Thursday, May 31, 2007

Results From Area Playoff Action

Section 5A Girls Fastpitch Championship:
First game: Ogilvie 9, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 6 (Ogilvie led 9-0 after six innings)
Second game: Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 6, Ogilvie 0 (Winning pitcher Patina Queenan, a senior for the Fighting Saints, went the distance in both games, pitching 14 total innings on the day.)
K-M-S advances to the Class A state tournament. They last went in 2004, their only other "state" trip in this sport, when they finished as consolation champions (5th).

Sub-Section 5A-South Championship:
Royalton 3, Upsala-Swanville Area 0 (At Joe Faber Field in St.Cloud)
Both Royalton (16-6) and USA (12-7) advance to the Section 5A Final Four, to be held June 4,5,7 at Pierz High School.


In Section 3AA Girls Fastpitch:

After Pipestone Area (23-3) defeated Benson/Hancock in the loser's bracket final by a 2-1 score, the defending section champion Arrows went on to defeat Minnewaska Area (16-7) twice to advance to the Class AA State Tournament. The scores of both games in the Section 3AA championship were 2-1 and 8-2, both in favor of Pipestone.

The Benson/Hancock BraveOwls finish a superb season 22-2, including the West Central South Conference championship, as well as third place overall in Section 3AA. They finished as runners-up in 2006 to Pipestone Area in Section 3AA and 22-6 overall.

The Minnewaska Area Lakers end the season as runners-up in the West Central North Conference as well as Section 3AA.

Sub-Section 5AA-20 baseball semi-finals:
Paynesville Area 8, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 1
Kimball Area 4, Litchfield 2 (The Cubs are the 6th-seed and defeated the 2nd-seeded Dragons)

Paynesville (18-4) and Kimball (8-13) will meet for the championship.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lady Jaguars Fastpitch Has a Strong Showing in Section 5A Final Four but Finishes in Third Place --- Baseball and Girls Golf Seasons End Also

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) 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.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Central Minnesota Conference Meet Held at Pierz Tonight, 13 All-CMC Awards Earned by B-B-E Tracksters --- Jaguars Baseball Humbles Osakis 14-5

At the 2007 Central Minnesota Conference Track and Field Championships today, held at the Pierz High School sports complex, over 13 all-conference awards were earned by B-B-E track and field squad members. The conditions were sunny throughout most of the event, but for the first hour a ferocious northwest wind bored down on the field, making conditions difficult for all participants. Once it calmed down, near perfect conditions existed for specators and participants at the meet.

One surprising and exciting finish of the night for the B-B-E boys team was in the 4 X 100 Relay, where Aaron Rooney, Joey Gruber, Mac Derichs, and Levi Anderson came through with an impressive first-place finish in a time of 47.6 seconds. They are conference champions.

Full results will appear in next week's Observer and Bonanza Valley Voice. By tomorrow morning, a handful of photos from the meet will be posted on my Jaguars sports photos website (link found at right).

For next week's Sub-Section 5A-18 track and field meet hosted at our high school sports complex, I can already tell you that the time I published in this week's newspapers for the start of the event is wrong...tonight I heard it begins at 2:00 and not 3:00 as I had written. (Tuesday, May 22, at 2:00pm)

In a gritty performance on the road tonight, the Lady Jaguars fastpitch team made it a season sweep over Holdingford when they beat the Huskers 9-3 in their final game of the Central Minnesota Conference season. The Lady Jaguars finish the regular season 7-11 overall and 6-8 in the CMC.

The Lady Jaguars golf team is closer to a Central Minnesota Conference championship than they've ever been, as they have a wide lead over second-place Rockford with five of six meets complete. Today they had their fifth straight CMC win during the meet hosted by Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted at the golf course in Lester Prairie (ShadowBrooke Golf Course). Whitney Bertram shot a 42 to grab medalist honors. Three other Lady Jaguars were in the Top 10.

The overall CMC standings are: (1) BBE 940 (2) Rockford 993 (3) KEVW 997 (4) Pierz 1,082 (5) Maple Lake 1,088.

