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Raiders baseball team sweeps Cottage Grove

After Hastings saw their eight-run lead slip away, pitcher Andrew Werner, brought in to relieve Zach Samuelson, came up with the best response to the negative chatter he was hearing from Park's first base coach. Finish them off.

With the fly out to center, Hastings' home-away sweep of Cottage Grove was complete, as the Raiders held on to defeat Park 9-6 on the road on May 10.

"Park is always a tough place to play," coach Mike Louden said. "For so many years, we've split with them. We'd win down here but lose up in Park. It's nice to beat them up there."

Werner was brought on in the seventh after a double play turned by shortstop Jake Ries had eliminated much of the Wolfpack's threat.

"I was trying to get control and not try to do much," Werner said. "I know if I go out there and do my job, good things will happen."

Good things did happen, as they had earlier in the fourth inning when first baseman Brian Stoneberg had hit a two-run double, sending home Werner, playing second at the time, and center fielder Scott Werner. Third baseman Luke Riveness also hit a two-run home run in the inning, which would end with the Raiders ahead 8-0.

The Wolfpack, who had given up a run to Hastings in the first off an RBI single by Ries, clawed their way back into the game with three runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Hastings did score once more in the fifth, when left fielder Joe Welch scored off Ries' RBI infield ground-out.

Tom Esser got the start for Hastings and was replaced by Samuelson with one out in the fourth.

The win was the seventh straight for the Raiders (10-2, 9-1), who are now first in the Suburban East Conference, ahead of Woodbury and Stillwater.

Hastings 7, Forest Lake 3

The Raiders scored three in the first inning and four more in the fifth during a 7-3 win at home over Forest Lake on May 7.

Andrew Werner threw a complete game for Hastings, allowing only one earned run on five hits. Jake Ries went 2-for-4 with two RBI, both coming off a two-out single in the fifth.

Forest Lake scored once in the second inning and twice in the sixth, limiting Hastings to 7 hits but committing three errors.

Hastings 1, Mounds View 0

Esser came within an out in the seventh inning of throwing a no-hitter against Mounds View on May 5, scoreless pitching the Raiders needed in their 1-0 win.

Esser had six strikeouts and allowed only three base runners all game.

"It was a typical windy day," Louden said. "One that was tough to score runs with the wind blowing in. But Tom was especially sharp with location. He didn't throw down the middle of the plate but worked the corners the whole game. His change-up was especially effective."

Hastings scored their only run in the sixth, when Riveness singled in Joe Welch.

Louden's almost finale

After coaching for 26 years, Louden will direct Hastings in his last regular-season home game on May 19 against Roseville. There will be a short ceremony before the game gets under way, beginning at 3:50 p.m. All of Louden's former players are invited to attend.

Hastings is likely to play a home game at Grossman Field during the playoffs.