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 success of the Youth Outdoor Activity Day at the Alexandria Shooting Park the past two summers has caught the attention of people well outside of Douglas County. That was evident by the statewide media that covered it last August, and the 1,391 kids who took part after 542 kids participated in the inaugural event in 2014. The free, five-hour event that is scheduled for August 28 of this year has become an example of how to give kids a taste of what the outdoors has to offer.
Starting on May 4, state parks in Central and Northwestern Minnesota will have sites opened up for reservations for the entire camping season. State parks in Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area were taking reservations as of yesterday, Tuesday, while parks in Northeastern Minnesota will start taking reservations on May 5. Lake Carlos State Park in Douglas County is included in the central region.
The Parkers Prairie softball team is off to a 4-4 start and has seen its fair share of ups and downs early this spring. The Panthers experienced one of the downs in Brandon last Thursday in a 5-0 loss to the Chargers. They collected just four hits in the game, but head coach John Noga attributed some of that to not seeing live pitching for a week after a doubleheader got rained out two nights earlier. Noga still believes he has a team that can accomplish some things come tournament time.
This is a look at how some area athletes are doing at their respective colleges or in their athletic careers. Similar pieces will run periodically through the fall, winter and spring seasons. Email email@example.com with any more detailed information on the athletes listed or the names of other athletes who are playing college sports that you would like to see included in future publications. • Former Alexandria goaltender and baseball player Ben Allen is currently in his first season with the baseball team at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Sara Jacobson issued a leadoff walk that was followed by a single during a scoreless game in the second inning against Parkers Prairie last Thursday. The freshman had put herself in this situation, and now it was on her to get them out of it. She reached back and struck out the next two batters before another walk loaded the bases. A few pitches later, she induced an easy ground ball to first that ended the threat.
The West Central Area softball team won in eight innings on Monday, beating Ortonville 11-10 after watching a sizable lead disappear earlier in the night. Izzy Wittbrodt started the final rally with a single and Morgan Sanstead followed with a walk in the top of the eighth. A stolen base got the lead runner to third before Courtney Lock singled in the game-winning run. Hailey Bennett made sure of that as she came in to pitch the final frame, allowing just one hit before Kaitlyn Sanstead made a back-pedaling catch in center field to end the game.
The Minnewaska softball team split a doubleheader against Melrose on Monday, winning game two 16-9 after dropping the opener 11-9. Hitting was contagious in the nightcap for the Lakers as they collected 11 hits and scored in every inning but the second and the fourth. Ashley Bakko, Abby VerSteeg, Kaitlyn Lange and Alisha Vigil all drove in two runs for Minnewaska. VerSteeg led the charge with three hits, a walk and two runs scored. Sophomore
The Parkers Prairie softball team scored six runs through the first two innings to take a lead it never relinquished in a 10-4 win over Wadena-Deer Creek on Monday night. The Panthers got a lot of production throughout the top and bottom of their order. Kendra Thoennes had three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored out of the second spot in the lineup, while Kathryn Burquest was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs from the third spot.
The Ashby baseball team outhit Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 10-6 but fell on the scoreboard in a 5-4 game to the Comets. Eric Amundson gave the Arrows a good showing on the mound. The senior gave up just two hits and no earned runs with one walk and one strikeout during four innings of work. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles. Christian Koefod took the loss for Ashby after lasting three innings. He walked six, struck out three and allowed five runs.
The New York Mills baseball team scored six runs through the first three innings and put things away with a six-run fifth in a 12-2, five-inning win over Brandon-Evansville on Monday. Sam Hendrick got the job done for the Eagles on the mound as he collected the win. Robbie Juul took the loss for the Chargers on a night when walks and four errors hurt Brandon-Evansville's cause.