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 had three players named All-Pheasant Conference as senior Carlie Steffenson and juniors Kinsley Randt and Megan Kokett earned the honor. Ashby had five players named all-conference as the Arrows' Paige Nelson was named Pitcher of the Year and Madison VanSanten was named the conference MVP. Ashby head coach Kandace Norby was also named the Pheasant Coach of the Year. Junior third baseman Jeannette Evavold, sophomore first baseman Cassandra Jordan and senior catcher Meg Roley joined their Ashby teammates on the all-conference team.
Becka Sadlemyer was named most valuable after anchoring another state champ By Eric Morken firstname.lastname@example.org The Osakis girls' track had a lot of athletes to recognize after wrapping up one of its most impressive seasons in recent history. The Silverstreaks finished 11th at the Class A state meet this spring but showed off their overall depth with a third-place finish at the State True Team meet.
The Alexandria Post 87 Legion baseball team proved itself against a lot of quality competition at the Decker College World Series Legion tournament last week by going 4-1 against opponents from all over the country. Alexandria's only loss came in a 7-2 game against perennial power Midwest City, Oklahoma on Saturday. Midwest City came into the tournament with a 26-3 record and had 10-runned every team it played in pool play before meeting Alexandria. Post 87 showed off a little bit of everything in the games prior to that. They battled back from a 6-2 deficit in the seventh inning.
The Brandon-Evansville baseball team named Nolan Bartholomew its team MVP at its season-ending awards banquet recently. Bartholomew, a senior, tossed two no-hitters on the mound this season, including one in the Section 6A playoff opener against Eagle Valley. He was one of three Brandon-Evansville players who were named All-Pheasant Conference, along with fellow seniors Billie Juul and Tom Bosek.
The Osakis baseball team had a lot of hardware to hand out and picking team-award winners couldn't be easy on a team loaded with good players up and down the lineup. Doug Zimmel is one of those and he was recognized for that by being named the team MVP and the Offensive Player of the Year. It was part of a long list of honors for the senior. He shared the Prairie Conference MVP Award with Browerville's Mitch Heid and was also voted all-state, along with teammate Jordan Frederick. Zimmel led the state in hitting this season with a .581 average.
The Osakis softball players proved throughout this season that they weren't going to let anyone put limitations on what they could accomplish. The Silverstreaks lost a lot of quality players over the last couple years but regrouped and finished as the subsection runner-up this spring. That was part of a long list of accomplishments for a team that finished 19-4 and with a share of the Prairie Conference title. "I have never felt a sense of fulfillment from a season like I do with this group," head coach John Stigman said at the team's season-ending awards picnic.
The Osakis boys' and girls' golf teams named Paul Hartmann and Annalise Savageau as their respective team MVPs from this past season. Savageau was an all-state performer and one of four Osakis golfers to be named all-conference on the girls' side. Peyton Garcia, Katelyn Foster and Ariel Chalmers joined her on that list. Foster was named the most improved golfer for the girls. She's part of a group that should all be back next year with no seniors in this year's varsity lineup.
New University of Minnesota head men's basketball coach Richard Pitino seems completely at ease in settings like the one he found himself in at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum on Monday evening. Pitino joined six other University of Minnesota coaches, along with Athletic Director Norwood Teague, in Alexandria as part of the second leg of the Gophers Road Trip Tour. Pitino was how he has been described at most of these stops. He got a lot of laughs during his short time on the stage, while also touching on common topics like recruiting and the current state of the program.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague says his excitement over new men's basketball coach Richard Pitino has only increased after watching him work over the last two and a half months. Teague didn't hide the fact that he wanted a relentless recruiter when looking for Tubby Smith's replacement. Since taking the job, Pitino has proven to be just that as he has signed four players in a short amount of time and is working hard to land some top-100 recruits from Minnesota and across the country in 2014. "He's exceeded expectations," Teague said.
The Alexandria Blue Anchors are threatening to surpass a number they want nothing to do with. Alexandria featured a pitching staff that finished the season with a 6.46 team ERA in 2012. Things have gotten even worse through the first 21 games this year as the Blue Anchors left Willmar with a team ERA of 7.17 after a 9-6 loss on Wednesday. At the center of that is an inability to throw strikes for a staff that has issued 116 walks and 30 hit batters. "Those numbers are astounding," manager Al Newman said on Wednesday morning. "They're laughable. Again, I'm not saying the guys aren't trying.