When you read next week's Observer or Bonanza Valley Voice, you will hopefully be reading about a CMC Championship in girls golf for B-B-E. Their final meet of the season is Thursday, May 17 at Pierz. Good luck, Lady Jaguars!

Also tonight, in non-conference baseball action, the Jaguars defeated fellow section 5A team Osakis on the road by a score of 14-5. Osakis and B-B-E both have 8-9 overall records. Osakis is also 4-6 in the Prairie Conference. Oddly, all baseball teams in the Prairie play each other three times on the conference schedule. That is set up perhaps because there are only five teams in the Prairie Conference for baseball. Tonight's win was very important in the sense that it gives Coach Montbriand a solid argument for seeding our guys number three at the seeding meeting. Osakis should fall in as the number four seed. The Jaguars have one more game before playoffs, next Tuesday at NL-S (Spicer field), in a JV/Varsity double-header at 5:00 & 7:30, before playoffs will open on Thursday, May 24. The Wildcats are 2-10 in the West Central North Conference and 3-11 overall.

In a Central Minnesota Conference baseball game tonight, defending CMC champion Pierz won a one-run game to stay atop the conference when they defeated Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 5-4 in Howard Lake. The Pioneers are 9-1 in the CMC and 10-3 overall.

I want to add another bit of information that somewhat clarifies what I had posted a few days ago, on May 11, about the game the Jaguars baseball team had scheduled with Sauk Centre this Friday (May 18) in Elrosa. They had to back out, and I had joked to a couple people that they probably thought it was in their interest not to get throttled for the second straight year by B-B-E in Elrosa. (In 2006, they lost 5-0 in the last game of the regular season to the Jaguars at Saints Field.) Honestly, even though they started the season 1-9, assuming a win over a bad team is nothing to joke about, especially if you asked our neighbors to the west, the Minnewaska Lakers. The Lakers lost to Sauk Centre last Thursday night, and were 10-1 going into the game, only one game behind St. Cloud Cathedral in the race for the West Central North Conference championship. Their 6-5 loss to Sauk puts their hopes of a WCCN banner in serious jeopardy. It understates the importance of never overlooking anyone on your schedule. The reason Sauk had to back out of their game with B-B-E was because of the move of a conference game to their schedule on May 18...a WCCN double-header at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. If you think back to the weather we've had over the months of April and May, it's no surprise that Sauk had to re-arrange their regular season schedule in order to fulfill their conference commitments.

Let's hope the next few weeks are full of sunshine and great weather as we can look forward to great success for Jaguars sports teams in baseball, softball, track and field, and golf.

Speaking of which, the Lady Jaguars fastpitch team begins playoffs this Thursday at Osakis at 4:30. They were seeded sixth in Sub-Section 5A-West, with Osakis (8-6) seeded number three. The Lady Jaguars finished the regular season 7-11 overall and 6-8 in the Central Minnesota Conference, not far off from their 7-7 CMC record in 2006. With only one senior on their squad, they have great excitement for future seasons. Before that, however, I expect them to do some damage in the playoffs this season and make an appearance in the sub-section championship game for the first time since 2000. They have to get past Osakis first. Before tonight, the Silverstreaks were 6-7 overall, including 6-5 in the Prairie Conference. They played a 2-14 Royalton team today and ended up winning 17-10 in Royalton. The Royals finish in last place in the Prairie Conference. The Silverstreaks finished 7-5 in the Prairie, good for third place behind Eagle Valley (10-2, Prairie Champs) and Browerville (9-3). So the Silverstreaks have an 7-7 overall record going into playoffs, compared to our Lady Jaguars who are 7-11 overall.

