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HHS softball remains undefeated after two more MEC wins

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Senior Tori Brake hits a hard groundball down the third baseline against the Spartans. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Sophomore Maddie Junker tags out a Simley runner between first and second base. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Junior Samantha Miller catches a flyball in left field during Hastings' win over Simley. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

Hastings' softball team notched two more wins last week to remain undefeated with a 4-0 record so far this season. They won a pair of Metro East Conference games against Tartan and Simley to remain on top of the MEC along with North St. Paul. The Raiders went to Tartan Tuesday, April 11, where they won 6-3, and then beat Simley at home last Thursday 4-1.

Tartan

In the win against Tartan, head coach Ken Lundquist said that pitching and defense were key against the Titans.

"Kayla Simacek, a sophomore, got her first start of the year," he said. "She pitched a complete game, struck out 11 out of 21 outs, so she had an outstanding pitching debut, and our defense was solid.

"Both Telma Roesler and Taeler McVicker hit the ball hard and had a couple of hits," Lundquist added. "Defensively we didn't have any errors, which is huge."

Simley

Hastings jumped on the Spartans right away by scoring three runs in the first inning and one in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead after two. Simley was able to scratch a run across in the third inning, but that would be the only run junior Lauren Ernst gave up the entire game.

The Raiders offense struggled the rest of the game, only recording one more hit the last four innings after piling up six in the first two. However, they did not need anymore runs as Ernst was once again dominant and the Raiders defense solid behind her.

Ernst pitched a complete game and gave up just five hits and one earned run to earn the win, her third of the season. She also had two walks and four strikeouts.

Seniors Stacy Monjeau and Roesler both led Hastings with two hits, while sophomore Sydney Radke had two of the Raiders four RBIs. Radke, McVicker and sophomore Megan Mattson added a hit each as well.

Lundquist said his team hit the ball hard but just were not able to continue their offensive momentum after the first two innings.

"Getting ahead like that is huge, it gives momentum and we were hoping we could keep pushing the gas pedal down, but we just couldn't manufacture runs after the second inning," Lundquist said. "We still hit the ball hard, our fences are a little further than most, we were talking and we probably would have had three home runs (at other fields). Syd Radke probably would have had two and Telma (Roesler) would have had one when she hit that one to left."

Putting that offense together for a whole game is one area that Lundquist said the team is still waiting on, as well as their pitching coming along as the season continues.

"We need to improve on hitting," he said. "We literally have a really good hitting team, but we haven't put it all together through a full seven innings yet, but when we do it's going to be pretty scary. Pitching has been about where it's at, but I know they have a lot more to give yet, so if there's one area where we can still get better it's the pitching side of things. Lauren (Ernst) pitched a great game, they have pitched great all year, but the expectations are higher with those two because they've been working so hard and they're really good at what they do."

The Raiders were supposed to play some of the best teams in the state at a tournament in Forest Lake this past Saturday, but it was cancelled due to the weather. They traveled to Mahtomedi on Tuesday, April 18, and then are home on Thursday against South St. Paul before traveling to Blaine on Saturday.

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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