It's been an up-and-down season for the Hastings High School baseball team.
But when the Raiders open the playoffs this weekend, the team will be heading in on an up.
The Raiders won their final two games of the year, and begin the playoffs in the new Section 1AAA format Saturday.
Hastings playoff seed will not be determined until today (Thursday); but the Raiders are the defending section champions. But this year's format will be different.
The section is comprised of just 12 teams, down from 16. There will be four sub-sections of three teams. Each sub-section will be double-elimination and the four winners will compete in a separate double-elimination final four.
"We are going to need to be a more consistent baseball team in the playoffs," Hastings head coach Paul Hartmann said. "But we feel we have played a very strong conference schedule to help prepare us.
"We won't see any Suburban East Conference teams in the section, and this is a whole new season for us."
The Raiders defeated two section opponents in their final two games of the season.
Hastings defeated Farmington 5-2 Monday before beating Red Wing 6-3 Tuesday in a game that was played under the lights at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville.
"It was a good way for us to end the year," Hartmann said. "We are playing some good baseball and look forward to the challenge (of the playoffs)."
The Raiders finished the season 7-12 overall and 5-11 in the SEC.
Hastings scored two runs in the first inning against Farmington on an RBI single by senior Andy Otto and an RBI walk by senior Bobby Speedling.
The Raiders later added two more on RBI singles by senior Alex Harrington and junior Jake Ryan.
Senior John Jamison capped off the scoring with an RBI double.
Otto picked up the win on the mound, walking just two while striking out six in just five innings.
Senior Jordan Peterson pitched a scoreless sixth to earn the hold, and junior Devon LaCoursiere pitched a scoreless seventh to pick up his first career varsity save.
Against Red Wing, the Raiders took at 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth, but Red Wing tied the game in the bottom.
But three more runs in the top of the sixth inning gave the Raiders the win.
"One of the things we talked about early in the year is responding when a team scores runs on us," Hartmann said. "When they tied it up, the guys responded and didn't bury their heads."
Ryan led off the top of the sixth with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Jamison added a sacrifice fly, and senior Dan Kieffer had an RBI single. Junior David Vogelgesang started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.