The Lady Jaguars huddle up one last time, following their Ogilvie loss. Their splended playoff run ends with a third place finish in the girls fastpitch 14-team Section 5A.
It was a tough ending tonight for the seasons of both the B-B-E girls fastpitch and boys baseball teams. In girls fastpitch, the Lady Jaguars fell 11-1 to Ogilvie in the Section 5A elimination bracket final. They had won an exciting game earlier in the evening in the first elimination game, defeating the East Central Eagles 9-3. In boys baseball, the Prairie Conference had the last word on my rantings, as the Jaguars lost a close 4-1 decision to the two-time defending section champions from Upsala-Swanville Area. The fastpitch team ends their season 10-13, while the baseball ends with a record of 9-10 overall. The core of both squads were underclassmen, which brings high hopes for the 2008 season.
The softball game against Ogilvie was especially difficult to witness when one of our players (and captains) went down with a freak injury. As the third baseman, she was straight in front of a line drive shot down the left side. The ball went straight at her glove before glancing up and hit her hard on the side of her head. The game was starting to turn in favor of the Lions at that point, and the injury did not help our cause. She actually stayed in the game for a few more pitches before coming out. Call her gritty or foolish, she was a warrior nonetheless.
The game got off to such a great start, with the Lady Jaguars going up 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Not much went our way after that, however. Even having the lively crew of Jon Kent, Shane Weller, Ryan Weller, Brent Gregory, and Dustin Gregory running the scoreboard did not bring enough magic to advance to the section finals.
The Lady Jaguars golf team also had a disappointing showing in the Section 5A finals, as they ended fourth out of the final six teams. Senior Kari Rosengren finished nine strokes short of a state tournament berth, possibly the toughest ending of anything thus far for B-B-E's spring sports teams. She was 10th overall out of all golfers.
The team certainly should be proud of winning the Central Minnesota Conference this season and placing third out of 26 teams in the first round of sections last week.
Win or lose, all players, coaches, and teams should be proud of the excellent spring season we've had at B-B-E. It's been very enjoyable to say the least. Tonight the sinking feeling of "it's over" sunk in, with no B-B-E teams still alive in post-season action.
Tomorrow I will be at St.John's University in Clemens Stadium covering the Section 5A track and field championships, where B-B-E will be represented by four outstanding male and two female athletes. The meet begins at 10:30am.In my "hats off" category, I would like to give mention to the terrific sportsmanship displayed by the East Central team tonight in their fastpitch game against our Lady Jaguars.
Every player and coach for the Eagles was positive the entire game, even as their hopes of winning were fading fast as the runs piled up on our side in the 9-3 win. I was close to the field the entire game, and for a couple innings I stood by their dugout while photographing the game. Even when I had every expectation of "a comment or two" from their coaches, players, or fans regarding how calls went, I heard nothing but positives. It really makes my job more enjoyable when I witness such behavior. I'm not saying that our B-B-E teams don't show good sportsmanship, because they do, and I would not give the coverage I do if they did not. It's just nice to see it coming from the other side, especially when we're beating the opponent. Sometimes we lose sight of what really matters in athletics, and that is the development of your players' skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. I'm most certainly the most competitive sports reporter you'll ever see, and I hate losing. However, I dislike bad sportsmanship almost as much as I hate losing.
(If you're wondering where "East Central" is... it's basically halfways to Duluth, sitting along I-35 on State Highway 23, comprised of the towns of Sandstone, Askov, and Kerrick. There's your geography lesson for the day.)In other action in Section 5A:
Sub-Section 5A-South Baseball Semi-final: Royalton (#1 seed) 9, Pillager (#5 seed) 0
The Sub-Section 5A-South championship will be a rematch from 2006, when USA defeated Royalton 4-1.
Section 5A Girls Fastpitch Winner's bracket final: Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 7, Ogilvie 4
The Section 5A championship will be a rematch from the 2004 and 2005 seasons. In '04, K-M-S defeated Ogilvie and ended up as Consolation Champions in the Class A state tournament. In '05, Ogilvie beat K-M-S in the section final and advanced to "State".Sub-Section 5AA-20 baseball quarterfinals:
Paynesville Area (#1 seed) 5, Maple Lake 1
Kimball 7, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 6 (8 innings) (Kimball was the #6 seed, so this is a mild upset over the West Central-South Champion Falcons)
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 5, Eden Valley-Watkins 1 (EV-W was the #4 seed)
Litchfield 4, New London-Spicer 3 (The 7-seed almost knocks out the #2 seed!)Sub-Section 6AA-18 baseball quarterfinals:
7th-seeded Sauk Centre 0, 2nd-seeded Albany 4
4th-seeded Pierz 9, 5th-seeded Holdingford 3 (Pierz is 15-5)
3rd-seeded Melrose 2, 6th-seeded Foley 0
1st-seeded St.Cloud Cathedral 12, 8th-seeded Long Prairie/Grey Eagle 1 (5 innings)Also...in one of the Section 5AA girls softball semi-final games,
the Paynesville Area Bulldogs edged Watertown-Mayer 5-3 to advance to their first-ever softball section final. They are 10-1 in their past 11 games and 17-6 overall, which I also believe is a school record for our neighbors in softball. It's rather hard to believe, but Paynesville has a solid chance of advancing to state in softball. They were the 4-seed in Sub-Section 5AA-20 and knocked out the Central Minnesota Champions, Maple Lake. They would have to be beaten twice (by either Watertown-Mayer or Glencoe-Silver Lake) in Friday's Section 5AA Final round to hold them back from "state".
The Bulldogs baseball team has gotten (and deserves) plenty of glory in the past few years, so it's nice to see their girls fastpitch team doing well also. Especially considering they were winless in volleyball last fall and almost-winless (one-win finish) in girls basketball. I never take relish in seeing any high school program mire in the misery that Paynesville's fall and winter girls teams went through. I know a number of our B-B-E Jaguars are friends (and even neighbors with our B-B-E families around Lake Henry) with Paynesville athletes, and we only wish them the best in the playoffs.This Jaguars sports update brought to you by: