Baseball: Hayfield falls in state quarterfinals
JORDAN -- The Hayfield baseball team might have a bright future of the course of the next couple of seasons, but the Vikings felt nothing but disappointment on Thursday.
Hayfield, the No. 3 seed, had its hopes of a state title dashed with a 10-6 loss to unseeded Sacred Heart in the Class A state quarterfinals at the Mini Met in Jordan.
Sacred Heart advances to the state semifinals after losing a pair of heart-breaking games at state a year ago.
"It's nice to see all of our hard work has paid off," Sacred Heart coach Paul Bethke said.
While Sacred Heart was playing in the state tournament for a second straight year, Hayfield was making its first appearance at state. Vikings coach Kasey Krekling thought Hayfield's inexperience on the big stage showed.
"A bigger factor was our pitching and fielding was not where it was all year," Krekling said. "At don't know if it was the scene, the bigger atmosphere, we didn't throw the number of strikes we usually do, we didn't field the way we normally do. I thought our hitting against one of the best pitchers in Class A was actually pretty decent."
The youthful Hayfield team started freshman Easton Fritcher on the mound along with just one senior. The rest of the lineup is made up of six juniors a sophomore and another freshman.
"It felt like some kids were trying to do a little too much," Krekling said. "They didn't play within themselves and we tried to make some throws that we normally don't throw instead of just making the normal play. Pitchers didn't do a very good job of keeping runners close either. It's just something we have to learn from. We're a young team and hopefully we get another chance."
"We just didn't play the way we used to playing," Fritcher said. "It just wasn't our day, I guess."
The game was tied 2-2 before Sacred Heart scored four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Hayfield scored one run in the sixth and three in the bottom of the seventh. Will Rohrich snapped a 2-2 tie in the sixth with a two-run homer to start a four-run inning for Sacred Heart. Winning pitcher Brenden Bethke opened the inning with a hard infield single off of Fritcher's glove hand. A couple of pitches later, Rohrich launched his first homer of the season to left field.
"My hand hurt, but it didn't affect nothing," Fritcher said. "I just made a bad pitch and he took it all over and hit it out. He did a good job; I thought it was good pitch and he wouldn't hit it out, but he did it."
Fritcher came out in the sixth after the next two hitters reached base. Both came around to score off lefty Luke Dudycha. Brad Nelson then came out to pitch the seventh for Hayfield. He hit the first two hitters he faced and the Eagles (14-8) would go out to score four more runs in the inning while getting just one hit.
Hayfield collected seven hits, but left runners on second and third in the first, third and fifth innings. The Vikings left runners on first and third in the seventh. Sacred Heart also committed six errors.
"We needed to put more balls in play," Fritcher said. "I thought we did a good job of hitting in general, but definitely we need to (do better) with guys in scoring position."
"If you would have told me before the game we were going to put up six runs, I would have said we won the game," Krekling said. "We had chances to put even more runs up; we left a lot of runners in scoring position. But I was happy with six runs. I was not happy with our pitching and defense."
Nelson had two of Hayfield's seven hits and he drove in one run and scored two. Carter Kyllo and Karver Heydt also drove in runs.
"Hopefully we can get here again and learn from this experience," Krekling said. "We have to learn from this game. It's constantly learning and growing."
Unseeded Sacred Heart has now won seven straight games advances to the state semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday to take on No. 2 seed New York Mills.
Hayfield (22-3) drops into the consolation bracket and will play unseeded South Ridge at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Chaska Athletic Park. Dudycha was expected to start on the mound for Hayfield. If the Vikings win they would play for fifth at 3 p.m.
"Hopefully we can go out there and win a consolation championship," Krekling said.
Sacred Heart 10, Hayfield 6
Sacred Heart 200 004 4 -- 10 10 6
Hayfield 100 011 3 -- 6 7 3
SACRED HEART:Evan Sczepanski 1-for-3, 1 R; Brenden Bethke 1-for-3, 2 R; Will Rohrich 1-for-3, 1 H, 2 RBI, 2 R; Cullen Rohrich 3-for-4, 3 RBI,3 R; Gage Wavra 1-for-2, 2 RBI, Sam Gapp 1-for-2, 1 R. Pitchers: Brenden Bethke (WP) 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K; Oscar Ortiz 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.
No. 3 HAYFIELD:Easton Fritcher 1-for-4; Mason Tapp 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 R; Jake Risius 1-for-4, 1 R; Patrick Towey 1-for-2, 1 2B, 2 R; Carter Kyllo 1-for-4, 1 RBI; Karver Heydt 1-for-3, 1 RBI. Pitchers: Easton Fritcher (LP) 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Luke Dudycha 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K; Brady Nelson 1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
What happened:Sacred Heart beat Hayfield 10-6 in the state quarterfinals. The game was tied 2-2 before Sacred Heart scored four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Hayfield scored one run in the sixth and three in the bottom of the seventh.
What it means:Unseeded Sacred Heart advances to the state semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday to take on No. 2 seed New York Mills. Hayfield, the No. 3 seed, drops into the consolation bracket and will play unseeded South Ridge at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Chaska Athletic Park.
Records:Hayfield drops to 22-3 while Sacred Heart improves to 14-8.