Softball honors teachers, Strikeout Cancer game


Last week was another busy one for Hastings sports, this time featuring the Raiders Softball team. Hastings entered the week at 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the Metro East Conference (MEC) with four games scheduled. First up was MEC second-place Tartan, followed by Mahtomedi, and rounding out the conference play was Two Rivers. Hastings concluded their week on a wet Saturday with their Softball Day Hastings against Mounds View.
The first opponent of the week, Tartan, proved to be a challenge for Hastings. The Titans won the game 11-2. The offensive highlights for the Raiders were Lauren Jenkins with an RBI and Haley Strain with a solo home run.
Against Mahtomedi, Hastings took an early 4-0 lead in the second inning, extending it with three more runs in the fifth inning. Mahtomedi broke the shutout in the bottom of the seventh, but Hastings held on to win 7-2. Unfortunately, there were no additional stats or books available for the first two games of the week.
Hastings had more softball action ahead with Two Rivers visiting on Friday for the Raiders teacher appreciation game. Before the game, the girls honored 16 teachers, and they capped the day with a 5-0 win. In the shutout, Haley Strain and the Raiders defense held the Warriors to just one hit.
In the first inning, Sienna McCoy led off with a walk. Strain grounded out, advancing McCoy to second. Lauren Jenkins hit a single past a diving shortstop to advance McCoy to third, and then the ladies executed a delayed double steal, scoring McCoy and advancing Jenkins to second. A single by Addie Seleski scored Jenkins, giving Hastings a 2-0 lead.
Kaylee Hunt led off the fourth with an infield single but was caught stealing before Lauren Meyer hit a single. Emily Dembroski singled, and Lauren Muhl walked to load the bases. McCoy grounded out to second, scoring Meyer before the side was retired.
The final two runs came in the sixth. Muhl and Strain both singled, and Jenkins nearly knocked the skin off the ball with a bases-clearing triple to right-center, putting the Raiders up 5-0.
Strain finished the day with 126 pitches consisting of 85 strikes, and 41 balls. She struck out nine and walked only three while facing 27 batters. The Raiders had 11 hits to Two Rivers' one.
Saturday’s ‘Softball Day Hastings’ was scheduled for several games to be played all day starting at 8 a.m., but Mother Nature had other plans. Overnight and morning precipitation forced the day to be reorganized. The varsity game was still able to be played at the originally scheduled 8:00 p.m. start against Mounds View. Before the game, several honors were given out. First, Mayor Mary Fasbender thanked HYAA (Hastings Youth Athletic Association) and the High School softball program for supporting the Parks Department efforts at Veterans Park and around town. HYAA then honored Dan Thomas, a former HYAA director and long-time softball coach in Hastings. The last honoree was Emily Chandler, a coach at multiple levels for the schools in Hastings, including coaching at the High School. Chandler is also the high school band director who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Chandler's daughter Maddie is on the varsity team, so it was a logical fit to honor her for the strike-out cancer game.
Hastings once again took a shutout into the seventh inning, but the Mustangs were able to score two runs late in the game to break up the shutout. Hastings, on the other hand, scored quickly in the first inning to jump out to an early lead they would not relinquish.
Strain hit a hard grounder to second and reached on an error by the second baseman. Jenkins almost mirrored Strain, hitting a hard grounder to third that was misplayed for a second error by the Mustangs, putting two runners on base for Hastings. Addie Seleski walked with two outs, and that brought Kaylee Hunt to the plate. Hunt squared up and drove the fifth pitch she saw deep to right-center. The ball hit the top of the fence about three inches from the top, resulting in a bases-clearing double and three RBIs. Meyer singled, scoring Hunt, and then she stole second, allowing a single by Dembroski to score Meyer, putting Hastings up 5-0.
McCoy doubled in the second, and Kylie Evans knocked her home with a single. Strain and Dembroski each scored a run in later innings to add to the lead, and Hastings finished the game with an 8-2 win. Strain again threw over 100 pitches in the win, striking out two and walking four.
After the game, the girls somehow convinced Head Coach Jen Thesing to hop in the dunk tank that had been sitting in the cold, rainy weather all day. The dunk tank was supposed to be a fundraiser, but the weather kept it from being used much during the day. Still, Coach Thesing was a great sport about it, and the girls were extremely excited to dunk their coach. The first toss by Claire Reider connected, and Thesing did not have to wait long to find out the temp of the water. Of course, the rest of the dunk tank hilarity was total chaos that ended with Thesing playfully chasing the girls around field three soaking wet.
The end of the softball regular season is quickly approaching, with only four regular-season games remaining. All remaining games are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. starts. On May 8, they travel to Hill-Murray, May 10 to South St. Paul, and May 14 to Simley. Their final regular-season game is at home against Hopkins on May 17.