Updated records for Sub-Section 5A-West teams: (In the order of seedings...the records in parentheses are the final regular season records of all teams)
1- Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (16-2, 14-0 Camden Conference Champions)
2- Browerville (10-4, 9-3 Prairie Conference Runners-Up)
3- Osakis (7-7, 8-4 Prairie Conference 3rd place)
4- Upsala (7-6)
5- Swanville (9-8) (Beat Upsala tonight 18-6!)
6- B-B-E (7-11)
7- St.John's Prep (3-11)
8- Central Christian-Prinsburg (0-10)

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Jaguars Baseball- Looking for Answers After 8-3 Loss to Holdingford -- Lady Jaguars Softball Shreds Upsala of the Prairie Conference 14-2 (6 innings)

The Jaguars baseball team fell two games below .500 (7-9) tonight in a home game against CMC opponent Holdingford. The Huskers took advantage of over eight B-B-E errors and left Elrosa with an 8-3 win, earning a split in the conference series with the Jaguars this season.

The Jaguars finish the conference season 7-7, a respectable finish and better than their 5-9 record in 2006. They earned sweeps over Rockford and Maple Lake, while also getting wins from Holdingford, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, and Kimball.

The Jaguars travel to Osakis tomorrow for a 4:30 non-conference game against the Section 5A opponent Silverstreaks. The best they can do this season is finish 9-9, by beating Osakis tomorrow and NL-S next Tuesday.

They control their own destiny in the sub-section as far as seedings go, as they need to defeat Osakis tomorrow to gain the upper hand on the number-three seed in 5A-South.

The Lady Jaguars softball team had a chip on their shoulder as they traveled to Upsala for a non-conference game today. They had been seeded a dismal sixth in Sub-Section 5A-West, which is dominated by five Prairie Conference teams. Though they had a record similar to other Prairie teams at the time of seeding (like Osakis, for example, which was 5-5, and Upsala, which was 5-4), they ended up being placed below Swanville, which was 5-8, based on a tiebreaker vote. That means, there was a second round of voting by the eight sub-section team coaches, because when the first tally was given, B-B-E and Swanville were tied for fifth place. I may be over-reaching a bit here, but how on earth can anyone compare a 5-8 record from the Prairie Conference and line it up with a 5-9 record that our Lady Jaguars had?

Fast forward a few days, to today, when the Lady Jaguars traveled to Upsala to face the Cardinals, who were on a two-game winning streak with wins over Osakis (8-3 score) and St.John's Prep (7-4 score) last Thursday and Friday. The Cardinals were 7-4 overall coming into today's game, and 7-4 in the Prairie Conference (3rd place).

After trailing 2-0 after two innings, the Lady Jaguars woke up and started punishing the Cardinals' senior pitcher to the tune of 16 hits and 14 earned runs. (She was the same pitcher who fired 10 strikeouts and gave up only six hits during their 8-3 win over Osakis last week. Keep in mind that Osakis will host the Lady Jaguars on Thursday in the playoff opener.) Meanwhile, the Lady Jaguars freshmen pitcher, Laura Johnson, was holding the Cardinals to only three hits, one earned run, and five strikeouts.

Upsala was seeded number four in the sub-section and will get a home playoff game that comes with a top-four seed. They will host Swanville (7-8). Osakis is the third seed, and the Lady Jaguars will be fired up as ever when they face the Silverstreaks on Thursday at 4:30 (in Osakis at their high school grounds). Coming into this season, no one, including myself, knew how they would fare this season, with such new and untested pitchers taking the helm of the team. They will take a 6-11 record into playoffs, with a handful of tight wins and losses, battle tested from the CMC, and look forward to earning a trip to Whitney Park in two weekends for the Section 5A Final Four.

Lastly for this post, I want to mention that the boys and girls track and field teams will be at Pierz on Tuesday for the Central Minnesota Conference championship meet. The event will begin around 4:00, with the coaches meeting at 3:30. Complete results will appear in next week's local newspapers.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jaguars Baseball Drops 8-5 Game to CMC-Leading Pierz -- Lady Jaguars Golf Finishes Third at Sauk Centre Meet

Tonight, on another sunny day at Saints Field in Elrosa, the Jaguars baseball team hosted conference-front running Pierz. After two innings, the Jaguars had been held to one hit, while the Pioneers were hitting all over the field for 7 runs scored. In the third inning, the Jaguars got on track and fought back, though it was not enough in an 8-5 loss. Pierz moves to 7-1 in the CMC, while the Jaguars fell to 7-6 in the league. Photos from the game have been posted to my sports photos website. (link found at right)

At the Litchfield Invitational, the Lady Jaguars golf team went up against tough area competition and finished in an admirable third place. Litchfield won team honors, followed by Class AA Willmar. They now prepare for a tough Central Minnesota Conference meet at Rockford tomorrow (Friday). Rockford sits in second place in the CMC behind the Lady Jaguars. It is the fourth (of six) meet of the conference season.

