Sports roundup from Wednesday, May 28
BLUE ANCHORS BASEBALL
Mankato 4, Alexandria 2
The Alexandria Blue Anchors dropped the second game of a two-game set against the Mankato MoonDogs Wednesday night in a 4-2 game at Franklin Rogers Park.
A three-run eighth inning for the MoonDogs proved to be the difference in the game. The two teams were tied going into that inning before a two-run single by Brinn Bell opened the game up a little bit. Alexandria got one back in the eighth with the help of a Mankato error.
The Blue Anchors couldn’t get any close from there. Kevin Walsh took the loss for Alexandria in 1 1/3 innings of relief. He allowed all three runs in the seventh and finished with four hits and two walks allowed. Jason Shaul finished with a hit and two RBIs on a night when the Blue Anchors’ offense was held to just three hits. They couldn’t take advantage of five Mankato errors.
Alexandria is now 0-2 on the young season.
The Alexandria girls’ golf team will get its shot at a state title after finishing second a year ago.
The Cardinals guaranteed themselves that chance after a torrid day one of the Section 8AAA tournament helped them to an 18-stroke win over second-place Buffalo in the two-day event.
Alexandria shot a 316 on Tuesday and led by 23 strokes over the Bison. The Cardinals didn’t fall back much on Wednesday, shooting a 322 to withstand Buffalo’s 317. The Cardinals were just too deep for the field as they finished with a 638.
“We are so happy with our team performance for each of these two days,” head coach Tim Zupfer said. “We had some unusual things happen each day, and our team stayed focused and persevered.”
Alexandria finished with all four of its scorers in the top 10 of the individual standings. Natalie Amundson was the catalyst, shooting a couple 75s to finish second overall with her 150.
Senior Emily Thul wasn’t far behind. She kept it in the 70s both days as she finished with a 78 after shooting 79 on Tuesday. Thul finished fourth with her 157.
Bridget Amundson also saved some of her best for the biggest tournament of the season so far. The freshman finished eighth overall after shooting a two-day score of 165. Her 81 on day one was a personal best during her career.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the depth of this team is in the fact that the Cardinals won with relative ease despite a tough two days by senior Amanda Bigger’s standards. Bigger had an 81 on Tuesday and an 85 on Wednesday. That was part of an unusual tournament that saw her call a one-stroke penalty on herself for rolling her cart over her golf ball in round one. Zupfer said no other player saw the incident and praised her for abiding by the rules.
The Cardinals came into the season with their focus on winning a Central Lakes Conference title and a section crown. They have crossed those two accomplishments off their list and can now shift focus toward state.
Alexandria will be ready to go when the Class AAA tournament kicks off at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids June 10-11.
Alexandria’s Lukas Bigger will take on the best of the Class AAA field after qualifying for the individual state golf tournament on Wednesday.
The Cardinals made the cut of the top six teams after day one at the Section 8AAA tournament with a score of 312. Sixth place is exactly where the Cardinals ended up as they finished with a two-day score of 636 after a 324 at the Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre on Wednesday.
“Another beautiful weather day and the scores were good again,” head coach Rick Larson said. “As a team we did not fare as well on day two, but some individuals had a better showing.”
Bigger actually shot better on day one with a 73, which put him in second place with 18 holes to go. He withstood some bogeys on the back nine to shoot a 77 on Wednesday and found himself in a playoff with a player from Moorhead for the final individual spot in the state tournament.
Fellow Alexandria junior Cole Haugen also shot pretty well but not quite good enough to qualify for state. Haugen shot a 75 on Wednesday after firing a 79 on day one.
Haugen’s 154 left him tied for 13th. Aaron Johnson shot 168, Brandon Bistodeau shot a 174, Dan Hennessey a 177 and Kagan Foster finished with a 183 after bouncing back from a 99 on day one with an 84 on Wednesday.
Buffalo won the team title in Section 8AAA with a two-day score of 599.
Alexandria 11, Bemidji 1
The Alexandria softball team kept its hopes alive in the 8AAA tournament on Wednesday with an 11-1 win over Bemidji after beating Big Lake 4-1 just minutes before.
The Lumberjacks had dropped Alexandria to the loser’s bracket earlier in the tournament, but this game was all Cardinals. They scored five runs in the third behind a bases-loaded triple from Anna Lee that opened the game up. They added five more in the fifth to end the game after five.
