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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Hastings baseball's early-season hitting woes might just be a relic of the past if their offensive performance in the first week of action is any indication. The Raiders swept the Hill-Murray Pioneers in a doubleheader 7-0 and 2-0 last Monday. They then beat Woodbury on the road 7-5 on Thursday before losing at East Ridge on Friday 15-5. However, they bounced back on Saturday by taking a doubleheader at North St. Paul 8-1 and 4-2.. It's an ideal start to the season and Metro East Conference play for Hastings after they got off to a slow start last year.
The Hastings boys' golf team hosted their annual Don Saatzer Invite, named after the former Raiders golf coach, at Dakota Pines Golf Club on Monday, April 30. Hastings finished second with a score of 334, 12 strokes behind Wayzata. Raider senior Nick Dittrich, who has qualified for the state tournament the last two years, won the tournament with a 76. Hastings featured a second team called Hastings Gold, which shot a 387, in the 15-team tournament.
The season has started off on the right foot for the Hastings girls' golf team. The Raiders had the advantage of being able to use Hidden Greens' driving range when the weather was not cooperating, and it payed off with a two-stroke victory over Simley.
The Hastings boys' tennis team continues its dominance of the Metro East Conference after sweeping both Simley and Henry Sibley last week. The Raiders beat the Spartans last Tuesday, 7-0, and then the Warriors last Thursday by the same score. Hastings is now 7-1 overall, and 4-0 in the MEC. Simley
The Hastings Raiders' softball team started its season in unusual fashion: they played a double-header in the middle of the school day in a dome. The Raiders faced off against Forest Lake and Anoka last Friday in a double-header with games at noon and 2 p.m. Hastings fell to Forest Lake 1-0 in the first game, with the Rangers only run coming on a home run. Against Anoka, one inning cost the Raiders, a four-run fourth from which they never recovered in a 4-0 loss.
The Hastings Raiders boys' lacrosse team has hit the ground running for the start of this season and are taking no mercy. The Raiders obliterated their rival, Park, in the season opener at Park last Friday night for a 11-2 victory. They followed up that victory with another win over Metro East Conference opponent, the Simley Spartans, on the road, 18-7, on Monday, April 23.
The Hastings boys' tennis team took action into their own hands in the aftermath of the most recent snowstorm. The Raiders knew they had a match on Thursday, April 19, and they also knew that the courts by Hastings High School would not be ready in time. So in the days preceding their match against St. Thomas Academy, the team spent their time shoveling and removing snow from the courts, an effort they were rewarded for by being able to play their Thursday match, and several more in the following days.
The Hastings boys' and girls' track and field teams competed in the Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle held at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Fieldhouse last Friday. The event included 12 girls teams and 10 boys teams from two two states. The Raider girls took 11th with 28.5 points and the boys finished sixth with 58 points.
The Hastings Raiders girls' lacrosse season got off to a rough start on Monday with a 19-0 loss to Metro East Conference opponent the Mahtomedi Zephyrs. The Zephyrs were coming off a 14-0 win over White Bear Lake. Hastings will be on the road Thursday, April 26, at St. Croix Preparatory Academy. St. Croix Prep is also 0-1 after dropping their season opener to St. Paul Central.Next week, the Raiders have a four-game road trip when they travel to Hill-Murray on Monday, Tartan on Wednesday, Grand Rapids on Friday and Duluth East on Saturday.
Youth sports is one of the most hot-button topics in athletics today. There is the debate between multi-sport athletes and specialization, appropriate competitiveness at younger levels, the rise of club sports/AAU, parent-coach dynamics and the shortage of officials. Behind all this is the common refrain that kids these days are lazy, inactive and need constant guidance, all brought on by the rise of technology.