Hayfield earns spot in state championship game

Vikings improve to 25-0 with 16-0 victory over Springfield in the Class A state semifinals.

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ST. CLOUD — It's not supposed to be this easy at the state level.

The Hayfield baseball team has dominated foes all season long and the Class A state tournament has proved to be no different so far. The Vikings breezed into the state championship game on Wednesday as they blasted Springfield 16-0 in five innings the state semifinals. Hayfield had beaten Adrian/Ellsworth 16-1 in the quarterfinals.

"If you would have told me 32-1 over the two games here at St. Cloud, I would have said you were lying,'' Hayfield coach Kasey Krekling said. “But they're playing really well.”

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Many of Hayfield's players had state experience from two seasons ago and it has certainly showed at this year's state tournament.


“We’re cool, calm and collective right now,” Hayfield shortstop Erik Bungum said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We’re going to keep playing our game and we’re very confident with our team.”

The Vikings went down in the first inning, but they quickly got the offense going in the second. Bungum, the No. 7 hitter, blasted a two-run homer to left field to put Hayfield on the board.

At the time the Vikings just had a runner on third and there were two outs in the inning.

"Erik Bungum, with two strikes, hit a bomb over the left-field fence and that just seemed to loosen us up and from there we just rolled," Krekling said.

“That was really cool to hit that home run there,” Bungum said. “Especially with all our fans and family here. It felt really good off the bat and it was really special to open up things for the game and get things rolling.”

Hayfield then busted the game open with seven runs in both the third and fourth innings.

Bungum also hit a double and drove in four runs. Hayfield pounded out 12 hits. Easton Fritcher, Joey Tempel and Karver Heydt, the first three hitters in the order, all had two hits. Fritcher, Heydt and Isaac Watson added two RBIs each.

"We have guys all over our lineup that can hit," Krekling said. "We have faith in everyone up there to come through with a big hit."


Tempel was also stellar on the mound as he tossed a two-hit shutout over five innings. He struck out nine and walked one.

"Joey Tempel was amazing," Krekling said. "We turned to him and it was his game to win for us."

The coaches met with Fritcher and Tempel on Tuesday night to discuss pitching in the semifinals and finals. They agreed Tempel would pitch in the semifinals and Fritcher would start the championship game.

Hayfield (25-0) will play in the state championship game at 10 a.m. on Friday at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Hayfield 16, Springfield 0

Hayfield: Joey Tempel 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 R; Erik Bungum 2-for-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, R; Lucas Hansen 1-for-2, 3 R; Isaiah Tempel 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 R; Ethan Slaathaug 1 R; Easton Fritcher 2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R; Karver Heydt 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 R; Isaac Watson 1-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 R; Nolan Klocke 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 R. Pitchers: Joey Tempel (WP) 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K.

Springfield: Brendon Buerkle 1-for-2, 1 2B; Jason Berberich 1-for-2. Pitcher: Jakob Nachreiner (LP) 3 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

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Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or
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