Hawks beat Mudhens to advance
In 14 regular season Classic Cannon Valley League games, the Miesville Mudhens were perfect. Fourteen wins. Zero losses.
It stood to reason, then, that the money was on the Mudhens when the Section 1 tournament began last week between Miesville and Hastings. It was a best-of-five series, and Hastings would have to beat the Mudhens three times in five games to advance to the state tournament and knock the Mudhens out.
In the end, that's exactly what Hastings did, clinching a state tournament berth with a 4-1 win over Miesville Sunday afternoon.
It was a shocking way for Miesville's season to end, and a shocking way for Hastings' season to continue.
"I'm hurting," Miesville pitcher Erik Olson said. "In my heart I know we're the better team, but the funny thing about baseball is, on any given day any team can win."
Olson pitched 8 2/3 innings. He gave up all four runs and allowed eight hits. Olson was outdueled by his pitching counterpart, Adam Barta. Hastings' right-handed starter retired the first 11 batters he faced before Andrew Hansen singled in the fourth.
"He is so good and changing it up and he hits his spots," Mudhens shortstop Nate Otto said. "When you think he is going to throw something, he throws completely the opposite."
Miesville took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a run-scoring single by David Olson. Barta got out of the inning and cruised from that point on.
In the sixth inning, Hastings tied the score. Brandon Peterson reached on an error, advanced on a single by Andy Salmela and scored on an RBI single by Pat Kelly.
In the seventh, Hastings took the lead. David Vogelgesang singled and advanced on a sacrifice by Mark Moriarty. Vogelgesang scored on an error.
In the ninth, Jordy Horsch walked, Salmela walked and both eventually scored on a base hit by Derrick Pfeffer.
"They just didn't give us a lot of chances," Miesville player/manager Garrett Retka said. "When they did give us chances, we were the team that broke down."
After splitting the first two games of the series, Hastings and Miesville faced one another last Tuesday, Aug. 10. With the Mudhens leading 5-4, the game was suspended because of rain. It resumed Saturday.
With runners on first and third with one out, a single up the middle tied it. Pat Kelly eventually had the game-winning hit in the 12th inning, giving Hastings a 6-5 win.
Miesville evened the series at two games a piece with an 8-1 win over Hastings late Saturday.
The Mudhens scored six runs in the ninth inning Saturday to pull away from Hastings in what had been a pitchers' duel.
Miesville pitcher Chris Olean earned a complete-game victory. He allowed one earned run on eight hits. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter.
"Just everything worked (for him)," Retka said. "He threw strikes -- one strike after another. He had their best hitters off balance."
Miesville's Scott Werner reached base all four times he batted and finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Teammates Matt Van Der Bosch and David Olson each had two hits and scored a run.
State tournament action
Hastings first game in the 16-team Class B state tournament will come at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, against Blaine.
If they win, they'll play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 against the winner of the game between Austin and Shakopee.
If they lose, they'll play again Sunday, Aug. 29.
Willmar is the site for this year's state tournament.
The Hawks earned the No. 2 seed in Section 1 after falling to Dundas on Monday night, 4-0.
Hastings drafted three pitchers following the game, including Eric Olson from Miesville, Augie Lindmark from Red Wing and Aaron Johnson from Red Wing.
Hastings enters state tournament play with a 23-17 record.
Hastings team members are Wes Hedlund, Shawn Matson, Jordy Horsch, Jake Swartout, Ryan Hackel, Nick Horsch, David Vogelgesang, Adam Barta, Derrick Pfeffer, Pat Kelly, Mark Moriarty, Sean Dube, Andy Salmela, Sam Ryan, John Anderson, Aaron Gretz, Brandon Peterson, David Goggin, Tony Kaiser, T.J. Galenti, Steve Krashaar and Ryan Bermiester.
Jordy Horsch leads the Hawks in hitting with a .383 average.
Ryan has three home runs and Anderson has 12 steals in 12 attempts.
Barta has thrown 118 innings for the Hawks and has a 6-5 record on the season.