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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Little things on the water can turn a day of fishing in a hurry. My father, Gary Morken, and longtime friend, Jacob Busiahn of Minneapolis, joined me to spend five days on Cedar Lake near Grand Rapids, Manitoba last week. We're always at the mercy of the weather up there. Any high winds mean we're limited to fishing walleyes on the Saskatchewan River with the waves being too big for our boat on the lake. Those winds kept us off the water much of Friday and Saturday, but not before a memorable day on Thursday chasing big northerns.
The Alexandria Junior Legion Black squad traveled to Perham this past weekend for three days of baseball and came away with a team championship. The team, made up of 16-year-olds, rebounded from a 3-0 deficit to win an 8-3 game for the title. Riley Nelson tossed a five-hit complete game to help them to the win. The semifinals victory saw a similar performance from Luke LeVassuer as he threw a complete-game in a 4-1 win over Aitkin. That came after Josh Wagner stymied New York Mills in a 13-2 win in the tournament opener.
Alexandria's Jeremy Knight is one of the top shooters in the state by average this season, so to say he came out of nowhere at the trap shooting state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake this past Saturday wouldn't be accurate. Knight had a 23.7 average out of a possible 25 during the regular season. He then eclipsed that average in the biggest shoot of the season on Saturday as he took second in the individual tournament with a 99 out of 100.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team gathered down the left-field line at Target Field after falling in 11 innings to Springfield in the Class A championship game last June. Head coach Derek Denny talked to his guys before players dispersed to chat with friends and family. I grabbed a few athletes for interviews and was struck by how well they handled a close loss in such a big game. They came up an out short of winning a state championship, but second place and playing a game in a professional ballpark wasn't a bad consolation prize.
Kensington's Emily Violet Kathleen Courrier had a good day on the water while fishing on a lake near Alexandria during a Saturday in early June. Courrier was using a worm on a hook and bobber when this nice largemouth bass hit her bait.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team waited 364 days to finish a job that started on June 20, 2016. Every championship game has a winner and a loser, but not every team suffers defeat like the Panthers did at Target Field a year ago. They were an out away from a storybook ending to a breakout season. Instead, Springfield rallied to tie it in the seventh and win 4-2 in the 11th.
The Alexandria baseball team had a four-run lead and were three outs away from advancing to the Class AAA state championship game on Monday. The Cardinals had hard-throwing righty Jake Drew on the mound to close things out. Hibbing needed a stunning rally, and that’s exactly what it got.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team thought all year about coming so close to winning a state championship in 2016. That drove them all spring. Now the Panthers will get their chance to go back and avenge that loss. Parkers Prairie won an 8-3 game over a hot-hitting Red Rock Central team on Friday in Jordan by doing what they often do. The Panthers got good pitching, timely hitting and didn’t commit an error on their way to securing their spot at Target Field in the Class A title game at 10 a.m. Monday.
The Alexandria baseball team forgot its helmets on the bus at the start of the Class AAA opener against St. Thomas Academy on Thursday. Call it an early learning experience after 42 years away from the state tournament. Their bats, though? Those were in fine form from the get-go as Alexandria dominated the Cadets to get the first win at the state tournament in program history.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team looked like a group that has been on the big stage of the Class A state tournament on Thursday. Wins aren’t supposed to come so easy at this time of year, but the top-seeded Panthers made it look easy in an 8-0 win over Pillager to advance to Friday’s state semifinals. “We’ve been here before,” senior center fielder Devin Glebe said. “We know we just have to be patient at the plate and make him throw pitches. That’s what we did, and it worked.”