Defense has been the problem so far this season for the Hastings softball team, but if the last two games are any indication, the Raiders may have found a cure.
Hastings got off to an 0-4 start this season due, for the most part, to errors, according to coach Dean Robinson.
On Saturday, though, Hastings fared much better on the diamond and fell, 2-1, to a good Forest Lake team.
The four losses weren't how the Raiders wanted to start the season, obviously, but Robinson isn't panicking.
"I don't feel like we've been beat yet," he said. "We're just losing the games ourselves. We're giving teams extra outs. We're not making plays, and we haven't had that one big clutch hit. That's going to come. This team can hit the ball. It's just a matter of getting that critical hit when we need it.
"We're looking for that big hit to get us going."
Vs Forest Lake
Hastings gave up two runs in the first inning to the Rangers, a team that Hastings met at the state tournament last year.
Hastings got one run back in the third inning, but it wasn't enough.
In the third, Hailey Lundquist singled and moved up. Michaela Mills singled and Lundquist eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Shelby Wassink.
"It was a good game," Robinson said. "It was the best defensive game we've had all season. This was definitely a stronger game defensively for us. We had a lot of opportunities to win the game."
Hastings had one such opportunity with the bases loaded and nobody out and couldn't score. At the end of the game, the potential tying run was stranded on second base.
"We just didn't get that big hit," Robinson said.
Courtney Van De Velde had a strong game as the Hastings pitcher, Robinson said.
"She is pitching better and better every game," he said. "She's been solid. If we can keep playing strong defense behind her, we're going to win some of these games. It will be fun playing teams in our conference the second time around. I think we're going to be a totally different team."
Vs East Ridge
Hastings lost to East Ridge on April 14, 8-6.
Hastings left the bases loaded in the seventh inning with a chance to win the game.
The Raiders had 10 errors in the game, Robinson said.
"Balls were going off the end of our gloves -- there were a lot of plays that should have been outs. We just didn't look the ball into our glove. We weren't very sound on defense."
Jordan Marshall knocked in the first run for Hastings, which came in the second inning.
In the third, Wassink singled to score Mills.
In the sixth, Van De Velde singled and Kaylynn Johnson walked. Lundquist doubled to score two runs. Mills doubled to score one run and Lori Bauer singled to score one.
Hastings lost to Woodbury on April 11, 4-1.
Rachel Thomas drove in the lone Hastings run with a walk.