The Hastings Raiders softball team will have to take the more difficult path through the consolation bracket if they hope to make the state tournament. Following their close win over Henry Sibley at home in the first round last Tuesday, Hastings fell to No. 2 Eastview on the road 3-0 on Thursday. Sent down to the consolation bracket, the Raiders responded by eliminating the Rosemount Irish on Saturday 4-3. They now play No. 7 Eagan on Tuesday and should they win, they will play the loser of Eastview and Park on Wednesday to see who will play in the section championship game.
Offense was at a premium during the Raiders' win over Henry Sibley in the first round. Both teams combined for just one run on five total hits as the Raiders edged out the Warriors in a pitcher's duel between Hastings' junior Kayla Simacek and Henry Sibley's Jaelyn Orth. The game's lone run came in the bottom of the second when junior Sarah Radke led the inning off with a single and scored on senior Sammie Miller's RBI-triple to the right field corner. That was all Simacek needed as she went on to throw a two-hit shutout of the Warriors, who never threatened.
Meanwhile, Hastings' offense had plenty of chances but could not get a timely hit the rest of the game. After scoring the run in the bottom of the second, the Raiders stranded Miller on third after she reached there with just one out, along with senior Katie Notch who walked with two outs. In the third, junior Megan Mattson led off the inning by reaching on an error and reached third with two outs but was left there. Hastings also stranded runners in the fifth and sixth.
Head coach Ken Lundquist said he addressed timely hitting with the team after the game, but noted that Orth would be one of the toughest pitchers the Raiders could face in sections.
Simacek pitched seven innings, allowing just two hits and no runs or walks with seven strikeouts. Miller led the offense with two hits and the lone RBI, while Sarah Radke also had a hit and scored the game's only run. Simacek added a walk and Notch was hit by a pitch.
Eastview and Rosemount
The Raiders were shutout by the Eastview Lightning in the second round. The Lightning scored one run early to lead 1-0 heading into the third and then secured their lead by scoring two more. The final was 3-0.
Against the Irish, Hastings once again fell behind early but this time were able to make a comeback. Rosemount scored one run in the top of the first but the Raiders responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. In the third, Rosemount hit a two-run home run to take a 3-1 lead but then Hastings got a run back on an RBI-double by Joella Chamberlain that scored Miller. They then took the lead in the sixth after Katie Notch led off with a single and was ran for by MacKenzie Putnam, who scored on Mattson's RBI-triple. Mattson then scored on an RBI single by Kendal Jenkins to give Hastings a 4-3 lead, which was the final.