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 Brandon-Evansville softball team ran into one of the top teams in Class A on Tuesday in the Section 6A playoffs and dropped a 10-1 game to New York Mills. The loss means the Chargers (17-7) will play West Central Area (17-6) in an elimination game at Minnewaska on Thursday at 1 p.m. The winner of that game has to beat New York Mills (21-2) twice to claim a section title.
Those who love to see a group of divers dropping into the decoys during a cold front remember better days in Minnesota. Wetlands have changed from 50 years ago. Food sources in bodies of water that were once critical staging areas for spring and fall migrations aren't what they once were, often because of turbid water conditions.
The Alexandria baseball team was trailing 2-0 through two innings against seventh-seeded Little Falls in the playoff opener on Tuesday, but there was no sense of panic with this group. The second-seeded Cardinals had stung the ball for some hard-hit outs. They felt it was just a matter of time before some of those hits would drop. They eventually did, 14 of them to be exact, as Alexandria (16-5) advanced through the winner’s bracket into the section semifinals with an 11-3 win over the Huskies (7-14).
In the hallways at Alexandria Area High School are large prints of current Cardinal athletes. A boy or girl from each team is represented during an action shot of them competing. Most are seniors who play a significant role for that specific program, whether it be for their ability on the field or their attitude off it. Senior Josh Molden has led in both those ways, which made him an easy choice to represent the Alexandria boys track and field team on that wall this year.
The final night of a big weekend at the Viking Speedway was capped off on Sunday by Elk Mound, Wisconsin driver John Kaanta winning the $3,000 check for taking the WISSOTA Late Models feature. Brainerd's Tim Johnson won the $1,500 Modified feature. It was part of three wins on the night for Johnson as he took the Super Stocks and Street Stocks features. Corey Storck won the Midwest Modifieds race and Jesse Waldorf was a winner in the Pure Stocks.
BASEBALL Alexandria vs. Albany, 8AAA playoffs, 7 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Upsala-Swanville, 6A playoffs, 5 p.m. West Central Area vs. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, 6A playoffs, 5 p.m. Ashby at Hancock, 6A playoffs, 5 p.m. SOFTBALL Brandon-Evansville vs. New York Mills, 6A playoffs at Minnewaska, 5:30 p.m.
A playoff game that the Alexandria softball team won 9-0 could have turned in the other direction pretty quickly Monday. St. Cloud Apollo leadoff hitter Kaija Ludewig laced the first pitch of the game for a double off Alexandria’s Kendra Hardy. Four batters later, the bases were loaded with one out.
Don Shaw has been racing at the Viking Speedway for almost 20 years and racked up plenty of wins during that time. Exactly how many, he wasn’t sure. “No idea,” he said with a laugh. “Not enough.” However many it is, the speedway veteran can add to the total and put $3,000 in his bank account after Saturday night. Shaw won the 35-lap WISSOTA Late Models feature in the first day of a doubleheader at the local oval this weekend.
The Ashby-Brandon-Evansville track and field teams will send eight different athletes to the Section 6A meet in Fergus Falls on June 1 after qualifying through the Sub-Section 22 meet in Wadena on Thursday. The top five individuals and top two relays qualify for the section meet. Senior Madison Krupke qualified in four events to lead the A-B-E girls to a third-place finish in the 10-team field. Krupke won the 300-meter hurdles in a personal-best 49.53 seconds. She was second in the 200-meter dash (28.72), second in long jump (15-4) and third in the triple jump (33-10).
The Alexandria baseball team heads into the playoffs with five straight wins after a big section victory at Bemidji to wrap up the regular season on Thursday. The Cardinals (15-5) had three pitchers combine for a one-hitter against the Lumberjacks (16-4) as they snapped a four-game winning streak for Bemidji in a 5-2 final.