The Hastings Raiders softball team heads into the Section 3AAAA playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will face Metro East Conference rival, and No. 3 seed, Henry Sibley on Tuesday, May 21, at Henry Sibley.
The two teams faced off twice during the regular season with the Warriors beating the Raiders 7-0 and 2-0. Should Hastings win, they would go on to play the winner of No. 2 Park and No. 7 Rosemount at the high seed. Park is the No. 2-ranked team in Class AAAA and in the other half of the bracket, No. 1-seeded East Ridge is ranked No. 5. East Ridge takes on No. 8 Apple Valley and No. 4 Eastview plays No. 5 Eagan.
Hastings finished the regular season with three road games last week-a 2-1 loss at North St. Paul on Monday, May 13-and then wins at Hopkins (2-0) on Tuesday and Tartan (5-2) on Thursday. The Raiders enter the playoffs with a 12-8 overall record and they took fifth in the MEC with an 8-6 conference record. North St. Paul went undefeated in the MEC to take first with Henry Sibley, Hill-Murray and Mahtomedi ahead of Hastings.
The Raiders went 6-4 during the month of May but never seemed able to string victories together after their 4-0 start. Senior Kayla Simacek will most likely pitch against Henry Sibley but it will be up to Hastings' offense to get going as they have been shutout by the Warriors in their two games this spring. Offense has been an inconsistency for the Raiders this season and they have scored five or more runs just twice three times in their last 10 games. Three of their four losses over those 10 games were by two runs or less.