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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In a tournament that for more than 35 years has been reserved for ballparks across the Twin Cities Area, this weekend was the Lakes Area’s time to shine. That’s exactly what the Urbank Goldtimers did as the topped-seeded group of the four area teams that hosted the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association’s (MSMABA) first two rounds of the state tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
The Moorhead football team demonstrated on one play in the section championship game last season what size up front and speed in the backfield can do. The Spuds handed the ball off to Devonte Delbrune on the very first play against Alexandria. Delbrune followed his blocks, broke down the right sideline and was gone — 74 yards for a touchdown in an eventual 43-11 win for Moorhead that punched its ticket to state.
The numbers add up for the Alexandria football team to have some high expectations coming into this season, though one would be hard-pressed to get players or coaches to say too much about that themselves. Senior-dominated teams tend to do well. Alexandria has more than 20 of them this year. Many of those are returning starters at important spots across both the lines and skill positions. Seems to be a good recipe for success.
Alexandria's Jerry Rose loves to test himself against good golfers by playing in some of the best amateur tournaments in Minnesota. It extends into the Resorters field where the 57-year-old always enters in the Men's Division against a predominantly younger crowd. He consistently shows he's good enough to compete by qualifying for the championship flight.
The Minnesota Senior Men's Amateur Baseball Association's state tournament is ready to take over ballparks all over the area this weekend with 32 teams from around the state ready to compete. For the first time since the league's inception in 1980, the MSMABA tournament will be played in the Alexandria area. That means games all weekend at ballparks in Alexandria, Carlos, Urbank, Ashby and Kensington.
Osakis' Chad Mulder goes into every Special Olympics event he competes in with a philosophy that having fun is more important than the finish. "All my friends always say that too," he said. The chance to compete — for Chad, 33, it's in swimming, golf and bowling throughout the year — is a victory in itself. But Chad can't deny the feeling of standing on that podium after a particularly strong finish.
Beau Louis Jones traveled all the way from Corvallis, Oregon to visit his Grandma and Grandpa Seesz on Lake Latoka while vacationing with his family in early August. It didn't take Beau long to take advantage of some fishing. He caught this nice largemouth bass off the dock on Latoka on his first day in the area on Aug. 8.
The planning stages for the third annual Youth Outdoor Activity Day at the Alexandria Shooting Park are winding down, and organizers are preparing for a bigger turnout than ever. The 2015 one-day event drew almost 1,400 kids and an estimated 2,500 people overall. That's up from 542 kids that took part in the inaugural 2014 youth day. New this year, the Viking Sportsmen and Douglas County Pheasants Forever are planning for more than 2,300 kids and upwards of 4,000 total people to come through from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 28.
The Carlos Cougars were six outs away from advancing to the state tournament before things got away from them in the eighth inning on Saturday. The second seed out of the Resorters East field led 2-0 at that point as they tried to hold on against Pelican Rapids in the Region 16C elimination game. Alexandria native Danny Kuhn dominated the Lakers through seven innings.
Waterfowlers in Minnesota don't have long to wait with the regular season opening on Sept. 24. Those hunters will have similar bag limits and season dates that were in place last year. "All signs point to this being a great year for duck and goose hunting," DNR waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts said in a release by the DNR last week. Here's a look at the waterfowl seasons and limits: Duck season will be open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones. • In the north zone, duck season is Sept. 24-Nov. 22.