Staying alive: Vikings stay positive to win two elimination games, will take on Southland next week

May 25—The Hayfield softball team went through a lot of ups and downs this year and a lot of players learned new roles, but the Vikings did it all while having fun. The entire team was smiling after No. 4 seeded Hayfield won a pair of games to clinch a trip to the Section 1A tournament in Todd Park Thursday.

The Vikings blanked No. 3 United South Central 1-0 and they topped No. 2 Kenyon-Wanamingo 10-6 to extend their season for at least one more week.

Senior Jo Tempel got the Vikings started in the win over K-W as she walked, stole a base and scored on a wild pitch in a four-run first inning for Hayfield. The Vikings eventually led 9-0 before K-W's Josie Flom hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to close the gap.

Tempel, who added an RBI single in the win, and her teammates were elated to hold the Section 1A West second place trophy after the win.

"In practice we've been preparing for this moment," Tempel said. "We didn't really care what our regular season record was, we were preparing to go far in the playoffs. This means a lot to me. I love these girls a lot and it's super special to go to sections."

Hayfield (13-9 overall) lost six of its first nine games this season, but co-head coach Craig Selk never doubted his squad.

"Proud is really the only word that (co-head coach) Travis (Kauffman) and I could come up with. They're up every morning at 6 a.m. and we hit and practice in the morning," Selk said. "We've been on a roller coaster all over the place this year, but our number one goal was playoffs and I believe we hit that right on the head. We took some serious beatings through the year, but every time we left the field with a smile and we kept saying 'playoff time.'"

Sophomore pitcher Elaina Masching struck out eight and she allowed just one hit in the win over USC. Hayfield scored its lone run in that contest when Kenna Rutledge scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Masching was assisted by Hayfield senior Reese Bauman, who caught all 14 innings, while also going three-for-four with a triple in the win over K-W.

The feat is especially impressive because Bauman just started catching again this spring after taking a long break.

"Reese caught in youth softball and when Nora (Bamlet) went down during basketball season, I called Reese and asked if she'd like to catch for the softball team," Selk said. "Before I could even finish the sentence she said yes. The rest is history."

Bauman has embraced her role behind the plate and she's also been a vocal leader for the Vikings in the dugout.

"I just do what the coaches tell me to do. I love it and it's been fun," Bauman said. "I was sore early on, and I had to do a lot of stretching."

Hayfield will take on Southland (15-2 overall) in a Section 1A elimination game at 5 p.m. on May 30 in Todd Park. The Rebels beat Goodhue 10-0 and topped Houston 2-0 to keep their season alive in Rushford Thursday.

Hayfield beat Southland in the Legion playoffs last summer to go to state and the Hayfield softball team went on to win the inaugural Legion state softball tournament.

"We have to bring the same energy as we had today and cheer on our teammates," Bauman said.

Hayfield 412 110 0 — 9 10 1

Kenyon-Wanamingo 000 001 4 — 5 7 1

Hayfield pitching: Elaina Masching (W) 7 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 ER, 5 K, HBP

Hayfield hitting: Jo Tempel, 1-for-4, RBI, 2 R, SB, BB; Taylor Dick, 0-for-4, BB; Kenna Selk, 1-for-2, RBI, BB, SB; Reese Bauman, 3-for-4, triple; Natalie Beaver, 2-for-4, R, SB; Betsy Gillette, 1-for-3, SB, 2 R, BB; Alexys Swygman, 1-for-2, RBI, R, 2 BBs, SB; Emily Hansen, 1-for-3, HBP; Melody Walker, 1-for-2, R, BB; Kenna Rutledge, SB, 2 R

Hayfield 000 100 0 — 1

United South Central 000 000 0 — 0

Hayfield pitching: Elaina Masching (W) 7 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 8 K