AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – State Baseball tournament berths don’t come around often in Austin. It had been 29 years since the Packers last trip to the big dance.
In their first game, they faced a juggernaut — second-seeded Hill-Murray. On the mound, the Packers sent a sophomore, tenth-grader Teyghan Hovland.
“I was really nervous to be honest,” he said. “State is just a whole different breed.”
If he was scared, he didn’t show it. Hovland tossed 6 and 2/3’s inning of 1 run ball leading the Packers to a 3-1 win and the state semifinals.
“It’s pretty rare, especially as a sophomore, to go in and have success at the state tournament and throughout the year,” said Packers Head Coach Joe Kroc. “He hit .350 this year and had a 1.70 ERA. We knew he would keep us in the ball game, and he did that against Hill-Murray.”
But Hovland led the Packers at the plate as well. The sophomore hit .400 with 7 RBI in 3 games at state as the Packers brought home a 3rd place finish to a community not used to hardball hardware.
“It definitely meant a lot [to get third at state], you know, knowing that baseball can get a lot more fans and put us on the map,” said Hovland.
Hovland has a world of potential. He has major league bloodlines in the family, and a scout for the Texas Rangers told me Hovland is bound for a high-level Divsion I school.
“He’s got a high ceiling,” said Kroc. “He’s got the work ethic for it, too. He doesn’t look like a sophomore out there. He’s got the body like a junior or senior, and the demeanor is well beyond his years. He’s very mature for his age.”
Still with two full seasons left in his high school career, Hovland knows the key to his success.
“I don’t really have any superstitions. I just kind of sit down, get my mean face on, and go out there and do me.”
Teyghan Hovland of the Austin Packers is this week’s KTTC NewsCenter Sports Athlete of the Week.