The Hayfield Vikings and Randolph Rockets battled for a number of years in Section 1A and could play each other in the semi-finals or consolation bracket of the State Class A Softball Tournament this week.  The games are at Caswell Park in North Mankato,  Randolph was ranked #10 in the latest ratings and received the #4 seed.  Tough seed for a team that is 22-1 on the season.  The Rockets open play at 1:00 p.m. Thursday against #5 seed and #10 ranked Carlton (that's right both are rated #10).

The Hayfield Vikings (14-7) received a very tough draw.  They will open against #1 seed, #1 rated and defending State Class A Champion New York Mills (24-1).  The Vikings were  in others receiving votes in the Class A rankings.  This is Hayfield's fourth straight trip to state.  After struggling early in the year Coach Jana Wagner's team has found their formula for success.  Hayfield has always had terrific hitting teams and this year is no exception.

In the West Subsection and Section 1A Tournaments the Vikings played the minimum number of games to get to state (4) after receiving the top seed and first round bye.  Hayfield defeated Blooming Prairie 15-3, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 8-0 in the Subsections and downed Goodhue 16-1 and Wabasha-Kellogg 14-0 in the Section Tournament.  That's dominance with the total runs in Hayfield's favor 53-4.  The Vikings finished 4th at state last year and nearly knocked off top seed Edgerton/SW Minnesota Christian in the semi-finals.  They came up just short 10-9.

The Randolph Rockets meanwhile were sent to Section 4A and played Kimball Area with a need to win twice to get to state.  Kimball Area had beaten Randolph 7-0 in the winner's bracket at Kimball (nearly St. Cloud) last Saturday so this was a tall order for the Rockets.

The final games were played at Northwestern University in Roseville cutting down the bus ride substantially.  Kimball Area was rated #4 in the latest rankings.  The Rockets won 5-4 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the State Tournament.

See what I mean by a tough four seed ?  The only loss to a top 5 ranked school that they beat twice to achieve their berth into the tournament.

The #2 seed is Edgerton/SW Minnesota Christian (18-3) who drew Sebeka (16-9) in the first round.  The #3 seed New Ulm Cathedral (19-2) goes up against Badger/Greenbush/Middle River (19-7).

Edgerton/SW Minnesota Christian was rated #8, New Ulm Cathedral #6 and Badger/Greenbush/Middle River #5 in the state rankings.  Tough draw for New Ulm Cathedral too.

The coaches in the tournament rank the other teams and not themselves.  Last year New York Mills defeated Edgerton/SW Minnesota Christian in the title game 8-4 and the Edgerton team was the top seed.

Todd Park North Field in Austin. Hayfield beat Wabasha-Kellogg 14-0 to advance to State. photo by Gordy Kosfeld