The Hayfield Vikings scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Faribault Bethlehem Academy 3-1 at Bell Field today.  Vikings junior right handed pitcher Brady Nelson scattered 5 hits and went the distance.  With 105 being the pitch count limit it's pretty rare a pitcher can go nine innings these days.  Nelson recorded a strikeout of the final batter and reached 106 pitches with that pitch.  The rule says a pitcher can finish throwing to a batter when they reach 105.

Nelson struck out 5 batters and walked 1.  Junior Spencer Ell started the game for the Cardinals and went the first 4 2/3 innings.  He threw 79 pitches, 47 for strikes, allowed 2 hits, walked 3 batters and struck out 1.  Sophomore left handed pitcher Jarrett Malecha came on in relief in the 5th inning after Ell saw freshman leadoff hitter for Hayfield Easton Fritcher crush a triple in a 9 pitch at bat with two outs in the 5th inning.

Malecha got senior Mason Tapp to lightly hit the ball between the mound and third base and Malecha pounced on the ball and threw Tapp out to end the inning.

Malecha ended up throwing 4 innings and had all three Vikings runs charged to him.  He allowed 4 hits, 3 in the 9th inning, walked 5 batters, one intentionally.  Ell came back in to pitch to the final 3 batters with two more walks and a strikeout.

The Cardinals had a golden opportunity to score in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 7th inning when Zach Van Thomme hit a ball to center that appeared to be a routine fly ball but the center fielder dropped the ball and Van Thomme was at second base.  Jack Clark stepped to the plate and on an 0-2 count punched the ball on the infield to advance Van Thomme to third base with one out.  Needing just a fly ball Jack Jandro stepped to the plate with the infield drawn in.  Jandro hit a grounder to shortstop Tapp.  Van Thomme ended up being too far off first base and was caught into a rundown that ended in the second out.  Jandro gained second base while they were recording the second out.

In the bottom of the 8th inning Malecha clubbed a one out double but Bethlehem Academy could not bring him home.  In the bottom of the 9th Nelson issued his first walk of the game to Josh Oathoudt on four pitches to start the inning.  Following a fly out Clark hit a single to place runners at the corners.  Jandro connected for a single scoring Oathoudt.  Jandro was thrown out trying to gain second base and Nelson got a strike out looking to end the game.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were the pitching duo of Ell and Malecha.

Hayfield came into the game with 42 runs scored and 5 allowed during this week in 22-0 and 20-5 wins over Schaeffer Academy and Martin Luther-Granada Huntley East Chain-Truman.

The Vikings are tied with United South Central for first place in the Gopher Conference in this the first year for Hayfield in the league.

Earlier this year the Vikings defeated Bethlehem Academy 10-0 in Austin.  The Cardinals fell to 2-8.  Hayfield is 13-2 and plays tomorrow at Marcusen Park in Austin against Lyle-Pacelli at 10:00 a.m. then faces Conference Co-leader United South Central after the first game.

Bethlehem Academy is 2-8 with a makeup game at Maple River at Noon Saturday.