Hawks, Mudhens ready for postseason play
The Hastings Hawks and the Miesville Mudhens have a longer road to get to the state amateur baseball tournament this year.
In year's past, two teams from the local four-team Classic Cannon Valley League section (which also includes Red Wing and Dundas) have advanced to the state tournament.
The first round of the state tournament had always been single elimination. The single elimination aspect of the first round troubled many baseball purists.
"Nobody wanted a single elimination tournament," Hastings player/manager Adam Barta said. "Teams play for too long and too hard, only to be ousted by one nine-inning game. Baseball is meant to be played in a series format. You want to challenge a team's pitching depth, and their overall depth."
Again this year, two teams will advance from the four-team section. They will then play in a four-team super-sectional. Both tournaments are double-elimination.
The top two teams from the super-sectional will advance to the eight-team state tournament. Barta wouldn't be surprised to find some CCVL teams advance deep into the state tournament again this year.
"The four teams in our section are so good," he said. "All four teams in our section have the ability to be playing in the final weekend of the state tournament every year. In our league, everyone turns it up a notch when the playoffs come around.
"While it might be harder getting to the state tournament now, I think it gives teams a little better chance at showing who the best team really is."