The Lady Jaguars softball team traveled to Pierz tonight, and although they held a 6-2 lead mid-way through the game, a grand slam by the Pioneers (6-6 CMC, 6-8) tied it up and the wheels fell off in the sixth inning when the 10-run rule kicked in for a 16-6 loss.

**Seedings are in for the Sub-Section 5A-West softball teams. After the dust settled in an interesting seeding meeting, the Lady Jaguars ended up with a sixth seed. They will travel to third-seeded Osakis on Thursday, May 17 for a 4:30 game.
*Records of the teams going into the seeding meeting on Wednesday night:
1- Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (12-2)
2- Browerville (7-4)
3- Osakis (5-5)
4- Upsala (5-4)
5- Swanville (5-8)
6- B-B-E (5-9)
7- St.John's Prep (3-6)
8- Prinsburg-Central Christian (0-10)

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

19th Annual B-B-E Jaguars Athletic Banquet Held at the High School Tonight -- April Hansen & Michael Zenzen Are Senior Athletes of the Year

A large amount of awards, including the full roster of letterwinners, were handed out tonight by coaches, the athletic director, and team members, for all B-B-E athletic teams, covering cross country, football, volleyball, girls tennis, girls basketball, boys basketball, wrestling, danceline, softball, baseball, track and field, and boys and girls golf.

Full details will be published in next week's issues of the Bonanza Valley Voice and the Observer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Two Close and Exciting Wins for the B-B-E Baseball and Softball Teams -- Jaguars beat Kimball 4-3, Lady Jaguars beat Kimball 5-4

In home-and-away action tonight, both diamond squads for B-B-E enjoyed close wins over the Kimball Cubs in Central Minnesota Conference Action. The Jaguars baseball team hosted Kimball at Saints Field, and with revenge on their minds they dug deep to come through with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for an exciting 4-3 win. (On April 23 the Jaguars traveled to Kimball and were humbled by a 4-0 shutout.) In a road game at Kimball, the Lady Jaguars softball team also avenged an earlier-season loss to Kimball with a 5-4 win over the Cubs (3-8 CMC, 5-10 overall). (On April 23 the Lady Jaguars hosted Kimball and lost 11-3.)

Up next for the baseball and softball teams: Thursday the Jaguars baseball team hosts Pierz at Saints Field in 5:00 game. The Lady Jaguars softball team travels to Pierz for a 5:00 game. For the second straight outing, both teams will be looking to avenge earlier-season losses, as the Pioneers won 6-1 in baseball and 11-8 in softball on April 24.

In the Central Minnesota Conference: The Maple Lake softball team won its second straight CMC crown with a perfect 14-0 league record, capped by a 4-2 win over Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted tonight. The Irish is 16-1 and ranked #5 in the latest Class AA poll. The Pierz softball team is 5-6 in the CMC and 5-8 overall, a big improvement over their 0-15 record in 2006.