Taylor Ellingson got the win by allowing just two hits and two walks. She struck out six and the one run allowed was unearned. The Cardinals also played strong defense behind her with just one error. Ellingson added three singles and three RBIs at the plate.
Alexandria 4, Big Lake 1
The Cardinals needed to beat Big Lake to get to that game against Bemidji and did so behind another gem from Ellingson.
The senior pitcher scattered five hits and no walks and kept Big Lake guessing all night. Ellingson struck out six.
Her offense gave her an early lead to work with after two runs in the first inning on a two-RBI single from Jana Roste. Junior Carly Dropik then hammered a two-run home run in the third to make it 4-0.
Big Lake got just one back in the sixth and couldn’t get any closer as the Cardinals kept their season alive.
Alexandria will play in Brainerd tonight against the Warriors. The winner of that game has to beat Becker twice to advance to the state tournament.
TRACK AND FIELD
The Alexandria boys’ track and field team competed in the 8AA prelims at Rocori on Wednesday with a few state positions up for grabs before the majority of the finals take place on Saturday.
John Vogeler, in his first season out for track, finished second in the long jump (21-10) to qualify for the state meet. Others advancing past the prelims and into the finals this Saturday in Thief River Falls include Vogeler in the 100-meter dash, Mitch Peck in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash. Joe Gorghuber advanced in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles and Mitchell Meier will race in the 300-meter hurdles finals.
Aaron Steidl didn’t quite advance to state but finished third in the shot put, while Logan Steidl was fifth with a personal-best throw of 47-2.75. Alec Wosepka was seventh in the pole vault final. Aaron Runge was fourth in the 3,200-meter run as well.
The Alexandria girls’ track and field team already has four who qualified for state after day one of the 8AAA meet on Wednesday.
Bethany Hasz finished first in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 10:33.26 and Megan Hasz was right behind in second at 10:35.77. Both earned their spot at state. JeAnna Miller did the same in the high jump with a leap of 5’2” to take second and qualify for state.
Wensia Johnson also earned her spot in the long jump at state. She leaped 18’1” in the prelims and hit that again in the finals. That was good for second after St. Cloud Tech’s Jodi Lipp hit 18-05.50 to set a new section record for the win.
Members of the Alexandria girls’ team that qualified for Saturday’s finals in Thief River Falls include Karly Betterman in the 100-meter hurdles and Johnson in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. Johnson took first in both of those sprint races and Betterman was sixth in the hurdles.
Madelyn Urman and Tayler Kaufman also both qualified for the finals in the 100 and 200-meter dashes with top-eight finishes in both events.
Both the Alexandria boys and girls are in first place in the team point standings after the prelims. The boys have 24.5 points, a half point ahead of Brainerd, while the girls have 34 team points compared to 18 for second-place Sartell-St. Stephen.
Osakis 11, Pierz 1 (F/6 innings)
The Osakis baseball team advanced in the winner’s bracket to face top-seeded and second-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral today after beating Pierz 11-1 on Wednesday night in the 6AA tournament.
The Silverstreaks (17-2) won in six innings to advance easily over the sixth-seeded Pioneers. Cathedral (21-1) did the same, winning 11-1 over Sauk Centre.
The two teams will now face off at Putz Field in St. Cloud with a 7 p.m. first pitch on Thursday.
Alexandria’s Brendan Holm and Levi Duwenhoegger came up just short in a close match in the 8AA doubles tournament on Wednesday, falling 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to St. Cloud Tech’s Andy Foley and Brady Roden on Wednesday.
The Cardinal duo started slow in the third and decisive set, falling behind 4-1. They were able to bounce back and take a 5-4 lead with Holm having a chance to serve out.
“Brendan has one of the biggest serves in the section,” head coach Dave Ronning said. “We figured we would be moving on to the next round, but I have to give their opponents credit as they were able to come up with some good returns and errors on our part put us in a bad spot that we were unable to fight back from.”
Foley and Roden won three straight games to take the set and match. That knocked Holm and Duwenhoegger out of the tournament after a back-and-forth battle.
“I was very happy with the way the guys played and kept fighting even when things looked bad,” Ronning said. “They played a good match and can hold their heads high knowing they gave it everything they had.”