By Johnny Stocker The Hastings Hawks headed into the July 4th weekend with rematches lined up against two CCVL rivals, who were both looking to avenge losses suffered to the Hawks earlier in the …
By Johnny Stocker
The Hastings Hawks headed into the July 4th weekend with rematches lined up against two CCVL rivals, who were both looking to avenge losses suffered to the Hawks earlier in the season. Both games were entertaining and well contested, but both opponents did ultimately get their revenge as the Hawks went 0-2 for the weekend.
First off was a Friday night game seeing the Miesville Mudhens come up Highway 61 to Veterans Park, looking to pay the Hawks back for an 8-2 loss at Jack Ruhr field back in May. It was a fantastic and vocal Friday night crowd of over 200 out at the Vet to watch the two teams tangle leading up to the Hastings fireworks show. The Hawks sent their 2021 ace Jordan Jeske to the hill, and he was excellent once again. Jeske threw seven shutout innings before finally running into trouble in the 8th and getting removed. However, in the other dugout, the Hawks were equally stymied by Quinn Krueger, who also went seven innings giving up only 2 runs on 4 hits. The Hawks scratched across a run in the 2nd when Jeske led off with a single, was moved over to second by a Ben Bundschu single, before coming home on a Sac Fly by Joey Meurer. In the 5th, Derek Marrier reached on a single, was advanced to second by a Jake Biermaier base hit, stole third, and was driven in when Cory Wolters beat out a chopper to third base with two outs.
Then in the top of the 8th, Jeske ran into trouble. He walked the number eight hitter Kruger and hit the number nine hitter Dickmeyer with a pitch, both of whom were then driven in by a Matt Van Der Bosch single. Austin LaDoux’s subsequent double drove in Van Der Bosch to give the Mudhens a 3-2 lead and ended Jeske’s night on the hill. Jeske made one more attempt to get the Hawks back in the game with a one out triple in the 8th, but the next two batters were unable to get him in from third. The Mudhens tacked on four more in the top of the 9th, capped by a Deryk Marks home run that put the game on the shelf. The Mudhens split the season series with a 7-2 victory that was much closer than the final score would indicate.
On Sunday, the Hawks took a July 4th road trip down to Rochester to take on the Royals, another team looking for payback after a 5-4 loss at Vet’s Park back on Memorial Day. This was an unusual 6:00 p.m. Sunday night game so spectators could watch some fireworks after the game, but those that showed up at Mayo Field saw some fireworks during the game as well. Ben Bundschu took the hill for the Hawks, and had a rough go of it. He wasn’t able to escape the first inning, as the Royals used four hits, a couple walks, a hit batsman and a Hawks error to jump out to a 6-run lead right off the bat. The Royals added one more in the second before things got extremely interesting in the 3rd. In the top of the inning, Cory Wolters singled, and Jason Greeder struck out looking at an extremely high strike, and momentarily lost his composure and had a word with the home plate umpire while walking back to the dugout, an incident that would come into play later. After a Jordan Jeske single, Ben Bundschu made some amends for his struggles earlier in the game by launching a 3-run blast to left for his second home run of the season.
In the bottom of the inning, things got strange in a hurry. After the first batter quickly bounced out, the home plate umpire absolutely refused to give Hawks pitcher Derek Marrier a strike call on the next two batters, including a couple that were right down the heart of the plate. This prompted Hawks Manager Shawn Matson to come out of the dugout to find out what was going on, at which point he was immediately ejected and shoved out the field gate by the Ump, an action that Matson promises will not go unreported to the league. After Matson’s ejection things seemed to go back to normal a bit, but the damage was done. Both walked runners came around to score two of the three runs that inning, wiping out the gains made by Bundschu’s home run and taking the Royals to a 10-3 lead. But the Hawks were not done yet.
Clearly fired up by the incident at home plate and Matson’s ejection, the team rallied in the ensuing innings. They picked up two in the 5th on three straight hits from Meurer, Blake Warner, and Isaac Flynn, one more in the 6th on Cory Wolters first home run of the season over the left field fence, and two more in the 7th as Meurer and Drew Davis both reached on hits, and dashed home on wild pitches. Meanwhile Nick Horsch and Samuel Keran came out of the bullpen to keep the Royals pretty much in check for the rest of the game, giving up only a single unearned run in five innings pitched. However, the early deficit was just too much. The Hawks pushed one more across in the 9th as Zach Nelson got his first Hawks hit in the form of a double and came around to score, but the rally fell short as the boys fell in Rochester 11-9.
Coming up this week, the Hawks take on a couple of Wisconsin teams in non-conference play as they tune up for the playoffs. The Hudson River Rats roll into Hastings to take on the Hawks on Wednesday the 7th, and Hastings will cross the St. Croix to head to River Falls on Friday the 9th then host Lake City at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday the 11th.
Hawks newcomer, Simon Hedin, had his first appearance on the mound for Hastings against the Mudhens with his teammates Ben Bundschu, Blake Warner, Ben Teigland and Isaac Flynn supporting him. Hedin came in with two outs in the ninth to try and put a stop to Miesville’s scoring. He succeeded, but the Hawks were not able to rally for the win.
Photo by Bruce Karnick