The Hastings softball team is in the driver's seat when it comes to earning a trip back to the state tournament.
Hastings won its first three games in the section softball tournament, setting up a big night Thursday in Austin. Hastings has no losses in the double-elimination tournament, and the Raiders will take on top-seeded Farmington at 4 p.m. If Hastings wins, they are the section champs.
If they lose, the two teams will play again, winner take all.
Thursday was set up after a big win Tuesday night over those same Tigers from Farmington, 3-2, in eight innings.
Hastings got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with one run. Paige Ahrens led off with a double and she scored after a hit by Courtney Van De Velde.
In the sixth, the Raiders added another run to go up 2-0. Hailey Lundquist singled and Kaylynn Johnson singled. Megan Friederichs singled to score Lundquist.
In the bottom of the seventh, though, Farmington rallied to score two runs.
In the top of the eighth, Lundquist singled and advanced on an error. She scored on a hit by Friederichs.
Friederichs pitched for the Raiders. She threw all eight innings and had six strikeouts. She worked out of a jam in the fifth by earning a strikeout with the bases loaded.
In the seventh and the eighth, she worked out of jams as well.
With two runners on base in the eighth inning, she got the final out on a strikeout.
Hastings, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, beat No. 2 seeded Rochester John Marshall on Friday night, 2-1.
Hastings scored in the second inning after a single by Ahrens, a walk and a hit by Alyssa Robinson.
In the seventh, Hastings picked up another run to go up 2-0. Michaela Mills hit a two-out homer for the run.
In the bottom of the seventh, John Marshall scored one run, but Friederichs got out of the jam and the game ended. She struck out three.
Hastings won its opening round game against Northfield, 7-5, but it wasn't pretty.
Northfield scored four unearned runs over the first two innings of the game.
Hastings rallied and came back to win, 7-5.
"We basically gave them the game in the beginning, and they gave it back to us in the end," assistant coach Ken Lundquist said.
Hastings pulled to within 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mills singled to score one, and Rachel Thomas singled to score two.
In the sixth, Northfield added a run to go up 5-3.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, though, Hastings scored four runs thanks in part to three Northfield errors.
"The girls stayed positive and kept believing in each other," Lundquist said. "They never gave up."