Randolph Edges Hayfield in Pitcher’s Duel State Title Game
The Randolph Rockets scored a 2-1 win over defending State Champions Hayfield to claim the MSHSL Class A baseball title today at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.
Senior Jacob Weckop threw for the Rockets while senior Nolan Klocke went the distance for the Vikings.
Klocke struck out 15 Randolph batters while Weckop fanned 13 Hayfield hitters.
Hayfield was seeded #1 by the Class A State Tournament coaches and Randolph #2. The Vikings won the coin toss and chose to be home team.
Hayfield scored in the bottom of the second inning when sophmore outfielder Aiden Nelson was walked with one out. He advanced to second base on a ground out before #7 hitter Zander Jacobson hammered a RBI single and the Vikings were in business.
The Rockets answered in the third ining when they got back to back to back hist to open the inning. #8 hitter Cain Otto singled and was thrown out at second base when Bray Olson followed his hit with a single and sophmore right fielder Aiden Nelson threw him out at second base when he was trying to advance onthe bloop single to right.
Drew Jenkins followed with an RBI double. A wild pitch moved him to third base where he stood at the end of the inning.
Weckop continued his dominance. At one point he struck out 7 of 8 batters faced with a lone walk mixed in. In fact in the bottom of the 4th inning the #4, 5, 6 batters in the order all struck out looking. Five of his thirteen strikeouts were looking.
With one out in the fifth inning junior Collin Otto hammered the ball down the right field line that got by the first baseman and the right fielder allowing him to gain third base. The official scorer ruled two errors on the play.
He would then score on a passed ball. It would prove to be the winning run of the game.
Rockets Head Coach Chris Stanton was not going to let future Gopher Easton Fritcher beat his team if he coul help it. Fritcher was frustrated when Stanton intentionally walked him with with 2 outs in the fifth inning and he stepped to the plate with a runner in scoring position.
Zander Jacobson opened the inning with a walk and stole second base. Weckop struck out the next two batter, one looking and one swinging. Coach Stanton told the umpire to send Fritcher to first base. He flew out to start the game and was walked two other times. It appeared Weckop was simply not going to give him anything to hit in the strike zone.
It was a four pitch walk in the third inning and a full count walk in the seventh with two outs.
Hayfield looked like they might be able to tie or take the lead in the 6th inning. The #3 and #4 hitters struck out. Sophmore Aiden Nelson hit a single to left field followed by a single off the back of junior Ethan Pack. Zander Jacobson hit the ball hard on the ground but right to the third baseman who scooped it up and stepped on the base to end the inning.
Taking a deeper dive into the numbers to show you how impressive Weckop's outing was against the defending State Champions. The Randolph senior righty only allowed a first batter to get on base once in the state title game.
Jacobson walked to start the 5th inning, stole second and was stranded there. Five of the six other innings he had a strikeout of the first batter of the inning.
The last time the two teams played it was a bit of a slug fest with the Rockets winning 6-5 in 8 innings in Randolph
Hayfield was trying to get back to back state baseball championships to add to their back to back state boys basketball championships. Nothing to hang their heads over though. The Vikings came very close to pulling it off and just think what the odds must be.
The all-Gopher Conference final was entertaining for the many fans at Target Field. I wonder if there was anyone left in Randolph or Hayfield.
There was a lot of orange behind the Rockets third base dugout and blue and gold dominated behind the Vikings first base dugout.
Hayfield ended their season with a 24-3 record, two of those losses coming to Randolph by a total of 2 runs.
The 2022 State Champion Randolph Rockets win their first baseball championship and finish their magical year with a 24-1 record. The only team to defeat them was Gopher Conference foe Maple River 12-11. The Eagles are a Class AA team.
The Randolph fastpitch softball team went undefeated in their State Championship season last year and finished third at state this spring despite graduating most of their players from last year's squad.
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