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 boys tennis team had its chances to come away with a Central Lakes Conference win on Tuesday but fell in a 4-3 match at the AAHS courts against Sartell-St. Stephen. "It wasn't the way we wanted to start conference play, but my hat is off to Sartell for coming from behind at two spots to claim the win," Alexandria head coach Dave Ronning said. "We split with Sartell last season, so we will have another shot at them at their place later in the season."
The Alexandria baseball team didn't waste time jumping into the heart of the Central Lakes Conference schedule as the Cardinals traveled to Brainerd to face perennially competitive Warriors team. Alexandria led 1-0 after the top of the third when Michael Kuhn singled and scored later in the inning on a fielder's choice off the bat of Reed Larson. The Warriors answered with two of their own in the bottom of the third and added four more over the next two innings to take a 6-1 game that gave 48-year head coach Lowell Scearcy his 700th career win.
The Brandon-Evansville baseball team had a rally fall one run short on Tuesday night as Hillcrest Lutheran Academy held on for a 9-8 win in Evansville. Both teams scored four runs in the seventh inning as the Comets (1-1) took a 9-4 lead off of B-E reliever Nick Thorstad. Brent Ferenczy and Nick Foss each had RBIs in the seventh.
The Alexandria boys basketball team made a second straight run to the Section 8AAA finals this season and honored many of the players responsible for that at its team awards banquet in late March. Senior guard Spencer Hockert was named the Cardinals MVP after earning All-Central Lakes Conference and academic all-state honors this season. Fellow senior guard Jaran Roste joined him on both of those lists.
West Central Area softball coach Vanessa McNamara has been impressed by her young team more and more each game this season. The Knights finished 2016 with a 10-16 record. They returned just one senior from that group in catcher Morgan Sanstead, but this team is 6-0 now after an 11-6 win at Brandon-Evansville on Tuesday night.
ADAPTED BOWLING Alexandria vs. Wayzata/Anoka Hennepin BASEBALL Alexandria at Brainerd, 5 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Hillcrest, 5 p.m. Osakis at Royalton, 5 p.m. Parkers Prairie at OTC, 4:30 p.m. Minnewaska at BOLD, 5 p.m. SOFTBALL
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 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 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.