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 Beetles could officially change ownership in the coming weeks and what that means for the future of Beetles baseball is starting to come into focus. Current Beetles owner Shawn Reilly was not able to find an individual or group to buy the team after putting it on the market this past year. That means the organization is currently in the process of being turned over to the Northwoods League (NWL). It's a process that is being slowed by legal matters. At the forefront of that contention is the almost $90,000 that the current ownership still owes to local vendors.
The Alexandria Blizzard took care of business against two teams below it in the division standings with a 4-1 win over Twin City and a 7-1 win over Minnesota this past weekend. The Blizzard used a three-goal second period to open up a comfortable lead against Twin City on Sunday afternoon. Ricky Seidel was the catalyst as he scored the opening goal in the first period and the final goal in the third. Tanner Duffney and Sergey Erileev added goals in the third as well to give Alexandria its 20th win of the season. Chase Wilson was strong in net for the Blizzard all weekend.
The Alexandria boys' hockey team ran into a hot team and came away with another close loss for the second straight night in a 1-0 game against Brainerd-Pillager-Pierz on Tuesday. Alexandria goaltender Ben Allen withstood a barrage of shots all night from the Warriors. Brainerd outshot the Cardinals 52-23, but Allen turned aside 51 of those to give his team a chance the whole night. That flurry of shots started in the first period as the Warriors put 17 shots on the net.
The Brandon-Evansville boys played without two starters for much of the first half on Tuesday night as Hillcrest Lutheran Academy built a big lead and never looked back in a 57-37 game. Senior post John Haseman had all five of his team's points in a 13-5 game when he went to the bench with three fouls. Senior Blake Satterlie started but only played four minutes before having to leave due to an illness.
The Parkers Prairie girls were pushed as hard as they have been all season through 28 minutes on Tuesday night. Then in the final eight minutes, the Panthers pushed back to come away with a 48-39 win over a 10-1 Osakis team. Parkers Prairie is beating teams by an average of 30 points per game this season. They are used to coasting toward the finish line in the second half, but that wasn't going to happen on this night.
Brandon-Evansville's John Haseman looked like he might be a one-man wrecking crew through the first half last Thursday night. The senior forward had 10 of his team's 13 points at the break and assisted on the Chargers' only other bucket. That wasn't a winning formula as Brandon-Evansville trailed Ortonville 19-13 at the half. There's no doubt his teammates knew that, and over the final 18 minutes, they did something about it in a 56-52 win over the Trojans. "I'm really impressed with the way the kids handled things down the stretch," head coach John Holsten said.
The Alexandria boys' hockey team took another step toward putting itself in the running for a Central Lakes Conference title with a 5-4 win over St. Cloud Tech last Thursday night. The Tigers came into the game as the only unbeaten team in the conference but trailed almost the whole way against the Cardinals. Alexandria jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first period despite taking five penalties.
The Brandon-Evansville girls' basketball team has climbed all the way out of an 0-5 hole to reach the .500 mark with its fifth straight win on Tuesday night. The Chargers trailed 8-0 against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy but turned that around for a 56-24 win. They led 19-12 at the half and expanded that with a 37-point second half behind a 45 percent shooting night from the field. "We had a slow start again," head coach Dick Simpson said. "We just missed shots and then we kind of caught fire. We had eight different players score, so that was nice.
To outsiders, it might have felt like the window for a deep run into the Class A state tournament had closed after the Parkers Prairie girls came up short against Ada-Borup in the section finals last winter. After all, the Panthers were losing two talented seniors in Tamara Schmidt and Kaylee Dorn. Any thoughts of Parkers Prairie taking a drastic step back were a bit premature, though.
The Osakis girls got the big win they were looking for this season in a 49-40 game at third-ranked Sauk Centre on Tuesday night. The Silverstreaks came into the game 8-1 but looking for that signature win that would really cement them as a section contender. That's exactly what they got against a Mainstreeters team that was 10-0 before running into Osakis. "I felt that from start to finish, this team played their best game of the year," head coach Pat Kalpin said of his girls. "We were able to build an early lead in the game and keep that lead the rest of the game.