Hawks, Mudhens to face off
According to the calendar, the state amateur baseball tournament doesn't start for a few weeks.
Don't tell that to the Hastings Hawks, though. They might not believe you.
"Our state tournament doesn't start in two weeks," player/manager Adam Barta said. "Our state tournament begins on Friday."
Barta says that because on Friday Hastings opens the second round of the playoffs with one very challenging matchup. Hastings will face Miesville in a best-of-five series. Miesville enters play with a 31-3 overall record and a perfect 14-0 mark in the Classic Cannon Valley League.
Hastings has a 19-14 overall mark.
"It's going to be a great series," Barta said. "There is no doubt we have our work cut out for us and no one thinks we'll come away with this series. But they also said that when we played Dundas in this series last year. We went and beat both the 2009 state champions and 2009 runner-ups last year in the state tourney and this year we've added players. We just need to get hot and have the ball bounce our way a couple of innings."
The first game is planned for an 8 p.m. start Friday in Miesville. The second game will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, again in Miesville.
Hastings and Miesville will play Tuesday night in Hastings at 8 p.m.
The winner of the series will advance to the state tournament in Willmar later this month.
Hastings beat Northfield in a best-of-three series, winning the first two games against the Knights.
Hastings won the first game Friday night, 6-5.
Hastings then won the second game Sunday in Northfield, 4-1.
In Sunday's clincher, player/manager Adam Barta pitched for the Hawks and got the win on the mound. He struck out six, walked nobody and gave up just six hits.
Derrick Pfeffer and Mark Moriarty each had home runs for Hastings.
Andy Salmela had three hits and Aaron Gretz had two hits.
"Northfield is a team that was never looked over," Barta said. "They are very capable of scoring runs and with (T.J.) Sigstad pitching Game 1 and probably Game 3, runs come at a premium when he's on the mound."
"Game 2 was much sharper. We made no errors and had a little power production with the middle of our line-up. Both Pfeffer and Moriarty's homeruns separated us where we felt like there was a little breathing room. Gretz, one of our rookies, had two crucial situation RBIs with a RBI sac fly and an RBI ground out. It's going to be small things like that help us get by Miesville."
Mark Moriarty started Friday's game. He was relieved by David Vogelgesang, who earned the win for the Hawks.