Opposing forces: Hayfield battery finds teamwork in unique relationship

Hayfield pitcher Jackie Sanvick and catcher Grace Mindrup are hoping to lead the Vikings back to the state softball tournament this spring.  Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Hayfield pitcher Jackie Sanvick and catcher Grace Mindrup are hoping to lead the Vikings back to the state softball tournament this spring.
Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

HAYFIELD —When Hayfield senior catcher Grace Mindrup is raising her voice or lecturing Hayfield senior pitcher Jackie Sanvick, it may look like the two are having problems with each other.

In reality, they’re just sorting things out the best way they know how — with a little simple aggression.

“It’s definitely a love-hate relationship,” Sanvick said. “We get at each other sometimes but it helps us get our heads in the game and it gets us focused. I like that she’s hard-headed.”

Hayfield pitcher Jackie Sanvick delivers in a Section 1A West Division semifinal matchup against Randolph in Hayfield last season. Herald file photo

Hayfield pitcher Jackie Sanvick delivers in a Section 1A West Division semifinal matchup against Randolph in Hayfield last season. Herald file photo

Mindrup said sometimes she has to simply tell Sanvick how it is, regardless of how it may look or sound.

“It’s a forced friendship,” Mindrup joked. “She’s a softy. I don’t care what she thinks of me, she’s got to deal with me either way.”

Whatever Mindrup and Sanvick are doing when they talk strategy, it’s working. The duo helped lead the Vikings to their first state softball tournament since 1994 last year and the Vikings have high hopes again headed into this year as well. Sanvick had an ERA of 2.57 last season and Mindrup hit .538 with three homers, one triple, nine doubles and 34 RBIs.

Hayfield head coach Jana Wagner said that Sanvick does a great job of throwing strikes and Mindrup helps by finding weaknesses in opposing batters. Sanvick and Mindrup have also grown into leadership roles for the Vikings, even if they are a little intense sometimes.

“They are the energy of the team,” Wagner said. “They can get fiery with the girls but they also know when to be light-hearted to loosen the tension.  They realize when the other isn’t ready to be the leader the team needs for the day and will step up to cover for the other.”

Hayfield catcher Grace Mindrup swings on a pitch during the Minnesota Class A State Softball Tournament last season. Herald file photo

Hayfield catcher Grace Mindrup swings on a pitch during the Minnesota Class A State Softball Tournament last season. Herald file photo

After a strong junior season, Sanvick and Mindrup both suffered set-backs this year. Mindrup had three surgeries and she missed most of her offseason training and Sanvick has been out of action for a few months with a back injury.

Now they’re both itching to get back on the softball field.

“I think we both hit road blocks and we worked our way back to what we are now,” Mindrup said. “It’ll be fun to get out on some dirt and play.”

The Vikings are looking to stay focused this season and they don’t want to take anything for granted. Sanvick and Mindrup are especially motivated since this is their final year playing for Hayfield.

“We can’t get above what we are,” Mindrup, who is set to play college softball at UW-La Crosse next year, said. “We’ve got to step out of practice every day and keep working harder and harder to get where we were at last year.”

Hayfield will open its season at Alden Conger 5 p.m. April 4. The Vikings will host Kenyon-Wanamingo in their home opener at 4:30 p.m. on April 12.

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