The Hastings Hawks had to take a best-of-three series from the Lake City Serpents in order to advance to the Region 5C playoffs, but it was not in the cards for the Hawks as they were swept in two games by the Serpents.
The first game was Tuesday, July 23, at Veterans Park in Hastings, and the two teams were tied 4-4 heading into the ninth inning until Lake City scored four runs in the top of the ninth to win 8-4. Game two was in Lake City on Friday, July 26, where the Hawks lost 5-3 after giving up four runs in the first inning and ended their season.
It was Hastings first year in Class C after previously being a Class B team and they were much more competitive this season both overall and against Class C opponents. They finished the regular season with a 6-14 record-5-8 in the Classic Cannon Valley League-and they were 5-3 against the four Class C teams in the CCVL (Lake City, Cannon Falls, Randolph and Red Wing). Heading into the series against Lake City, the Hawks were 2-0 against the Serpents this summer and had outscored them 17-5.
It was a tight game almost the entire way on Tuesday as Hastings and Lake City went back and forth. The Serpents struck first with one run in the top of the first after the Hawks committed two throwing errors, and then added another run in the top of the second to lead 2-0.
Hastings got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Ben Bundschu reached on an error and eventually scored on a passed ball. They then tied the game in the third on an RBI double by Jordan Jeske that scored Nick Horsch, who was hit by a pitch for the second time that inning.
Lake City broke the tie in the fifth and scored another run in the sixth to lead 4-2. The Hawks scored in the bottom of the sixth Bundschu scored after walking on an RBI sacrifice fly by Cody Lewison.
In the seventh, Jason Greeder struck out but reached first on a dropped third strike and eventually scored on an RBI single by Blake Warner, which tied the game. However, in the top of the ninth Lake City scored four runs with two outs off starter Rick Wagner and Bundschu in relief.
Wagner pitched 8 2/3 innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two hit batsmen with two strikeouts in what was a very efficient outing that should have been good enough to win. Bundschu came in and got the final out in the top of the ninth but not before giving up three hits and two runs as well. Lewison led the team with two hits, though Hastings only had five in total, while he, Warner and Jeske all had RBI. Horsch was hit in his first two at-bats, Jeske walked twice and Bundschu scored two runs.