By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Game five of the 2010 Section playoffs, 11 years ago, was the last time the Hastings Hawks defeated the Miesville Mudhens. Adam Barta was the manager at the …
By Bruce Karnick
Game five of the 2010 Section playoffs, 11 years ago, was the last time the Hastings Hawks defeated the Miesville Mudhens. Adam Barta was the manager at the time, having brought the Hawks to four out of five Class B state tournaments. Since then, the Hawks have had Deryk Marks as the team manager for a few seasons before he was recruited by Miesville and Shawn Matson, now in his seventh season as the team manager.
The Hawks have played some early season games that gave them a great warm up coming into the first of two against the Mudhens, this one at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville.
“Well as always you know it’s always a pleasure to play out here. It’s one of the nicest parks in the state. You know, I expected us to battle and have a good game, you know, we did,” an elated Matson said after the game.
The Hawks did not just battle, they dominated, and it was clear the Mudhens did not know how to react. Miesville has been a dominant force in the Classic Cannon Valley league for a decade plus, often finishing first and at times second in the league.
“We were really good mentally, the guys had a really good attitude pregame, everybody was focused but they were loose and that’s what I like to see. I told the guys you know just, go and have fun, and do your do your thing,” added Matson.
The game started with both sides feeling each other out and in the top of the second, Noah “Hank” Paulseth hit a hard fly ball off the scoreboard in left field scoring Cole Benson and Cory Wolters. Paulseth’s two out double gave the Hawks the 2-0 lead, and the confidence boost to the guys of ‘Yeah, we can do this.’ Miesville closed the gap by one in the bottom of the third when an error on the Hawks infield kept the Mudhens inning alive instead of nabbing the third out.
In the top of the fifth, Isaac Flynn and Jordan Jeske both walked to start the inning. Flynn scored on a well hit ground ball just fair over the third base bag by Ben Bundschu and Jeske scored on a sac fly by Benson and the Hawks had the lead 4-1.
The scoring paused until the seventh when Nick Horsch hit a single and was moved to third by a Jeske single. Bundchu popped up to the pitcher who botched the easy catch. This error caught Jeske standing at first, assuming the routing popup would be caught. The pitcher threw to second for the easy out which resulted in some very smart base running by Horsch to score from third. The Hens scored one in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 5-2.
The top of the eighth had the Hawks adding three insurance runs. Blake Warner doubled and Matson made the call to the bench for the speedy Drew Davis to pinch run. Wolters, another fast base runner, hit his second bunt single of the game moving Davis to third. Davis then scored on a wild pitch with Jason Greeder at the plate. Greeder made it to first on a Miesville error and Horsch drove both Wolters and Greeder home on his third single of the game. Making the final 8-2 Hawks.
Will Lavin took the mound for Hastings in his first appearance since returning from college and he threw five no-hit innings to earn the win. Lavin’s strong performance was marred by one unearned run allowed and four walks, but he struck out six.
Matson was proud of his young ace’s performance. “Will threw great, that’s what I expected out of Will being our number one. I’m really glad to have him back this year.”
Hawk’s newcomer Zach Nelson relieved Lavin to start the sixth giving up the first of three hits to the Mudhens, Dennis Reinhart took over from Nelson to finish the final two innings of the game.
The Hawks have struggled to put together a strong pitching staff top to bottom. Always missing a few key pieces to have the depth needed in a one of the best leagues in the state. Something Matson has worked at for years to improve.
“I’ve never seen [Zach Nelson] throw before but he looked good, he impressed me. It’s good to have some depth this year with some guys that I can count on and to count on to get outs in big situations like Nellie got a couple big outs there with runners in scoring position and that was really huge for us. And then of course Reinhardt comes in and closes it. That’s been nothing new for Dennis. Dennis has been a very good pitcher for us for a number of years. I’m just glad for all these guys to get this opportunity to beat these guys, it’s been a long time for us, so we’re gonna enjoy it.” Matson said.
The Mudhens have had the Hawks number since the two wins in 2010, the Hawks have lost 21 to Miesville, Matson expanded on the victory. “It feels great. I don’t know what else to say besides it, you know, it feels great, I’m just, I’m just really proud of all of our guys, the way that they battled today, we hit the ball. You know when they when they did have threats, you know, we did a good job of minimizing and we’ve got a lot of key outs with runners in scoring position and we really did a good job with the two out hits, you know, we were able to capitalize when we had runners in scoring position.”
A lot of the Hastings players may be too excited to sleep for the few days after the huge win Sunday.
Up next for the Hawks is travelling to Dundas to take on the Dukes for what was supposed to be their second meeting, Sunday, May 30th at 2:00. Unfortunately, Hastings received almost three inches of rain in a 24-hour period Friday and the first game against Dundas was postponed.
Following the Sunday away game, the Hawks will host the Rochester Royals for Memorial Day. Back-to-back 2:00 matinee games. Pregame festivities are still being worked out for Memorial Day at Veterans Park, so make sure you are there by 1:40 to catch what ever they can pull together to honor fallen soldiers. See HAWKS Page 12
Hawks Ace pitcher, Will Lavin, threw five strong innings to start the game for the Hawks. Lavin earned the win while striking out six, walking four and allowing no earned runs in the 8-2 win over Miesville. Photo by Troy Nordine.