The Hastings Hawks were shutout 1-0 by the Cannon Falls Bears Saturday afternoon in the first round of the Region 5C Finals. The Hawks, who earned the No. 5 seed after winning the Region 5C Preliminary tournament, tallied just one hit in the loss to the No. 4 Bears and were on the wrong end of a masterful pitching performance by Cannon Falls veteran Keith Meyers. However, Hastings’ starter Will Lavin was equally as sharp on the mound where he went seven innings and gave up just one unearned run to be tagged with a very unfair loss.
Offense was the problem for the Hawks as Lavin, reliever Andrew Kemper and the Hastings defense limited the Bears to just four hits and three walks over eight innings. Hastings had just two baserunners all game, neither of whom reached second base. It was a classic pitcher’s duel where neither team deserved the loss, but Cannon Falls was able to take advantage of two first-inning miscues to take the lead and hold onto it.
The only run of the game was scored in the bottom of the first. Cannon Falls’ Braxton Lindow struck out swinging but reached first base safely after the third strike got past Hawks’ catcher Jake Sandquist. Brock Peterson then reached on an error, both runners moved over on a groundout to Lavin and Lindow scored on a grounder to first from Tanner Jackson. Hastings’ first baseman Ben Bundschu was unable to make a play to home in time after seemingly questioning whether the ball was fair or foul.
Lavin went seven innings and gave up just the one unearned run on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Kemper came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side. The Hawks’ lone hit came from Bundschu who singled in the top of the second but was forced out at second on a 4-6-3 double play. Isaac Flynn drew the lone walk off of Meyers.
After the game, Lavin said this outing he was able to be more efficient than his last one against the Austin Greyhounds.
“I felt good, I was able to mix in more than my fastball, I got slider and curveball going,” he said. “I was able to get them off their timing. Just not walk guys, really focus on attacking the zone, (that) was the main priority. Start with the fastball early and second and third time through, start throwing more offspeed.”
Lavin also said that one the offensive end, they faced a good pitcher in Meyers and needed to continue being aggressive in their at-bats on Sunday.
Hastings now moves into the consolation bracket with the loss and will have to win three straight games to take third and get the final Class C State Tournament spot for Region 5C. The Hawks will play the No. 8 Dodge County Diamondbacks at 10 a.m. on Sunday at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls. The Diamondbacks lost their first-round game to the top-seeded Wanamingo Jacks 13-0.