Hawks move into second place with two huge victories

Posted 6/29/22

By Bruce Karnick [email protected] June 26, 2022 – The Hastings Hawks have made the move into second place in the Classic Cannon Valley League (CCVL) Class C standings with a 31 league record. …

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Hawks move into second place with two huge victories


By Bruce Karnick [email protected]

June 26, 2022 – The Hastings Hawks have made the move into second place in the Classic Cannon Valley League (CCVL) Class C standings with a 31 league record. The Hawks defeated Lake City on June 24 completing the regular season sweep of the Serpents. They then defeated Cannon Falls on June 26, their first win against the Bears in a long time.

Lake City brought a mix of crafty veterans and rookies to Vets Park on Friday to face the Hawks for the second time this season. Hastings jumped out to an early lead scoring three in the bottom of the first. Connor Stoffel reached on a fielder’s choice, was moved up a base by an Isaac Flynn single to right and then both runners moved up a base when Cole Benson hit a single to left loading the bases. Stoffel scored when Ben Bundschu was walked. A single by catcher Jake Sandquist scored Flynn and Benson.

Will Lavin once again pitched two great innings to start the game and he was replaced by Jordan Jeske who threw five innings to earn the win, before Dennis Reinhart closed the game out. All three pitchers kept Lake City off balance all night. The Serpents scored their first run in the fourth to bring the game to 31. They scored another in the top of the sixth to make it 32 but Hastings answered right back with two in the bottom of the sixth and three more in the bottom of the seventh.

The bottom of the sixth started with a fly out to center then Sandquist hit a double. Noah Paulseth was hit by a pitch, and Jason Greeder hit into a fielder’s choice advancing Sandquist to third but retiring Paulseth at second. An errant throw to first for a double play allowed Sandquist to score. Jake Biermaier walked and a single by Nick Horsch moved him to third, scoring Greeder to make the score 52.

The scoring in the seventh came off the bat of Bundschu, who drove in Flynn. Two errors allowed Bundschu and Sandquist to score, giving the Hawks an 82 lead. Lake City scored three in the top of the eighth and Hastings added one in the bottom of the eighth. Max Bundschu was walked, and two singles moved him to third when an error on the catcher allowed him to score. The final: Hastings won 95.

Hawks pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in 40 batters faced. Lavin accounted for three, Jeske had nine and Reinhart struck out four. Each pitcher walked only one.

Sunday was shaping up to be an opportunity for the Hawks to kick another monkey off their backs, one that has been there since June 15, 2016. It had been six years and 10 days since the Hawks last beat Cannon Falls. The Bears had won 10 straight since then and Hastings was ready to end that streak, but who would they face on the mound for the Bears? The crafty veteran Keith Meyers who seems to have the Hawks number? Or relative newcomer Nick Drinken, who has not lost to the Hawks yet? Meyers pitched earlier in the week and was unavailable.

Quinton Lindow logged the start on the bump for the Bears and Tommy Ritt for the Hawks. Ritt was shaky the first two innings throwing 46 pitches and allowing four runs. Ritt settled in nicely at the end of the second and for the final six frames he threw 67 pitches ending the day throwing 113 total.

Cannon Falls jumped out to a 20 lead in the first then extended the lead to 40 in the second, but the Hawks answered in the bottom of the second. Sandquist kicked things off with a lead off single, Jeske walked then Biermaier flew out to center. Horsch hit a solid single to left to load the bases for Wolters. Wolters took the third pitch he saw and crushed it to the right center gap for a double scoring Sandquist and Jeske. Sandquist held up a moment at third fearing the hit would be caught, but Jeske had such a great read on the ball that he almost caught Sandquist by the time he crossed home. Horsch was driven home on a single by Greeder. Wolters made it home on a solid single to left by Flynn. Greeder was sent home on the play, and he was thrown out at home. Greeder also injured his hand on the slide and was replaced by Ben Teigland for the remainder of the game. The inning ended and the game was tied 44.

That is when Cannon Falls closed the book on Lindow and brought in Drinken. Lindow threw 43 pitches in two innings, meaning both of the starting pitchers had thrown over 40 in two innings. Hastings had been warming up Patrick Rough but gave Ritt another inning to see if he could settle down, and he did. Drinken came in and the pitchers’ duel ensued. Both teams had a few opportunities to put one on the board, but neither could capitalize until the bottom of the seventh. Cole Benson led off with a monster ground ball double that barely hung in fair territory. Drew Davis pinch ran for Benson, and he was moved to third by rookie Jackson Tessman’s second hit of the night. Tessman stole second putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. Sandquist hit another clutch single driving in the go ahead run and the eventual game winner for Hastings. The Bears stopped the bleeding, but the damage was done, the Hawks had the lead 54 heading into the eighth.

Ritt was creeping into the 90’s for pitch count and having had Tommy John surgery a year ago, the thought of being cautious is always on the minds of both Ritt and the managers. He worked himself out of trouble in the eighth and when manager Shawn Matson went to check on him for the ninth, he was intending to go back in.

“I’m finishing this game,” Ritt said to Matson before he could even say a word.

“He was feeling good and when we discussed that the Bears were in the bottom of their lineup, it was an easy decision to make,” added Matson.

But Matson had two guys ready, just in case things went a little sideways. The first pitch Ritt threw was hit to center for a routine fly ball to Wolters, one out. Ritt then fanned the nine hitter for out number two which brought up the leadoff hitter Zeke Williams. Williams had been walked and scored for both of his first two appearances, then hit two ground outs for his last two going 0for2 in four at bats. The fifth pitch Williams hit right back to Ritt who had plenty of time to run to first himself and give an emphatic stomp on first to earn his first complete game win in a Hawks uniform and help bring the Hawks their first victory against the bears in six years. The final 54.

Ritt tossed 113 total pitches, 52 balls and 61 strikes. He struck out just two while walking five. Two of the runs allowed were unearned due to the Hawks having three errors in the game. Hastings put up 12 hits with four Hawks getting two apiece: Tessman, Sandquist, Jeske and N. Horsch. Wolters, Flynn, Greeder and Benson each had one hit. Wolters led the team with two RBIs.

This week continues to be a huge week for Hastings. First, they travel to take on Northfield on June 29 at 7:30 p.m. then they host the Red Wing Aces on July 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Knights game on Wednesday is a Class B game and the Aces game is for first place on the Class C side of the CCVL. Red Wing gave the Hawks their league loss in Class C, which happens to be their last loss coming into the fourgame win streak.

The Class C standings in the CCVL as of 6/26/2022. 1. Red Wing Aces 30 2. Hastings Hawks 31 3. Cannon Falls Bears 12 4. Lake City Serpents 04 Overall, on the season, the Hawks have moved to 117. There are a lot of breakdowns for wins and losses in amateur baseball. Against all Class C teams, they are 43, and against all Class B teams, they are 64. In the section, they are 32. Against CCVL Class C teams, 31 and CCVL Class B teams, they are 43. Two of the CCVL Class B losses came at the bats of the Rochester Royals who were ranked fourth in the state but two of the CCVL Class B wins were against the Mudhens who were ranked third in the state.

Other notable games for the Hawks. A Class B, 53 loss to number eight ranked Burnsville and the Northfield Knights are a top 15 Class B team in the state.

The Hawks have played ranked Class C teams, beating the eighth ranked Sartell Muskies 42 and a losing to the top 15 ranked St. Stephen Steves 51.

The Road to 117 has not been easy for the Hawks, but they have been a lot of fun to follow. Get their full schedule and detailed stats at HastingsHawks.com.