Hastings Five Points Bank used an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning by Gabe Conant to edge Home Federal 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Ryder Park.
Lightning from approaching thunderstorms prevented Home Federal from trying to put together its own late-inning victory in the second game.
Play was halted with Hastings leading 2-0 after five innings.
Despite the pair of close losses, Home Federal coach Kirby Wells wasn’t disappointed following the second game being called as his team tried to quickly clean up and hustle to safety.
“It was two competitive games and Hastings has a great team over there,” he said. “They’re well coached and they do things right.”
Hastings (9-2) took the first game after Home Federal (8-7) had rallied to tie it up in the sixth inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Jacob Shaw doubled and then scored when Conant singled to right field. The ball landed just in front of sliding right fielder Ace McKinnis, who was able to get his glove on the ball but couldn’t quite make the catch.
Reliever Rans Sanders took the loss, striking out two and walking none in the seventh.
“We trotted our guy Rans Sanders out there and they hit a pretty good pitch and got one run there,” Wells said. “We squared up two balls in the next (half) inning, and they made two good plays.
“I’m proud of the way we competed and the way our pitchers attacked the zone today. That’s how baseball works sometimes — they came out on top in the end.”
Conant also picked up the win, allowing no baserunners while striking out three in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
He replaced starter Jake Schroeder after Home Federal rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the sixth.
Sanders doubled with one out for Home Federal’s first hit against Schroeder since the first inning. Carson Cahoy then followed by sending a 1-0 pitch over the fence in center field to tie the contest.
“Rans put a great swing on it and followed with a home run,” Wells said. “It put us right back in the game and right back in the mix of things. We were right in it there until the end.”
In the second game, JT Cafferty hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Mason Brumbaugh added an RBI double in the fifth to account for Hastings’ runs.
Laif Hultine held Home Federal to two hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Home Federal’s Alex Hinken allowed the two runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks.
Wells said his pitchers — including first game starter Zack Kissack — did well against a team that was averaging almost eight runs a game.
“Zack Kissack had three pitches going today,” he said. “His fastball, curveball and changeup were all really good, and he mixed them really well. Alex Hinken attacked the zone with his three pitches, and we played pretty good defense for the most part outside of a couple of blemishes out there.
“Right now we’re pitching and playing pretty good defense. We’ve just got to string some better at bats together at times with runners in scoring position.”
Home Federal looks to bounce back Thursday during a doubleheader at Waverly.
“You’ve got to have a short memory, turn around and get back on the winning side Thursday,” Wells said.