Hastings now the state's No. 3 ranked softball team
The Hastings softball team moved into a first-place tie in the Suburban East Conference with a 2-0 win over the Stillwater Ponies last week. Hastings won, 2-0.
Stillwater took an undefeated record into the matchup. Hastings has one loss on the season, a conference setback that came against Mounds View.
Hastings knew it would be in for a close game, and that's exactly what they got.
"In a game like that, you really have to step it up and stay focused," coach Dean Robinson said. "You can't let up, even for one inning, because a good team like that will jump all over you. The girls were focused and stayed into it the whole game."
Hastings took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Hailey Lundquist singled and advanced to second on a bunt by Michaela Mills. Treya Connell singled in Lundquist.
In the third inning, Lundquist got the rally going again. She doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Connell was the winning pitcher. She struck out 12 batters and had just two walks over seven innings.
"Definitely, the rise ball was working that night," Robinson said. "It was her speed and her rise ball and mixing them up. She was keeping them off balance. They didn't know what she was going to throw next. The defense played well behind her, too."
Hastings moved up to the No. 3 ranking in the state with the win. Burnsville is No. 1. They just lost to Park.
North St. Paul, a team Hastings beat two weeks ago, is ranked No. 2.
Hastings has a 10-1 record on the season.
Hastings had no trouble with Woodbury on Wednesday, winning 13-3 in seven innings.
Hastings scored seven runs in the second inning, one in the fifth and five more in the seventh.
Mills had two hits.
Robinson had three hits, including two doubles and three RBI.
Kaitlyn Stark had three hits.
Connell, Wical and Robinson each hit balls off the outfield fence.
"We hit the ball hard," Robinson said. "We hit the fence at least three times, and Britt had a home run that went foul."
Hastings finished with 14 hits on the night.
Connell threw the first five innings. She struck out seven and walked two, allowing one run.
Courtney VanDeVelde relieved Connell for the final two innings. She had one strikeout and allowed the final two runs.