The spring of 2020 was a double whammy for Teyghan Hovland.
The Austin High junior was getting ready to play in the Section 1AAA boys basketball title game when the remainder of the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Then as he was preparing for the baseball season — which like all spring sports was called off — he suffered a broken ankle.
“Even if we would have had a season, I wouldn’t have gotten to play,” Hovland said. “That already frustrated me enough.”
It was frustrating for Hovland because he was hurt, and there would be no spring baseball.
“Baseball’s my favorite sport, it’s my life, I love it,” Hovland said. “Just playing it and enjoying it, so it getting cancelled like that, a little bit of my heart sunk.”
That’s why Hovland is so excited to have baseball back in his life this spring. The three-sport standout did need about two and a half months last year to recover from his ankle injury. But he returned to play some summer baseball. He followed that up by playing football and basketball for the Packers in the fall and winter seasons.
Hovland hopes the Packers will be able to compete for Big Nine and section championships this spring. But he is just fortunate to be back on the diamond.
“It is amazing,” he said. “I am thankful and happy to be back on the field. … We have just a bunch of fun guys to be around.”
And with all teams sitting out last spring, most will feature inexperienced squads at the varsity level in 2021.
“We have a ton of new guys, young guys, but they just love showing up every day and having fun and getting better and doing whatever it takes for the team to win,” Hovland said.
Two years ago as a sophomore, Hovland helped Austin earn a Class AAA state berth. He credited Austin’s senior class for having a huge impact on the 2019 team. The Packers beat the top two seeds and ended up finishing third in the state. Hovland pitched Austin to a 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Hill-Murray.
Hovland has had some memorable baseball moments, such as earning the state berth and placing second at a huge tournament in Nebraska as a 14U player. He also played with a team out of the Twin Cities in the summer where he made some lasting friendships.
“I think just getting to make those bonds and relationships, and getting to travel the country, has been huge,” he said.
Hovland has been a standout infielder and pitcher for the Packers. He is moving to the outfield this spring as he gets ready to transition into college ball. The 6-foot-3, 192-pound right-hander will play at St. Cloud State University.
“Part of the reason that I really loved it and it intrigued me the most was that they said I could come in and be a two-way player,” Hovland said.
That means Hovland will have the option of being both a position player and a pitcher.
“They said I could pick and choose,” he said.
Besides keeping busy with sports, Hovland is active in the Austin community and with his church. He has been on one church mission to Ecuador and he will return to the country for another mission this summer before heading to St. Cloud.
“I’m very pumped about that,” he said.
He’s even more pumped to be playing baseball this spring.