Jun. 15—ST. CLOUD — This time there was no case of nerves. In fact, jitters were for the other guys.
Hayfield had a young baseball team at the Class A state tournament two seasons ago and the Vikings made some rare mistakes in a 10-6 loss to Sacred Heart in the first round.
After a 2020 season without spring sports, unbeaten and top-seeded Hayfield returned to the state tournament on Tuesday and breezed to a 16-1 victory in five innings over Adrian/Ellsworth in the quarterfinal round.
"It was extremely beneficial," Hayfield junior Karver Heydt said of having state experience. "We weren't nervous at all. We were ready to go and we're trying to get that state championship."
Heydt hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first as top-seeded Hayfield (24-0) scored six runs to take control right away.
Hayfield junior standout Easton Fritcher agreed that having state experience was a key for the Vikings. Many of Hayfield's baseball players were also on the team's basketball team that won a Class A state title in March.
"It was a huge factor," Fritcher said. "The more you do something the more comfortable you get. It's definitely a big (win) for our program and everyone here is very confident now. We're playing with ease and having a lot of fun out there."
The left-handed Fritcher started on the mound for Hayfield set the tone in the first inning.
"It was nice we got them one, two, three and Easton went out and threw strikes and got us in quickly," Hayfield coach Kasey Krekling said. "And then we put up a big spot in the first inning. That was the key just to get momentum."
Hayfield had a lot of baserunners and the Vikings were also aggressive as they stole seven bases, five in the first inning.
"We always try to be the more aggressive team and try to make the other team make plays," Krekling said.
Hayfield had just nine hits, but was aided by five Adrian/Ellsworth errors. The Vikings also drew six walks.
"I think we were more loose this time than 2019 and you could tell they were nervous," Krekling said. "They have a lot of young players over there."
"There's always going to be some jitters before that first hit, but once that thing flies, we're ready to go," Heydt said.
Fritcher pulled a solo home run over the fence in right field at Joe Faber Field in the third inning to make the scored 10-0.
"It felt good," Fritcher said. "I just missed that first one the pitch before so I just had to stay ready for another one."
Erik Bungum highlighted a six-run fourth inning with a two-run double. Bungum and Joey Tempel both finished with two hits for the Vikings. Hayfield was able to empty its bench over the final inning-plus as the backups all got an at-bat.
"Everybody got to play on the team, everybody got to hit, it was a good win," Heydt said.
Hayfield will play No. 5 Springfield (19-7) in the state semifinals at noon on Wednesday. The Vikings pitching staff is set up in excellent shape as five different pitchers threw one inning each on Tuesday. Following the game, Krekling was unsure who would start on the mound in the state semifinals, but Fritcher seems like a safe bet.
"We have all our pitchers available, so we'll see who's our best option," Krekling said. "We may even try to piece it together, but we obviously have to win that game so it's all hands on deck."
The state title game is Friday at Target Field.
"We have to keep making plays," Fritcher said. "We have to stay aggressive, but be patient like we have been. If we keep hitting like we have been and keep pitching, I think we're a pretty hard team to beat right now."
Adrian/Ellsworth closes the season 14-13.
Hayfield 16, Adrian/Ellsworth 1
Adrian/Ellsworth: Marshall Wagner 1-for-2, 1 2B, 1 R. Pitchers: Dawson Krahling (LP) 3 IP, 5 H, 10 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.
Hayfield: Joey Tempel 2-for-2, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 SB; Erik Bungum 2-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Lucas Hansen 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 R; Isaiah Tempel 1 RBI; Cael Becker 1 R; Ethan Slaathaug 1 RBI, 2 R; Easton Fritcher 1-for-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R; Karver Heydt 1-for-2, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Isaac Watson 1 RBI, 1 R; Ethan Pack 1 R; Aidan Nelson 1-for-1, 1 R; Kayden Jacobson 1-for-1, 1 RBI; Isaac Nelson 1 RBI; Zander Jacobson 1 RBI. Pitchers: Lucas Hansen 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K; Easton Fritcher (WP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K; Karver Heydt 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; Nolan Klocke 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K; Cael Becker 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K.
Hayfield closes out 16-0 win over Adrian/Ellsworth in Class A baseball state state quarterfinals. Hayfield plays in semifinals at noon Wednesday in St. Cloud. pic.twitter.com/0AlWJ6nPOw
— Guy N. Limbeck (@PBglimbeck) June 15, 2021
Karver Heydt with a 2-run 2B as part of a Hayfield 6-run 1st inning. Vikings lead Adrian/Ellsworth 6-0. pic.twitter.com/2hdZ4RsmZA
— Guy N. Limbeck (@PBglimbeck) June 15, 2021