Eric Morken is the sports 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 got a great round out of Natalie Amundson as the freshman led her team to a sixth-place finish in the 18-team field at the Alexandria Invite on Wednesday. Golfers were greeted by great weather and then went out and played to the conditions. Sarah Burnham of Wayzata shot a 3-under 69 to take medalist honors. Right behind her was Amundson, who finished with a 1-over 73. She came into the day golfing the No. 4 spot in the lineup but played like a No. 1 to help the Cardinals to a team score of 348.
The Osakis baseball team knew the margin of error was small against an undefeated Browerville team going into a match-up between two of the top teams in the Prairie Conference on Tuesday night. The Tigers came in ranked eighth in the latest Class A polls for a reason. Pitching is one of those and Austin Host made sure the Silverstreaks wouldn't be able to overcome a few critical errors in a 3-0 loss for Osakis. Host and Jordan Frederick locked up in a battle of two of the top pitchers in the conference.
Brad Willner has a good idea of the level of play in both Tier II and Tier III junior hockey. The former Alexandria head coach and general manager spent four seasons with the Blizzard from 2005-2009 before moving on to coach in Tier III with Granite City. He wrapped up his third season with the Lumberjacks this past winter with his team winning the NA3HL championship. Willner says he knows the kind of players that each league attracts and says Alexandria fans will still enjoy the product the Blizzard put on the ice at the Runestone Community Center next winter.
It wasn't the classic home run moment for Alexandria's Jordan Domine on Tuesday night. That feeling of connecting on the sweet spot and knowing it's gone from the moment the ball leaves the bat? That is not how the senior catcher recalled his three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning during the Cardinals home opener. "I thought it was just a little blooper out there to right field," Domine said. "I guess it just carried, and it kept going. Thanks to the two guys who got on base in front of me.
Alexandria Blizzard owners Chris and Mitri Canavati took over a franchise that was on the brink of folding or being relocated in 2005 because they wanted to see a junior hockey team thrive in Alexandria. Their teams did that on the ice as Alexandria set franchise records for wins in each of the last three seasons. That's why the decision to move the Tier II Blizzard team to Brookings and replace it with a Tier III team was made after a lot of thought and conversation. In the end, they felt like they had no choice but to make the move.
The Alexandria softball team got off to a slow start last week but is confident that's all it is after falling to 0-2 in a 4-3 loss to Sauk Rapids-Rice last Thursday night. The Cardinals watched a 3-0 lead disappear in one inning against the Storm. Taylor Ellingson was cruising through the first four innings before Sauk Rapids scored four runs with two outs in the fifth. The Storm had nine hits in the game and six of those came in that decisive inning.
The Alexandria Blizzard has caused team fits with a lot of good goaltending efforts throughout this season. Jacob Meyers and this Blizzard defense have been the backbone of a 40-win team. This past weekend, it was Meyers' counterpart who made the biggest impact on cutting Alexandria's season short with a 3-1 series loss to Austin in the opening round of the Central Division playoffs. The Bruins' Tyler Bruggeman looked nothing like the guy who got pulled to start the third period in a 5-0 loss in game two.
One would never know that Osakis shortstop Dani Chisholm had not hit a softball off a live pitcher in almost eight months after watching how she came out in the season opener on Tuesday. Chisholm was forced to sit out of volleyball and basketball with a torn ACL before being cleared to play softball by doctors in early April. She put in months of rehab to get back by the season opener against Royalton. It proved to be all worth it as she helped her team to a 13-1 win over the Royals in five innings. "It was crazy," Chisholm said of getting back on the field.
The Osakis girls' relay teams have proven to be a force in recent history and nothing seems to have changed through the first few meets this spring. The Silverstreaks boys' and girls' teams both finished in fifth place at the Pierz Invitational, but the girls won three of the relays to highlight the meet for Osakis. The 4x800 team of Brittney Sadlemyer, Alexa Hoffarth, Makayla Hoglin and Cali Sadlemyer got the girls started with a win in the first event. They finished in 10:32.41, more than 16 seconds ahead of their nearest competition from Pillager.
Brian Perleberg knew his Brandon-Evansville baseball team might take some lumps early in the season with a young roster, but 31 runs through the first two games probably isn't what he had in mind. The Chargers were left with room for improvement in all facets of the game after a 12-3 loss to Ottertail Central dropped them to 0-2 on the season last Thursday. Brandon-Evansville lost pretty much its entire pitching staff from last year, and it's shown early on this spring. "Right now, we're trying to find ourselves," Perleberg said.