Softball: Raiders are now state's No. 1 team
The news just keeps getting better for the Hastings High School softball team.
Over the weekend, the Raiders beat the state's No. 1-ranked team during a tournament in North St. Paul. That win has moved the Raiders up the rankings into the No. 1 spot.
"It's crazy," HHS coach Dean Robinson said. "There's no place I'd rather be right now. It's just incredible. It proves what hard work does. The girls know what it takes to get to the places they want to go. The last three or four years, they've been battling and getting better. It's paying off."
Hastings earned a pair of Suburban East Conference wins over the last week, too, to run the record to a perfect 10-0.
The No. 1 statewide ranking is something new for the Raiders.
"It's definitely a big bullseye on our back," Robinson said. "For years, we've been the underdog. Now everyone is out to get us.
The biggest win of the season came Saturday afternoon when the Raiders won the tournament title in North St. Paul with a big 2-0 win over No. 1-ranked Burnsville.
Defense was the key to the win, Robinson said. One play he remembers was started by first baseman Marissa Holmes. With a runner on third and one out, the Burnsville batter laid down a bunt toward first base. Holmes charged, scooped the ball up with her glove, and with the ball still in her glove, she flipped it to catcher Jordan Schaffer. Schaffer tagged out the runner in time for the second out.
The batter on the play raced to an open second base. But what the baserunner didn't know was that centerfielder Katelyn Nelson was racing in to cover the bag. Schaffer threw a bullet to Nelson. Eventually, the runner was caught in a rundown and tagged out to end the inning.
"Our defense just pulled it out big time in that inning to get the third out and get us out of a jam," Robinson said. "It was definitely a team weekend. The whole weekend was full of great pitching. The defensive plays we made were spectacular."
It looked like Hastings was going to get on the scoreboard in the first inning when Britt Robinson came to the plate and smacked one to the fence. The ball bounced off the top of the fence for a double. Robinson, though, was stranded.
In the third inning, though, Robinson made sure she scored. She hit a solo home run over the fence.
The second and final Hastings run was scored in the fifth inning. Treya Connell singled and Stef Wical knocked her in.
Jenelle Trautmann was the Hastings pitcher in the game. She allowed just two hits and struck out six.
In the semifinals for the North St. Paul tournament, Hastings beat Centennial, 1-0.
Connell got the win for Hastings. She struck out four.
The Hastings run came in the third inning. Schaffer hit a two-out solo home run over the fence to give the Raiders the only offense they'd need. It was her first home run of the year.
In the quarterfinals, Hastings beat Lakeville North, 4-2.
Robinson got the pitching win. She struck out eight and allowed one earned run.
The Raiders got on the scoreboard in the first inning. Linnea Haler started a rally with a walk. Schaffer walked and Haler moved up to second. She scored on a double by Trautmann.
In the third inning, Haler doubled and eventually scored on a ground out by Connell.
Lakeville North scored its runs in the first and the fifth. Headed into the seventh inning, the score was tied 2-2.
In the top of the seventh, Schaffer singled and then scored on a two-run homer over the fence by Trautmann.
Hastings has seven over-the-fence home runs on the season.
Trautmann has two, Holmes has two, Robinson has two and Schaffer has one.
Hastings beat Woodbury on Monday, 5-1.
All the Raider runs came in the first inning.
Haler singled; Schaffer was hit by a pitch, as was Trautmann.
With the bases loaded, Connell delivered a two-run single. Holmes singled to knock in one, and then Wical got a hit to score two more.
Robinson pitched and got the win. She struck out four.
Vs Forest Lake
Hastings beat Forest Lake on Wednesday, 6-1.
Holmes hit a long home run that bounced off the water tower in left field at HHS.
Connell was the winning pitcher. She struck out four.
Holmes finished with two hits.
Kaitlin Stark had two hits, and Schaffer had three hits.