Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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The Alexandria baseball team forgot its helmets on the bus at the start of the Class AAA opener against St. Thomas Academy on Thursday. Call it an early learning experience after 42 years away from the state tournament. Their bats, though? Those were in fine form from the get-go as Alexandria dominated the Cadets to get the first win at the state tournament in program history.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team looked like a group that has been on the big stage of the Class A state tournament on Thursday. Wins aren’t supposed to come so easy at this time of year, but the top-seeded Panthers made it look easy in an 8-0 win over Pillager to advance to Friday’s state semifinals. “We’ve been here before,” senior center fielder Devin Glebe said. “We know we just have to be patient at the plate and make him throw pitches. That’s what we did, and it worked.”
The third annual Douglas County Bow Fishing Challenge drew about the same number of boats as last year as teams took to waters all over the county in ideal conditions on the night of June 10. Thunderstorms came into the area on Sunday morning, but tournament organizer Durk Stark said boats were off the water by the time they hit. "Conditions were perfect," Stark said. "It was calm. Mostly the fish were in deeper water, and it was a lot of big fish."
Kenny Bitzan is a big part of the history of baseball in Millerville, and on Sunday he'll be posthumously honored by the Millerville Millers during a game against the Urbank Bombers. Bitzan lost his battle with brain cancer at age 59 in June of 2007. In 2014, he was inducted into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame after almost five decades of dedication to baseball in this area. Bitzan also played for the Urbank Goldtimers in the 35-and-older league, so honoring him this weekend in a game against Urbank was a natural fit.
EAGLES HORSESHOES STANDINGS AFTER WEEK FIVE Jim Syverson/Judy Carlson - 36 Jeff Thompson/Dick Baumann - 34 Rick Maxwell/Kia Larson - 32 Byrne Rising/Gary Kirckof - 30 Jerry Nelson/Darren Barten - 25 Dan Larson/Gary Stotesbery - 24 Shane Johnson/Justin Dummer - 22 Dillon Maxwell/Jim Rushford - 22 Kristy Brackett/Justin Schroeder - 15 Mary Botten/Jolene Olson - 13 Randy Mayer/Ryan Seibel - 11 Mike Thompson/Jeannie Thompson - 9 Brian Larson/Brad Mattocks - 4 Alica Tvrdik/Tammi Klug - 3
The Lakes Area Snowmen football team fell to 2-2 on the season after dropping a 34-6 game to the Twin Cities Rhinos this past Saturday at Alexandria Area High School. The Snowmen got a near 40-yard touchdown pass from Jonas Marshall to DJ Elliot, but that's all the offense they could muster. Head coach JJ Kern said it was a 13-6 game at halftime before the Rhinos struck for 21 in the second half on a day when Lakes Area came in a little shorthanded.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team has been ranked number one in the Class A polls for much of the season, and the Panthers were thought of the same way when the state tournament brackets came out on Saturday. Parkers Prairie (23-2) got the top seed in the field and will take on a 15-10 Pillager team in Thursday's opening round. The game will be played at the Mini Met in Jordan at 10 a.m.
The Alexandria baseball team has the third most wins of any team in the Class AAA state tournament at 19-5, and the Cardinals were seeded accordingly when the brackets were released on Saturday. Alexandria got the third seed and will play the final game of the day on Thursday at approximately 5:30 p.m. at Siebert Field on the University of Minnesota campus. The Cardinals, whose only other state appearances came in 1972 and 1975, will take on a St. Thomas Academy team that is entering its fifth state tournament in program history and first since 1983.
The Osakis trap shooting team added more shooters to their program this season to move from the Class 1A to the Class 2A level among the nine classes of competition. Even competing against some bigger programs, the Silverstreaks still qualified for their second straight state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake on June 24.
Day two of the 2017 Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria belonged to the Class 2A teams, and it didn’t get off to a good start. The rain that hammered the Alexandria area Tuesday morning made for a three-hour delay before action got started at 11:30. The lost time meant shooters were limited to one round of 50 targets, instead of the 100 clays that they were originally scheduled to shoot.