Central Minnesota Conference Baseball Standings: CMC record in parentheses.
Pierz (6-1) 6-3 *Barely beat last-place Rockford 10-9 in 11 innings tonight!
Howard Lake (7-2) 8-4
Eden Valley (7-4) 7-5 *Eagles began the season 1-5 before current 6-0 streak
B-B-E (7-5) 7-6
Maple Lake (5-7) 5-9
Holdingford (4-4) 4-6
Kimball (3-8) 3-11
Rockford (3-8) 3-10

Wednesday night (May 9) the annual B-B-E athletic banquet hosted by the V.F.W. in Belgrade will be held. It begins at 7:30. Numerous awards will be handed out, and tickets are $6.00 in advance.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Brent and Melanie thank you for your business!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Rockford Falls to 0-4 This Spring Against Our Baseball & Softball Teams -- 6-2 baseball win and 8-2 softball win for B-B-E Tonight

In important Central Minnesota Conference action tonight, both the baseball and softball teams defeated Rockford as the season winds down for both squads. At Rockford, the Jaguars baseball team won 6-2, while the Lady Jaguars softball team won 8-2 at home over the Rockets.

The Rockford baseball team fell to 3-8 in the CMC and 3-10 overall. Our baseball team improved to 6-6 overall and 6-5 in the CMC.

In a mid-afternoon golf meet at the Whispering Pines Golf Club, the Lady Jaguars golf team took first-place honors in the Annandale Invitational Two-Person Scramble. Whitney Bertram and teammate Megan Herickhoff joined up to card a meet-low 78 to lead their team to the big victory.

Tuesday the diamond teams face Kimball in more CMC action. The baseball team hosts the Cubs in Elrosa at 4:00, while the softball team travels to Kimball for a 4:00 game. Seeding will take place on Wednesday night for the Sub-Section 5A-West softball teams, and a win over Kimball will help the Lady Jaguars secure a high seed, possibly number three, for playoffs that are set to begin next week (May 17).

If the Lady Jaguars softball team did earn the three-seed, they could match up with 2006 state entrant Browerville in the semi-final round of sub-sections, barring first-round upsets to either team. The Tigers had to replace all but one player in their lineup this year, yet have managed a winning record in 2007. They were nipped by Osakis (4-5) last night 10-9 in Prairie Conference action to fall to 7-3 overall. I'd take a 5-9 record with mainly Central Minnesota Conference play up against a 7-3 or 4-5 record from a Prairie Conference team any day. Upsala, Eagle Valley, and Osakis, have all given Browerville losses this spring. State-ranked Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (12-2) is odds-on favorite to get the number-one seed. The Fighting Saints play in a semi-rugged Camden Conference, made up of numerous Class A teams around Marshall in southwest Minnesota.

From my sources, overall standings for Sub-Section 5A-West (softball):
K-M-S (12-2)
Browerville (7-3)
B-B-E (4-9)
Osakis (4-5)
Upsala (5-3)
Swanville (3-6)
St.Johns (2-6)
CMCS (0-8)

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Two Excellent Articles Relating to High School Athletics From www.Sportscow.Com

By Mick Stokes
In reading John Dermody’s article on amateur baseball, he so kindly took time to get his two-cents worth in on the umpires. Well, here is my take.

As someone who played on an amateur team for 10 years and have umpired in the Hi-10 and Regional tournaments for a few years, I want to ask you one question. Why would anyone want to ump amateur baseball?

I love the game, and recently umped a doubleheader between NYM and the Shockers. Even though it was a hot, muggy day, I left feeling good about umping amateur baseball again. Both teams were good to work for and carried themselves well.

This has not always been the case.

More times then not when I have umped an amateur game you have to deal with players that think they are Major League caliber and treat the umps as dirt. Too many times have I endured games that was nothing but constant complaining from both sides. Not to say that calls don’t get missed, as they do, but move on with it already. I have seen this from players that I played with as well as now umping.

So why should I give up 4-6 hours of my day, depending on travel, to get yelled at for $50. Hell, we make more doing a 7 inning high school game then we do a 9 inning amateur game!!! Most of us do it as we love the game and enjoy it, but some of the attitudes have taken the fun out of the game for some of us wearing the Blue.

I do games every year, and I like to think that I am a pretty good umpire. I miss calls and deserve to hear about them. But how about letting the Umps yell at the players when they boot a ball or make a bonehead play? Doesn’t work that way does it!

I will continue to work games as I enjoy being around the game and when you work well played games that everyone does their job it is a great rewarding experience. Sad to say that this happens far to infrequently.

