HHS softball beats Eagan, falls to Park in section playoffs
The Hastings' softball team beat Eagan 5-3 May 24 to advance in the winner's bracket of the section 3AAAA playoffs. With their win over Eagan, the Raiders were 2-0 in the double-elimination playoffs and just Park of Cottage Grove stood between them and the section championship game. However, they fell to Park 2-1 on May 26 to drop down to the consolation bracket. They then lost to Eagan in a rematch 2-1 to end their season right before this article went to print.
The Raiders second-round victory over Eagan was rather uneventful until the last few innings. The game was scoreless going into the fourth inning until Hastings was able to score after seniors Rachel Reinke and Taeler McVicker led off with a single and walked respectively. Syd Radke then hit a double to score Reinke, pitcher Kayla Simacek walked and Maddie Junker hit another double to score two more runs. Senior Stacy Monjeau also had an RBI on a grounder to second to allow Hastings to take a 4-0 lead.
"That was a big inning, to get four runs like that," head coach Ken Lundquist said. "It was all hitting the ball, no errors and a few walks in there, but we really hit the ball well. We hit it to right field, which we've been working on for the last month, taking that outside pitch and driving it. Both Syd and Maddie came up with some big hits to right field."
Eagan responded by scoring one run in the fifth after a poor throw to first on a first-and-third play. Hastings matched that run to make it 5-1, but Eagan then scored two more in the seventh inning with two outs but were unable to do anything more, which gave Hastings the 5-3 win.
Lundquist said the combination of his team's defense and Simacek on the mound was great.
"Our defense was outstanding and Kayla did a great job," Lundquist said. "We had 17 flyball outs, so our defense only really had to field the ball, throw the ball and make a play four other times. We did a really good job and our bats came up with big hits, it was a big win."
The Raiders were barely edged out by the Wolfpack 2-1 in a game that Lundquist said came down to a bad defensive play that resulted in two unearned runs.
"The difference in the game was that they scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth," he said. "Their leadoff batter started it off with an infield single and then she was moved over on a bunt. We threw the ball around on the play and both of them ended up scoring in the inning."
Hastings had taken the lead in the first after senior Stacy Monjeau got on base in the leadoff spot and advanced when Park was called for an illegal pitch. She ended up scoring on a Reinke RBI single.
"We had the leadoff batter on base in the first four innings, we just couldn't find that big hit," Lundquist explained.
Simacek once again pitched and did not allow a hit in the first three innings before Park was able to score those two unearned runs. She blanked the Wolfpack after that point as well.
End of the season
Hastings played Eagan on May 30 and lost 2-1 to end their season. Taeler McVicker drove in the Raiders' only run.