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Hastings VFW season comes to an end

The Hastings VFW 16U baseball team’s season has come to an end this past week as the Raiders went 1-2 in playoff game play. Hastings kicked off the playoffs with a matchup against Inver Grove Heights, and the game definitely had a playoff atmosphere as both teams fought aggressively for the opening playoff win. It was the hometown Raiders that would prove to be victorious in a game that ended in walk-off fashion. Hastings’ ace pitcher Sam Skoyen took the mound, and just like he’s done all season for the Raiders, he was able to pitch a stellar game.

“Sam pitched extremely well for us in that first game,” assistant coach Aaron Stoneberg said.

Skoyen pitched 6 2/3 innings and only allowed four earned runs while striking-out four batters. The strong pitching continued for the Raiders as Cory Anderson came in to relieve, and he picked up right where Skoyen left off. Anderson pitched 2 1/3 innings, and allowed an incredibly clutch zero earned runs in his efforts.

“Cory had a huge game for us,” Stoneberg said. “It was great to see that from him.”

The rock solid performance on the mound for the Raiders put them in a prime position to pull out a commanding first round win. All Hastings needed was their bats to deliver, and that is exactly what they did.

The Raiders showed off the undeniable resiliency that they’ve shown flashes of all season long and were able to rally back from a three-run deficit by tying the game up in the seventh inning. The game would stay tied until the bottom of the ninth. Stewart Anderson was at the plate and was hit by a wild Inver Grove pitch. As a result Anderson would move to first base. With the winning run now on base, Anderson stole second to put himself and his team in scoring position. Skoyen would bat next, and he was able to reach base on a bunt. Cody Marks came to the plate with walk-off aspirations, and the game-winning hit proved to be on the end of his bat as he was able to hit a gapper that brought the winning run home. Hastings won a thriller with a final score of 5-4.

“It was a fun one for the players,” Stoneberg said. “It was very exciting.”

Offensively, it was Marks who lead the charge for Hastings as he had the team high two RBIs, and three hits. Skoyen and Tyler Sylvester each had two hits as well.

Hastings went on to have two more playoff games, one versus Eagan, the other against Farmington. Both games resulted in tough losses for the Raiders. In the Eagan game Hastings would keep the game close until Eagan was able to turn it on in the seventh inning. The Raiders were not able to rally back in this one. Cory Marks had another strong game batting, as he was able to record two RBIs. Cory Anderson and Logan Gove each had two hits.

“Logan has been battling a sore shoulder recently so it was good to see him fight back and hit the ball well,” Stoneberg said.

The Raiders season would conclude with a loss to Farmington in the following game. In that game Jake Dale and Wyatt Kruse each had one hit on two at-bats.

The Hastings 16U VFW team was able to tally 14 wins on the season. The coaching staff is very proud of the of group kids they had this summer. There were many highlights in the season. One however stood out above the rest, and that was their game versus Red Wing.

“It was fun for our players and myself to face former Hastings varsity baseball coach Paul Hartmann,” Stoneberg said. “Paul is a good friend of mine, and it was a blast coaching against my former coach.”

The coaching staff believes that this group has a lot of potential, and they are looking forward to working with these young kids in the future.

“It was great to coach this team,” Stoneberg said. “We tried to keep summer ball fun, and these kids were a great group to have.”