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HHS softball falls to North St. Paul in MEC championship game

Sophomore pitcher Kayla Simacek goes through her windup against North St. Paul. Photo by Alec Hamilton1 / 2
Senior center fielder Stacy Monjeau makes a diving catch in center to prevent the Polars from extending their lead. Photo by Alec Hamilton2 / 2

The Hastings High School softball team went 5-1 over the last two weeks, but the one game they lost was to North St. Paul for the Metro East Conference championship. They hosted Tartan on May 2 and won 10-4, traveled to Simley on May 4, where they won 7-4 and then hosted Mahtomedi on May 5, who they beat 4-2. This past week, the Raiders beat Hopkins 3-1 on May 8, routed South St. Paul 12-0 on May 9, but fell to the Polars 2-1 for the second time this season in a game for sole control of the MEC. The Raiders are now 12-6 overall, finished 11-2 in the MEC and have one game left against Champlin Park on Friday, May 19.

Two weeks ago

Head coach Ken Lundquist said that Hastings' game against Tartan was one of their best offensively.

"Boy we hit the ball, I thought that was a really good game," Lundquist explained. "They (Tartan) did have some errors but we put the ball in play. I don't think we struck out during that game, maybe once but we put the ball in play. I think every starter got a hit in that game, we kind of spread it out, but we are looking for more consistency in our at-bats."

Against Simley, the Raiders took their foot off the gas a bit.

"We came out right away, scored two runs in the first, four in the second but only got one run after that," Lundquist said. "Overall, it was kind of a sloppy game, we had some errors here and there, but to get a win on the road, we'll take it."

Hastings once again got off to a fast start against Mahtomedi, scoring two runs in the first inning and then one in each the second and third. However, after that their bats struggled and it ended up being a closer game than anticipated.

It has seemed to become a theme that Lundquist acknowledged, the Raiders' ability to come out of the gate and score runs fast, but not be able to keep up the production the entire game.

"All year, and we've even talked about it," he said. "We have to keep the foot down on the pedal and keep it going."

Junior Lauren Ernst pitched a complete game, going seven innings and giving up just two runs on three hits, while walking two batters and striking out one.

Senior Rachel Reinke had a two-run, inside the park home run in the first after the Mahtomedi outfielder lost the ball and went in the wrong direction. No Raider had more than one hit, though senior Taeler McVicker reached base three times, twice on errors.

Hastings traveled to Hopkins on May 8, and South St. Paul on May 9, then hosted North St. Paul May 11 and Champlin Park on Friday, May 19, to conclude its regular season.

Last week

The Raiders started last week off with two quick road wins against Hopkins on May 8 and South St. Paul and May 9. However, the main event was North St. Paul in Hastings for the MEC championship.

The Polars struck first by scoring one run in the third. The Raiders put plenty of runners on base throughout the game but struggled with situational hitting to bring them across the plate. They left runners on base in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, including bases loaded in the fifth and sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, seniors Telma Roesler and Rachel Reinke led off with a double and single respectively with one out. After her single, Reinke got in a rundown between first and second that resulted in her being safe and Roesler scored. That would be the only run of the game for the Raiders.

Hastings left 10 runners on base over the course of the whole game on eight hits, two walks and reaching due to one Polar error. Roesler and Reinke each had two hits; while fellow senior Taeler McVicker, and sophomores Sydney Radke, Maddie Junker and Megan Mattson each had one hit.

Sophomore pitcher Kayla Simacek pitched a complete game over seven innings, allowed two runs on six hits, and struck out four while only walking one.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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