RBIs; Kenna Selk, 1-for-5; Reese Bauman, 1-for-4, BB; Natalie Beaver, 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BBs; Betsy Gillette, 0-for-3, 2 R, BB; Alexys Swygman, 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BBs; Megan Hansen, 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 3 R, BB; Melody Walker, 1-for-2, RBI, BB, HBP, R; Kenna Rutledge, R