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 girls golf team has its largest team to work with in 10 years with 21 players out, highlighted by an experienced group that led the Cardinals to a conference title a year ago. Alexandria lost just one letterwinner from that team in Macyn Hagen. The Cardinals return eight letterwinners, six of which are seniors on a team that's ready to compete in the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8AAA fields again.
The Alexandria boys golf team returns quite a bit of talent from a team that finished second in the Central Lakes Conference and fourth at the Section 8AAA meet a year ago. Noah Boraas and Hunter Rebrovich were freshmen on that section team, and Will Odland was a junior who went on individually to finish tied for 14th at the Class AAA state meet. All three were All-Central Lakes Conference players a year ago who figure to be fixtures again this spring.
The Alexandria baseball team is healthy right now and hopes to stay that way after suffering setbacks before the season even started a year ago. Ace pitcher Jake Drew went down with an elbow injury leading up to the season opener in 2016 and ended up having Tommy John Surgery to repair the damage. "We always dealt with injuries pretty much from day one last year," third-year head coach Jake Munsch said. "We're excited to have our team healthy heading into the season."
The Osakis baseball team saved its best for last in the season opener on Thursday, but the damage had already been done in the early innings at Minnewaska. The Lakers opened up a new stadium on the high school site and jumped on the Silverstreaks early. They took a 9-1 lead after four innings before holding on in the seventh for the 9-7 win.
Morris hosted the first outdoor track and field meet of the spring for many as Minnewaska, Osakis and West Central Area all finished in the top five on both the boys and girls sides. Morris Area won both portions of the meet, taking the girls title with 135 points and the boys with 139.33. Minnewaska (128) was second on the girls side, while Osakis (110) was third and WCA (48) fifth. The Silverstreaks were second on the boys side with 91 points, while Minnewaska (81) and WCA (75.33) rounded out the top three. GIRLS RESULTS
The Brandon-Evansville softball team jump started its season with an 11-7 win over Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley on Tuesday that featured the first career win for Mikenna Pattrin from the circle. Pattrin, an eighth grader, took over in the fourth inning for starter Sadie Roers and tossed the final 3 1/3 innings. She surrendered just one hit and worked her way around four walks, while striking out two. Pattrin's first out recorded came with runners in scoring position and two outs in the fourth as she got a strikeout to end the threat.
The Minnesota State High School League announced its competitive section assignments for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons recently, with a number of Osakis programs feeling the effects. Athletic programs from Alexandria and Brandon-Evansville were unchanged. Every two years, the MSHSL reclassifies teams into new competitive sections based on enrollment numbers that are submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education.
I woke up the morning of March 26 at my in-laws' house in Wood Lake and looked outside. Clouds and a light mist. Unfortunately, the forecast was spot on this time. My father-in-law, Mike, knew I wanted to head to the hunting land to scout for turkeys and possibly take down my last deer stand. He returned from uptown at around 9 a.m. and declared that it wasn't a very good day for walking along the river. In my world, it's always a good day for that.
Bills to fund the DNR and regulate other environmental policies were passed in the House and Senate last week in Minnesota, but the final bill could face trouble if it reaches Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota House environment finance bill passed by an 80-53 vote last Thursday after the Senate passed its version by a 36-30 vote hours earlier. A committee co-chaired by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, and Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, will likely be formed this week, Ingebrigtsen said, to work out the language of a final bill. BUFFER LAW A HOT TOPIC
The Brandon-Evansville baseball team followed up a state tournament run two years ago with having to rebuild during the 2016 season. The Chargers finished 5-16 a year ago and 3-9 in the Pheasant Conference. They lost six letterwinners from that group as B-E looks to try and improve with a young group.