Softball season ends

By Bruce Karnick
Posted 5/31/24

The Raiders softball season came to an end after two straight section tournament losses. Hastings entered the tournament as the fourth seed at 13-5. Their first opponent, East Ridge, entered the …

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Softball season ends


The Raiders softball season came to an end after two straight section tournament losses. Hastings entered the tournament as the fourth seed at 13-5. Their first opponent, East Ridge, entered the tournament at 9-10 with the fifth seed. The second opponent, Burnsville, the eighth seed came in at 4-16.
The first game was scheduled for Tuesday, but the rain forced a move to Wednesday. East Ridge jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a few Raider miscues and then they added one more in the second before the Raiders settled into their game.
The Raptors Anna Koch kept the Hastings batters baffled at the plate for most of the game until the fifth inning.
Allie Leflay led off with a walk and stole second during Lauren Muhl’s at bat. A wild pitch to Sienna McCoy moved Leflay to third before McCoy walked to give Hastings runners on the corners. A second wild pitch to Haley Strain moved McCoy into scoring position and a single to right by Strain scored both runners. Hastings was now down 5-2.
That was all the offense that Hastings could muster, and they lost their first game of a double elimination tournament. Strain went the distance for Hastings striking out nine and walking five on 138 pitches.
The elimination game against the eighth seed Burnsville took place the following day to keep the tournament on schedule and Hastings took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. McCoy kicked things off with a single to left and followed that up with a stolen base. Strain smacked a line drive single to the gap scoring McCoy and advancing to second on the throw home. The clutch hitting Kylie Evans moved Strain to third and Strain was knocked home by Addie Seleski.
Hastings held the lead until the top of the third when Burnsville scored four in an eerily similar half inning of small miscues adding up to the opponents’ scoring. Hastings tied the game at four in the bottom of the fourth. Muhl doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning and McCoy grounded up the middle for a single, scoring Muhl and moving to second on the throw. Strain singled moving McCoy to third and again Evan’s delivered a key hit, this time to score McCoy.
Sadly, each time the Raiders scored, Burnsville answered and this time, they scored three in the top of the fifth, then two in the top of the sixth to go up 9-4.
Hastings got two back in the bottom of the sixth. Lauren Jenkins led off with a single to left and Evans logged her fourth hit of the game, a double that was crushed to the centerfield fence. That shot scored Jenkins and Head Coach Jen Thesing made the call to substitute Rachel Notch in for speed on the bases in place of Evans for the second time of the game. A short-term good idea that gave the Raiders another run thanks to a line drive shot by Seleski.
The top of the seventh was quick with Burnsville clinging to a 9-6 lead. The energy on the Blaze bench was filled with fear but they quickly logged two outs. That brought McCoy up and after a long at bat, she crushed a double to left. Strain took the first pitch she saw and hit the ball to nearly the same spot as McCoy and all of a sudden, Hastings looked like they were about to tie the game. Jenkins copied the previous two batters hitting a shot to left field, but this time the defense was waiting. Strain made it to third and Jenkins quickly advanced to second on the throw giving the Raiders the tying run in scoring position.
This is where the early base running substitutions bit the Raiders. Evans was 4-for-4 on the day with two RBI’s including a double on her previous at bat. The issue at hand was that players can only re-enter once and she had re-entered earlier in the game. That meant that Notch needed to bat for herself instead of having Evans, the DP, bat. Notch is solid at the plate, but Evans had the hottest bat for the Raiders. There was no doubt that Evans was the one you wanted to bat in that exact moment. It really was that childhood dream scenario, two on in scoring position, two out, and you have the chance to hit the bases clearing home run in the bottom of the seventh to win 10-9.
Notch stepped to the plate and crushed the first pitch right at the second baseman. Burnsville could not have asked for a cleaner finish to the game, a line drive that was quickly snagged out of the air. Had it been just a couple feet higher, the Raiders would have tied the game and at least forced extra innings. Instead, the season ended with a 9-7 loss.
Hastings ends the season 13-7 overall and 4-2 in the section. There are six graduating from the Varsity roster, Lauren Jenkins, Kylie Evans, Elliana Stevens, Madelyn Chandler and Kaylee Hunt. The Journal would like to thank them for their time on the team and to wish these wonderful young adults all the best in the future.