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Raiders gain ground with two SEC wins

Tony Hammes slides into home while the Park catcher gets ready to try to tag him.

With just a couple games left to play before the playoffs, the Raider baseball team won two games in a row, putting an end to their season-long hunt for a conference victory.

Vs. Forest Lake

The Raiders won 8-3 May 14 against Forest Lake, the team's first Suburban East Conference win all season.

"We received an outstanding pitching performance from David Schoeberl," head coach Paul Hartmann said. "He threw 72 percent strikes, which was the most command of the strike zone he has had all season. We came up with several key hits, the biggest of which was David's two-out, two-run single in the fourth. We made some significant changes to our lineup, and the guys responded very well."

Shoeberl pitched the entire game, allowing only three runs.

Hastings and Forest Lake were matched 1-1 at the end of the second inning, but Hastings pulled steadily away in the next few innings with two runs by Austin Nelson and Tyler Rohr in the third; four by Aaron Stoneberg, Hunter Hillstrom, Tony Hammes and Nelson in the fourth and a final run from Nelson in the fifth.

 "Our boys have continued to play hard and persevere despite things not going our way early in the season," Hartmann said. "Hopefully this game can be a turning point in our season."

Vs. Woodbury

If the team's next game against Woodbury is any indication, that first win really was a turning point. The Raiders added their second SEC win Monday, beating Woodbury 8-4.

"We had outstanding at-bats up and down the lineup," Hartmann said.

Hastings put up the first two runs, sending Ryan Hackel and Stoneberg over home plate in the top of the second.

On the mound, Stoneberg allowed no runs until the fifth, when Woodbury scored three.

"Aaron Stoneberg is continuing to show great progress on the mound," Hartmann said. "He battled out of some key spots in the later innings."

The Raiders were quick to respond. With only one out in the sixth, Stoneberg doubled and Nick Bachman and Hackel scored. Stoneberg scored on a single by Justin Knoll. With two outs, Nelson doubled and sent Knoll and Hammes home. Knoll scored again on a single by Hammes in the seventh.

Woodbury made one run in the bottom of the seventh with Wes Hedlund pitching, but wasn't able to recover.

The team has been working hard all season to improve their game and keep a good attitude, Hartmann has said at previous games, and now they're reaping the benefits.

"The kids are figuring out how to compete at this level," Hartmann said. "The hard work that they have shown throughout the season is beginning to pay off."

Vs. Roseville

The two wins came after a tough set of losses, the last of which was against Roseville May 12.

While Roseville scored steadily through the first five innings, Hastings struggled to advance runners past first base for much of the game. Roseville scored two in the first inning, and after a scoreless second, Nelson managed to send Hammes home on a single. Roseville matched Hastings in the bottom of the third with another run, and added two more in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Hastings lost the game 1-7. Bachman pitched the first five innings. Hedlund pitched the sixth.