Raider baseball quickly moves into second place

By Bruce Karnick
Posted 5/9/24

Last week, the Raiders were situated in the middle of the Metro East Conference (MEC) with an overall record of 5-3 and an MEC record of 4-2. During that week, the boys of summer played four games in …

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Raider baseball quickly moves into second place


Last week, the Raiders were situated in the middle of the Metro East Conference (MEC) with an overall record of 5-3 and an MEC record of 4-2. During that week, the boys of summer played four games in six days, three of which were against MEC opponents. First on the schedule were the MEC games against Hill-Murray (6-4), North St. Paul (1-9), Two Rivers (8-3), and for the first time in nearly 30 years, Hastings crossed the river to play Prescott.
The game against Hill-Murray was not the best outing for Hastings. Offensively, Hastings struggled; the only baserunners the Raiders had were due to walks or being hit by pitch, and the bats did not contribute much to the team's efforts. The pitchers for the Pioneers did a great job mixing things up and keeping the Raiders off-balance throughout the game. Matt Sherry started on the mound and went six full innings, facing 28 batters and throwing 91 pitches—47 strikes and 44 balls. He struck out two, walked six, and allowed three runs on five hits. Cole Karnick relieved Sherry for the seventh inning, striking out one of the four batters he faced and walking one. Hastings fell 3-0 in a game that they have already flushed out of their memory banks.

The game against MEC last-place North St. Paul was the game Hastings needed. It served as a confidence boost; the bats woke up significantly, and Hastings did exactly what they needed to do against an inferior opponent—they clobbered them 13-3.
Carter Lundstrom started on the mound for Hastings, earning the five-inning complete game win thanks to the 10-run rule and his very efficient pitching. Lundstrom threw 22 balls and 57 strikes for a total of 79 pitches. He faced 24 batters, striking out seven and walking only two, with an ERA of 2.80. Offensively, of the 13 runs scored by Hastings, only four Raiders recorded RBIs. Johnny Teigland and Lukas Niederkorn each had two, while Chuck Wagner and Alex Hendrickson had one each. In the first inning, the first three batters were walked on 13 pitches. Sawyer Tjomsland and Hendrickson were the first two on base. A wild pitch put Tjomsland on third, and with runners on the corners, Hendrickson initiated a delayed double steal that allowed Tjomsland to steal home. Evan Nelson walked, and a wild pitch to Jack Seleski allowed Hendrickson to reach third. Jack Seleski walked, advancing Nelson to second. Of the first 17 pitches thrown by North St. Paul, 16 of them were balls. Teigland had a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Hendrickson. Seleski and Nelson executed a double steal during Mark Denoyer’s at-bat, and Lukas Niederkorn’s single scored both Nelson and Seleski—three of the six earned runs scored in the first inning.
In the second inning, Lundstrom reached first on an error by the pitcher and quickly stole second base to get into scoring position. Tjomsland hit a single, advancing Lundstrom to third. Lundstrom scored (unearned) when Hendrickson walked, and Hastings had a 5-1 lead.
Denoyer led off the third inning reaching on an error and then stole second. Niederkorn and Wagner walked, loading the bases. A wild pitch to Lundstrom scored Denoyer and Niederkorn and moved Wagner to third. Tjomsland hit a single and then stole second base, putting runners at second and third with one out. Hendrickson was walked to load the bases, and a wild pitch to Nelson scored Wagner.
In the fourth, Denoyer crushed a double to center field, and a wild pitch to Niederkorn scored Denoyer from second. Niederkorn and Wagner both walked, but the Raiders were unable to capitalize on those free bases. Hendrickson started the fifth inning with a walk, and the Raiders kept the aggressiveness on the bases, giving Hendrickson the green light to steal second again. Nelson walked, and Hendrickson stole third. With runners on the corners, a wild pitch to Seleski scored Hendrickson and moved Nelson to third. Teigland hit a single, scoring Nelson, and then things became really interesting.
Head Coach Ryan Stoffel decided it was time to end the game in the fifth, giving Teigland the green light to steal not one, not two, but all three bases. The first came during Denoyer’s at-bat when Teigland stole second. It was fortunate he did steal second; otherwise, it could have resulted in a double play during Denoyer’s ground out to second. Cade Kimmes, the regular starting center fielder, was subbed in for Niederkorn in an attempt to lock down the 10-run-rule win. Before Kimmes was walked, Teigland stole third. With runners on the corners, the Raiders once again executed the delayed double steal perfectly, scoring Teigland. Then Kimmes copied Teigland, stealing third. Wagner sealed the deal for Hastings, knocking Kimmes in with a single up the middle, and Lundstrom finished the final three batters off to give the Raiders the 13-3 win in five innings.
Against North, Hastings stole a total of 14 bases but only logged seven hits. Those seven hits sound low, but they were simply not given the opportunity to swing much. Of the 35 at-bats, there were seven hits, 14 walks, and two errors, so it was an offensively good game for the Raiders.
The third game of the week was a home rematch against the Warriors. Two Rivers had previously defeated Hastings 5-4 in a great game in Mendota Heights. Hastings knew they missed a huge opportunity at Two Rivers, so they came in looking for revenge. The Raiders got it on an afternoon they honored the 1999 State Championship team in a pregame ceremony where the 1999 Head Coach Mike “Doc” Louden threw out the first pitch.
No stats or book were made available for the Two Rivers game, but Hastings dominated the Warriors, winning 9-1.

The final game of the week was one that, when it comes down to it, meant nothing for both teams in their respective standings, but hopefully, it will rekindle the friendly border battle rivalry between Hastings and Prescott. This game was the first the Raiders and Cardinals have played in baseball since sometime in the 1990s. It has been 25-30 years since the border towns clashed on the diamond, and it was fun to see them play each other again.
Both teams looked excited to play each other as well, and the fans were certainly energetic. The game took place in Prescott at Fire Hall Field, which has that typical small-town stadium feel with a great ambiance.
Hastings took an early 3-0 lead and never really looked back. The Cardinals did cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth, but Hastings kept the pressure on to win 8-3. Nelson led the team with three RBIs while Seleski and Teigland each had two. Seleski started on the bump for Hastings, logging four and a third innings. Mark Denoyer relieved him in the fifth to log two-thirds of an inning, and Nelson finished the final two innings.
It was neat for long-time Raider and Cardinal fans to see the two faceoff again after such a long hiatus. Hopefully, the game becomes an annual event alternating who hosts. So next year, they should play at Vets Park on the first Saturday of May.

Hastings went 3-1 for the week with two huge wins in both the conference and section, which can only help them in section seeding when the regular season ends on May 21 at Eastview. Here is a snapshot of the remaining games.