By Bruce Karnick [email protected] The Raiders softball team entered the week at .500 in the Metro East Conference with a record of 5-5 (5-6 overall) with three huge games ahead of them for the …
By Bruce Karnick
The Raiders softball team entered the week at .500 in the Metro East Conference with a record of 5-5 (5-6 overall) with three huge games ahead of them for the week and only four games left in the season.
Tuesday the Spartans from Simley came to town and Wednesday, the Raiders travelled to Inver Grove Heights for back-to-back games against Simley. Hastings dominated both games, winning game one 13-3 and game two 11-2.
Thursday, the Raiders traveled to Tartan to face a team that had severely dismantled them in the earlier season meeting 17-7. Hastings grabbed the lead in the top of the third 3-0. Kendal Jenkins walked followed by a second walk to Reanna Reinke. Lauren Jenkins hit a double to right scoring Kendal and advancing Reinke to third. Abigail Trapp hit a hard line drive to center scoring both Reinke and Lauren.
In the fourth, Hailey Hoff was hit by pitch and advanced to second when Olivia Mattson took a five-pitch walk. Kendal smashed a shot to center on the 1-1 pitch for a three-run homerun giving Hastings the 6-0 lead, but they were not done yet. Reinke hit a grounder to the right field gap for a single and in typical Jenkins fashion, Lauren could not let her sister get all the glory. Lauren crushed one over the left field power alley scoring two more.
Tartan answered back with one in the bottom of the fourth, but Hastings gained that back in the top of the fifth on a two base error that scored Hoff from second. Tartan fought to close the gap big time in the bottom of the fifth scoring six and then two more in the bottom of the sixth, but the Raiders scored two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh off the bats of Mackenzie Tryba, Kendal and Lauren Jenkins again, and Reinke.
Hoff started the game on the mound for the Raiders logging five strikeouts, Carley Schmidt earned the win in relief. Run support came from the hot bats of the Raiders lead by the dynamic Jenkins sisters. Lauren was 4 for 5 with a home run, a double, two singles and four RBIs. Kendal inspired her sister sending one over the fence first, also getting a double along with two walks in her 2 for 3 performance at the plate along with three RBIs. Trapp added two RBIs going 1 for 3 at the plate with a walk and Reinke had an RBI with her 1 for 4, one walk performance. The final was Hastings 11, Tartan 9.
Head Coach Jennifer Thesing was proud of her girls. “We had three solid starts from three different pitchers last week. Hailey Hoff was dealing with an injury from the prior week and the extra time off allowed her to have a good outing against Tartan. We had some defensive missteps in the Tartan game that allowed them the chance to get back in the game, but I am proud of how we handled the adversity and still got the win. We are obviously hitting very well, we put up a total of 36 runs in the three games we had. The Jenkins sisters are of course leading the way, but Abby Trapp has also been having a standout year. Our whole line up is solid, and I have high confidence in anyone that I put in from the bench. I know we’ve had some growing pains this year, but I hope people can see how special this team is and what the possibility for the rest of the season and next year can be.”
Hastings heads into their final MEC game of the season at 8-5, (8-6 overall). Their final regular season opponent is the 1-12 Packers from South St. Paul, at home on Tuesday May 18. A win against South St. Paul is needed to give them a chance at second place.
The issue at hand is the current second place team is Tartan at 9-3. Tartan has two MEC games left this week against Hill-Murray and Mahtomedi. If Tartan loses both, they will be tied with Hastings at 9-5. Searching for the tie breaking rules used by the MSHSL resulted in no answers. In head-to-head competition, they are tied 1-1. Head-tohead runs scored; Tartan has the edge 26-18, which is likely the second tie breaker. The likely scenario is Hastings ends up fighting for third in the standings. Mahtomedi could potentially move up in the standings to catch the Raiders.
The standings will all be decided by the time this hits mailboxes on Thursday, so look for a recap of the regular season and a preview of the post season in next weeks paper. The bottom line? GO GET IT, RAIDERS!
Lauren Jenkins scores one after Alissa Johnson put the ball in play in the Raiders 13-3 win over Simley on May 11. Photo by Bruce Karnick