Let the umps know if you disagree, but don’t go overboard. When the play is over, it is over. Don’t carry your argument with you as it will only lead to problems. Enjoy the fact that we are all involved in this wonderful game and respect everyone. Your teammates, your opponents, the umps and the fans. A lot of young kids who are the future are watching.
Mick Stokes

November 8, 2006: received the following email from Wayne Petermeier, the head coach of the Browerville high school football team. The email arrived shortly after the Tigers lost in the Section 6A championship game to New York Mills. Even though it was mainly directed at fans of the Tigers, it was so well written and raised so many good points for other teams and communities to consider, that I wanted to share it with you.
Kyle Gylsen

The Browerville Tigers season came to an end on Thursday. It was a very good high school football game from both team's standards. It had all the emotions from the highs and lows that go with high school sports and high school athletes. There was a winner and a loser. There were good plays and bad plays. There were good plays called by the coaching staff and bad plays called by the coaching staff. There were good defensive plays and some "not so good" defensive plays. There were passes caught and some passes that just missed. It's a game of inches or in this case a game of about a quarter inch.

There were so many turning points in the game that I have forgotten about half of them already. This brings me to points beyond the game itself.

If any person has been a part of athletics you will understand my feelings. You sometimes hear that when a school needs to cut things, sports is often thought of as a possibility. You often hear, "What good does sports do in the long run of life?" Well, if you happened to be at the Fargodome on Thursday, you may have a different feeling of the importance of team, togetherness and the working of a common goal.

Each and every young man on that field laid absolutely every ounce of energy (physically and mentally) on that field. To see these young men get up play after play totally exhausted made you wonder "why" or "how" they could do it. They trusted the person next to them that they were giving the best possible effort they could. Each and every person on that field never once backed down from adversity or the task at hand.

There's the question of "What does sports teach anyone anyway?"

With the high priced players we see on TV or players in the news about this bad thing or that bad thing happening everyday, we were able to see athletics at its purest and finest form. Kids playing a game because they just love being out there as a part of a team. Not very many, if any, of these kids will ever wear a uniform again. They were in it for all the right reasons. Those reasons are to each his own. They competed to their fullest ability and gave an effort play after play that we as a coaching staff and community can be proud of. A lot of life's lessons are taught on the playing field. How they handle them is what is learned. If this game was any indication of how these young men will turn out in the game of life, I think they proved on this day and this season just how their lives will turn out.

Yes, I know it's just a game. But its more than just a game to the athletes who put so much extra time and effort into something they are doing because they love to do it. I am proud to say I had the honor of coaching this group of young men. To each and every one of you "thanks" for a great season and thanks for keeping the tradition of Tiger football alive and well.

Coach Petermeier

Friday, May 04, 2007

No Games Today... Rain Cancels Outdoor Action

The B-B-E area received some much-needed rain today, and it should continue through the weekend. The home softball and baseball games were cancelled, and may not be re-scheduled at this point since both were non-conference games.

The Jaguars boys golf team traveled to Pierz on Thursday. They finished the Central Minnesota Conference meet tied for fourth place with Maple Lake with a 186. Pierz and Rockford tied for first place overall with a score of 158. The team was slated to be part of a huge 19-team golf tournament in Benson today, beginning at 8:00am. The rain this morning most likely stopped that in its track.

Next action, coming up on Monday, includes: Lady Jaguars softball hosts Rockford (5:00), Jaguars baseball travels to Rockford, the boys and girls golf teams both travel to Annandale for a joint golf meet that begins at 2:00.

*Note: The Minnewaska baseball game against our Jaguars has been re-scheduled to May 11, a home game at Saints Field. Also, a CMC game at Holdingford for the Lady Jaguars softball team has been re-scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 at 4:00.

The softball playoff opener in Sub-Section 5A-West is May 17. The baseball playoff opener in Sub-Section 5A-South is May 24.

