May 24, 2017 06:36 PM
(ABC 6 News) – The Hayfield Vikings softball team is seeking their third consecutive Section 1A championship and third straight trip to the Class A state tournament this spring—it helps that their powerful star junior, Kyal Heydt, is back in the Vikings lineup in 2017, just as the Vikings seem to be peaking on the diamond.
Heydt, a junior second baseman, is already playing her third position on defense this season after starting the year at third base and shortstop—which hasn’t been a difficult transition for Heydt. “Kyal really knows the game of softball,” Vikings head softball coach Jana Wagner said. “It’s easier for her to understand and where to be and how to play the ball.”
The Vikings, who have the no. 1 seed in the Subsection 1A West softball brackets, have had a fast start to the softball season—they’ve topped their first two opponents, Alden-Conger (18-0) and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (16-1) in dominant fashion.
Offensively, all the bats have been “on fire” for the Vikings, but Heydt is the one player leading the offensive charge. “Kyal has been leading us and the offense right now,” Wagner said. “(Before Wednesday), the last two games, she’s had two home runs each game. She’s just looking to drive in her teammates.”
Heydt is a three-sport athlete—she plays for the Vikings volleyball and basketball teams during the fall and winter, respectively.
Wagner said she believes softball is Heydt’s favorite sport—which made is tough for Heydt when she missed her sophomore season due to partially tearing her ACL and completely tearing her medial and lateral menisci during the basketball season. “I was playing basketball, and I went to run after a basketball, and I just tore it,” Heydt recalled. “I just knew, right away, it hurt. The worst pain I’ve felt in a long time, so I just knew it was probably something severe.”
Although the Vikings do not have official team captains, Wagner calls Heydt “a leader”, and Heydt said being a leader from the bench was difficult. “I just missed it so much last year,” Heydt said. “I’m never going to take this sport for granted again.”
The rehab process was long for Heydt—she said the rehab last from February of 2016 through March of 2017, and returning to softball was initially a “process”. “Right away, it was rough,” Heydt said. “I was scared, and I shouldn’t have been scared because I didn’t want to do the same injury again.”
Now, Heydt said her knee will sometimes “get iffy”, but most of the time, she “feels good”, meaning she can just focus on leading her Vikings back to the state tournament in the next few weeks. “I can’t think about the people who aren’t playing, I have to be supportive and always be a leader, even off the field.”
Heydt said she will play for the Rochester Royals this summer, and has received interest from division three colleges and universities, including an offer from Bethany College.
Heydt and the Vikings will play Blooming Prairie in the Section 1A playoffs on Friday at Todd Park in Austin.
Created: May 24, 2017 06:36 PM
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