Hawks will play against Mankato Twins at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Gaylord
For the fifth time since 2001, the Hastings Hawks are headed to the state amateur baseball tournament.
The Hawks will play the Mankato Twins at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Gaylord.
Hastings qualified by beating the Dundas Dukes in a best-of-five series last week. Hastings lost the first game to Dundas, then stormed back to win three in a row and advance to the state tournament.
With the series tied 1-1 and the action in Hastings for games three and four, Derrick Pfeffer strolled to the mound for the Hawks. He pitched eight strong innings and helped the Hawks earn a 5-3 win.
"That really was the series turner right there," Hawks manager Adam Barta said. "That was a huge game for us. We took charge of the series with that win."
Barta pitched the final inning for the save.
Pfeffer, Jared Powell and Andy Salmela each had RBIs in the win.
In the fourth game, Barta threw a complete game and allowed just one run as the Hawks qualified for the state tournament with a 4-1 win.
Salmela, Powell, Sam Ryan, Pfeffer and David Vogelgesang each played key roles in a three-run third inning for Hastings.
In the seventh, Hastings added another run on a sacrifice fly by Salmela that scored Vogelgesang.
Dundas scored one run in the ninth, but Barta closed the door and Hastings advanced.
The 3-1 series win over Dundas was considered quite an upset in Classic Cannon Valley League baseball circles.
"If you would have asked pretty much anybody in the league, who the favorite to win the series was, it was Dundas," Barta said. "They took second in the state tournament last year. They won our league last year and this year. But we played great. We played great baseball at the right time."
Hastings and Miesville played a seeding game Sunday to determine who the top seed from the league would be.
Miesville won that game, 7-0.
"That was a game we didn't come to play," Barta said. "I think we were a little be emotionally and physically spent after the series against Dundas.
"That's unfortunate. The game against Miesville was a very big game. It determined the seeding - who plays Marshall, and who plays Mankato."
Mankato is considered one of the favorites to win the state tournament. They have just two losses on the season. Since Miesville won, they will play Marshall. Hastings will face Mankato.
"Nobody expected us to beat Dundas, and I think everyone will go into that game with Mankato with the same mentality," Barta said. "Mankato is the favorite. We don't have a whole lot of pressure on us. We're going to play hard and see what happens."
The second unfortunate part about the loss to Miesville is that with the No. 1 seed in the league, the Mudhens got to pick first in the state tournament draft.
Hastings ended up drafting Steve Loos of Dundas, Steve Boldt of Red Wing and Brandon Rolloff from Dundas.