Let's hope the rain our area farmers badly need continues all weekend, then breaks for sunshine on Monday!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Jaguars Baseball Knocks Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Out of First Place in the CMC, 5-2 Win at Saints Field

Under a cloudy sky with a stiff easterly wind, the Jaguars baseball team got to within a game below .500 with a well-played 5-2 win against Central Minnesota Conference foe Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted tonight, in a home game at Saints Field in Elrosa. The Jaguars (5-6) also squared their CMC record at 5-5, equaling last year's win total in the CMC when they finished 5-9 in the league. They also sit at third place in the Sub-Section 5A-South standings (see below).

Junior Josh Roelike had a great game on the mound, throwing all seven innings.

The Lakers were fighting to stay in a first-place tie with Pierz in the CMC, both coming into the night with one league loss each. Earlier this week, Rockford knocked the Lakers from the league unbeaten ranks, showing that there is indeed parity in the conference this spring.

Tomorrow (Friday) the Jaguars host their neighboring rivals from Pope County, the Minnewaska Area Lakers (6-1), in a 4:30 non-conference game at Saints Field. The Lakers have only one loss this season, a 3-2 loss on the home diamond of the premier team in the area, the Paynesville Area Bulldogs. In another home game tomorrow, the Lady Jaguars softball team will host Osakis at 4:30 in non-conference action. A win over the Silverstreaks would virtually guarantee the Lady Jaguars (3-8) a higher seed over Osakis in Sub-Section 5A-South.

Sub-Section 5A-South Standings:
1- Royalton (8-2)
2- Upsala-Swanville (4-4)
3- B-B-E (5-6)
4- Pillager (2-4)
5- Osakis (1-3)
6- Ogilvie (0-2)
7- St.John's Prep (0-4)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Second Annual Belgrade Lions Track and Field Invite Takes Place, Well attended with Great Action All Around --- Jaguars Baseball Beats Maple Lake 9-5

Today under full sunshine the second annual Belgrade Lions Invite took place without a hitch at the high school sports complex. With around 20 helpful local Lions Club members on hand, eight area teams joined our B-B-E boys and girls track and field squads for the four-hour long event: Hancock, Maple Lake, Rockford, Holdingford, Kimball/Eden Valley-Watkins, St.John's Prep, Sauk Centre, and Osakis. The Post-Prom Committee served concessions in the pressbox, also finding success while serving 99 pizzas to the athletes and fans at the meet.

A few examples of strong performances from B-B-E athletes include: Austin Jasmer earning fourth place in the 1600m Run as well as the 3200m Run (also setting a new personal best in the 3200 with a time of 11:06) - April Hansen finished in third place in the Triple jump - Kelsey Kampsen finished in fifth place in the 3200m Run - Ashley Lensing took first place in the High jump (while also setting a new personal best at 5'5") as well as the Pole vault - finally, Aaron Rooney won the Pole vault on the boys side with a jump of 11'6".

Meanwhile, both diamond squads were also in action today. The Jaguars baseball team found success at Maple Lake, taking the conference series from the Irish with a 9-5 road win. The Lady Jaguars softball team hosted Maple Lake, and though they played hard they fell 6-3. The Maple Lake softball team is currently 12-1 overall (8-0 CMC) and ranked fifth in the Class AA coaches poll.

Up next for B-B-E teams, Thursday action: Softball @ Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Baseball hosts Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (5:00, Elrosa), Track and Field squads are at the annual Little Crow Invitational at NL-S (3:15), Boys Golf is at Pierz.

The baseball game in Elrosa is a key game for the Jaguars, as they fight to shake off their recent 1-5 stretch where some tough, close losses sent their record there games below .500. The team they host on Thursday, the Lakers from Howard Lake, is 5-1 based on information I have, with a 5-0 CMC record. They barely got past the Jaguars in their first meeting, a 4-3 loss for B-B-E. In the Section 5A-South standings, the Jaguars (4-6) sit in fourth place in the eight-team sub-section. Collecting more wins over AA teams will not only solidify a high seed and home game for the playoff opener, but they could move as high as second and give themselves a real shot at making a sub-section championship game for the first time since 1995.

See you at Saints Field!

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