It was a much-anticipated battle of state-ranked teams in Class A baseball in the Section 1A tournament at Dick Seltz Field in Austin Monday as the Lyle/Pacelli Athletics, the No. 6 team in the last Class A poll and the No. 2 seed in the tournament tangled with top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Hayfield. Everyone on hand expected a close, hard-fought matchup between the two talented squads, but it was the Vikings ambushing the Athletics with a nine-run bottom of the first inning on their way to a 13-3, six-inning victory.
After Lyle/Pacelli was retired in order to start the game by eventual winning pitcher Easton Frichter, he led off the bottom of the first with a single off of starter Zach Bollingberg. Joey Tempel followed with another single, Karver Heydt hit into a fielder’s choice and went to second on an errant relay throw from second base by the Athletics that also scored Frichter to put the Vikings ahead 1-0. Lucas Hanson and Isaiah Tempel followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases and left fielder Ethan Slaathaug hit a RBI grounder to second to put Hayfield ahead 2-0. The turning point of the game then occurred as the Vikings rattled off five two-out hits, including a two RBI double off the bat of Erick Bungum, a RBI single from Isaac Watson, a RBI triple from nine hitter Nolan Klocke, a two-RBI double from Joey Tempel and a RBI single from Karver Heydt to make the score 9-0 at the end of one.
Jed Nelson came on in relief in the second inning and held the Viking offense at bay until LP broke into the scoring column in the top of the 4th when Sam Nelsen, singled, went to second on a comebacker to the mound and later stole home as part of a double steal to make the score 9-1. Hunter Vadeer, who walked and stole second as a part of that double steal later scored on a wild pitch from reliever Nolan Klocke to cut Hayfield’s lead to 9-2.
Lyle/Pacelli tallied again in the 5th when Jayden Lewis led off the inning with a walk. He went to second on an errant pickoff throw, to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI single from Sam Nelsen. The Athletics put runners on second and third with two outs, but in another pivotal point in the game, Klocke picked up his fourth strikeout of the game to keep the score at 9-3.
The Hayfield offense re-awoke in the bottom of the 5th when Joey Tempel rapped a two-RBI double and Karver Heydt belted a RBI triple to make the score 12-3. The Vikings invoked the 10-run rule in the 6th when Isaiah Tempel doubled and later scored on a fielder’s choice for the 13-3 final.
Sam Nelsen was 2 for 3 in the game for Lyle/Pacelli with two singles and a RBI, and Hunter Vadeer picked up the only other hit of the game for the Athletics as he was 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. Zach Bollingberg was tagged for the loss on the mound for LP as he pitched one inning and gave up nine runs, seven earned on nine hits, and he did not strike out or walk a batter. Jed Nelson pitched the next four innings for the Athletics and gave up three runs, all earned on three hits, striking out four, walking three and hitting one batter. Hunter Vadeer pitched the 6th inning and gave up the one earned run on one hit and walked one batter.
The loss put Lyle/Pacelli in the elimination bracket final against Southland, as the Rebels blasted Wabasha/Kellogg 15-1 in five innings in the semi-finals. The Rebels had all the momentum early on as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the Athletics were able to weather the storm and battle their way back for a 7-5 win.
Southland carried the momentum from their lopsided win over Wabasha/Kellogg into the top of the first in their matchup with Lyle/Pacelli as a two-run homer off the bat of catcher Nick Boe, an error, a RBI double from starting pitcher Harrison Hannah and a RBI single from right fielder Jonas Wiste staked the Rebels to a 5-0 lead. LP countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning when Zach Bollingberg singled, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jed Nelson to make the score 5-1 after one.
The Athletics then stormed back in the third inning to take a lead they would not relinquish when nine hitter Landon Meyer and Cole Walter drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. Bollingberg singled to load the bases and Travis Kurtz then came on in relief for Southland, but he was greeted with a two-RBI single off the bat of Sam Nelsen to cut the Rebel lead to 5-3. Jed Nelson then followed with another RBI single to score Bollingberg to make the score 5-4, and Nelsen came in to score behind him on an errant throw into the infield from center field. Hunter Vadeer then followed with a RBI double to put LP in the lead 6-5 after three innings.
Starting pitcher Cole Walter settled in after the first inning and retired seven in a row and five in a row at two different points in the game, and allowed only one baserunner until the top of the 6th when Southland used two errors and a single to load the bases with one out. Walter got out of the jam, though, when the lead runner was forced out at home off of a comebacker to the mound and another forceout at second ended the Rebel threat and kept the game at 6-5. The Athletics picked up a big insurance run in the bottom of the 6th when leadoff hitter Jayden Lewis doubled and later scored on a RBI single from Walter, who then retired the Rebels in the top of the 7th to lift Lyle/Pacelli to the win.
Walter pitched the complete-game victory for LP as he gave up the five runs, two earned on seven hits, striking out eight and walking one. he was also 1 for 3 with the RBI single and a run scored, Zach Bollingberg was 3 for 3 with three singles and two runs scored, Sam Nelsen was 1 for 3 with the two RBI single and a run scored, Jed Nelson was 1 for 1 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI’s, Hunter Vadeer wound up 1 for 2 with the RBI double and Jayden Lewis went 1 for 3 with the double and a run scored.
Lyle/Pacelli now sports a 20-3 record on the season, and the win versus Southland puts the Athletics back into the championship bracket against Hayfield at Dick Seltz Field on Thursday at 5 p.m. Lyle/Pacelli will have to defeat the Vikings twice to qualify for the State Class A baseball tournament coming up in St. Cloud next week, while one win for Hayfield will put them back into the state tournament after qualifying in 2019 before COVID-19 caused the cancellation of last season. You’ll hear all of the action Thursday on AM 1480 KAUS, with the pre-game show coming your way at 4:50 p.m.,and first pitch at 5:00 p.m. You can also listen online on our webpage at myaustinminnesota.com, and on the I Heart Radio and Radio.com apps.