Riverland is what’s on tap for Tapp
After helping his team reach the state tournament and only losing one senior off last year’s team, Hayfield left fielder Kolby Tapp would rather be striving for another shot at winning state, but at least this pandemic won’t end his baseball career.
He recently chose to continue his playing career and studies at Riverland Community College in Austin.
“I chose Riverland because they’ve been very successful in the past and it was close to home,” he said.
Tapp mentioned that staying close to home was important because he helps run his family’s farm.
With helping on the farm and studying criminal justice, he had to make sure that joining the Blue Devils would be the right fit for him.
“I talked to Tyler Krekling [who played baseball for the Hayfield Vikings and the Blue Devils] about them and he thought it would be a good fit for me,” he said.
Once Tapp got that vote of confidence, he knew that Riverland was the right place for him.
“It wasn’t a very hard decision to make, I told my parents I was going to Riverland regardless,” he said.
While he knew where he wanted to go, he said the fact that he was able to join their team is a happy accident.
“It was kind of a huge coincidence in all honesty. The day that [Hayfield Head Coach] Kasey [Krekling] reached out to Coach Hahn, Riverland’s left fielder had signed with the University of Minnesota-Duluth so that was kind of cool in my opinion,” Tapp said.
Whether by happenstance or not, Kasey Krekling said the Blue Devils are getting a strong offensive player.
“Kolby has good power and great discipline at the plate. He led our team with a .505 on base percentage last season and that is due to him having a very good eye at the plate and being willing to get hit by a pitch to get on base,” he said. “Kolby was actually just a few 'hit by pitches' away for breaking the state record for most career hit by pitches. That shows his toughness and willingness to do whatever it takes to get on base and help his team win.”
He added that Tapp has been helping the Vikings win for the past four years, as he’s been their starting left fielder since he started playing varsity baseball in eighth grade.
“He started that year on the eighth grade team, but quickly worked his way up to varsity as he was hitting the cover off the ball at all the levels we played him at. In his first varsity game he collected three hits and he has been a varsity starter ever since,” said Kasey Krekling.
Those three years of varsity experience paid off last year as he played the important role of the Vikings’ everyday cleanup hitter on their state tournament team.
“He did a great job of finding his way on base,” he said.
Tapp was rewarded for his strong play by receiving All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Given his strong play and longevity on varsity, Coach Krekling said he’ll be missed next year.
“Kolby has been with the varsity team so long that it will be weird not having him in our dugout next year,” he said. “He is vocal leader that likes to keep things lively in the dugout and having someone that can keep everyone else loose will be hard to replace next season.”