Hawks open season with win against Stewartville
The Hastings Hawks have completed the first of five goals for the season.
"You have to win your first game," the team's manager, Adam Barta, said.
The Hawks faced the Stewartville Sharks May 5 and ended the day with a 8-3 win.
Tony Kaiser pitched most of the game - nearly seven innings. Barta picked up a save, and Derrick Pheffer pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Hawks started the game scoring slow and steady with one run in each of the first, second and fourth innings, but they blew the game open in the seventh with five more runs.
Jordy Horsch, T.J. Galenti and David Goggin led Hastings at the plate with two hits each. Goggin scored three of their eight runs and Jake Swartout had two RBIs.
The game was a non-league game. The Hawks' first Classic Cannon Valley League game was Sunday against the Red Wing Aces.
Since many of their players are still away at college, the Hawks started a few of their younger players Sunday.
The Aces scored twice - once in the second and once in the sixth - before the Hawks could make a run. Nick Horsch scored on a fielding error in the bottom of the sixth.
Despite their efforts, the Hawks couldn't score any more and lost 1-2.
What about the other four goals?
The Hawks hope to finish in the top three in the regular season, make it to the state championship, make it to the final weekend of the season and ultimately, win the state championship, Barta said.
This year the Hawks have expanded their roster to include more high school ball players. About a dozen high schoolers are on the team, but they might not be on the field often. Their first priority is playing for the school, Barta explained. They'll fill in with the Hawks when they're available.
They've also got new jerseys, and the city of Hastings has worked with the team to make some improvements to the field at Veteran's Park.
Horsch plays second base and leads the batting lineup for the third year in a row. While all the players are valuable, it's important to have stability at some positions, Barta said, and Horsch does just that.
Pheffer is the short stop and is one of the Hawks' top pitchers. He's been playing with the Hawks for eight years.
Swartout is a veteran first baseman.
Mark Moriarty is the Hawks' No. 1 pitcher. With Moriarty on the mound, the Hawks are virtually guaranteed a win, Barta said.
Rounding out the pitching staff with Moriarty and Pheffer this year are Barta, Kaiser and David Vogelgesang.
Up against Red Wing, Miesville, Hampton, Northfield, Dundas, Cannon Falls and Randolph, the Hawks are in a tough league.
"There's no easy team by any means," Barta said.
The Hawks have a good history, though. Last year, they placed fourth at state and have appeared at the tournament multiple times in recent years.