Raiders finally face Polars, and win, 4-2
The last two seasons, the Hastings girls softball team has placed third at the state tournament. And, for the last two seasons, the North St. Paul girls have placed second.
Over those last few years, the two teams haven't had a chance to meet face-to-face.
Last week, that all changed in a big matchup for the two schools.
North St. Paul entered as the state's No. 2 ranked team. Hastings entered as the state's No. 5 ranked team. Those rankings will undoubtedly change following the results. Hastings won, 4-2.
"That's a team we've wanted to play for the last few years," coach Dean Robinson said. "The intensity of that game, it was like a state tournament game, just because of the caliber of teams.
"We've been wanting to play them, and they've wanted to play us. We had tons of Hastings fans there and there were college coaches all over. It was just a great game to watch."
Hastings took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning after Britt Robinson walked and scored on a home run by Treya Connell. Following that homer, Stef Wical singled and then scored on a two-run homer by Lori Bauer.
North scored a single run in the fifth and then one in the sixth.
Connell pitched for Hastings and got the win. She struck out eight and walked four.
Hastings is now 8-1 on the season. The statewide ranking is nice, Robinson said, but it doesn't mean much quite yet.
"I'm worried about sections," he said.
Hastings graduated a number of players from last year's team, but those seniors have been replaced by a talented group of underclassmen.
"The girls that are first-time varsity players are definitely stepping up," Robinson said. "They seem so relaxed right now. They're playing great ball and are blending in well with the older girls.
"We just have to keep level heads and keep battling and learning. We still have to be ready to play our best ball at the end of the season. We have to keep getting better every single week."
Hastings beat Cretin-Derham Hall on Monday, May 2, 11-1 in six innings.
Connell earned another win, striking out 13 in six innings of work in the circle. She walked just two.
"Treya's pitching was definitely one of the bright spots," Robinson said. "That's the way it has been all season. She's been just great out there."
Hailey Lundquist had a double and a triple.
Michaela Mills had three hits, including a double and a triple. She also had an RBI.
Lori Bauer was two-for-two with two walks.
Connell had two RBI, as did Robinson.
Kaylynn Johnson had one RBI.
Hastings had no trouble in a 6-0 win over White Bear Lake on April 28, thanks in large part to Connell.
The HHS senior struck out 13 batters and walked just one. At the plate, she hit two solo home runs.
Mills had a triple.
Robinson had an RBI.
Tess McCullen had an RBI.
Vs East Ridge
Hastings beat East Ridge on April 27, 11-1, in six innings.
Hastings scored four runs in the fourth inning, five in the fifth and two in the sixth to end it.
East Ridge beat Hastings last season, so turning the tables on the Raptors was definitely a welcome sight for Robinson and the Raiders.
"That was just a big win," Robinson said. "It took our girls a little bit to get going, but then we got on top of their pitcher. We ended up being patient at the plate. We made her throw our pitch. She walked a few, and then we took advantage of it and stated timing her and we got on the ball."
Hastings batters drew seven walks in the game.
Kaitlin Stark was three-for-three. Bauer was two-for-two.
"It was another huge team effort," Robinson said.
Connell struck out eight Raptor batters and got the win.