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Monday, October 21, 2002
Craigs Corner 10/21/02 - 10/27/02
Thursday, October 21st, 2002
The State Class A Girls Tennis Tournament enters the individual phase of competition on Friday morning and the three qualifiers from West Central Area will be on the courts.

Singles player Kasey Maier squares off against Melissa Kampa from St. Cloud Cathedral at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Nicolett Tennis Center. At 10:30 a.m. Megan Shuck and Megan Clark, who took runner-up honors at their section meet, will take on Jean Heise and Alison Thorsness of Foley. We wish the Lady Knights the best of luck at state.

A correction to the All-Northern Division Volleyball teams. Former Hillcrest standout Sharon Schmidt received first team recognition. The original information came with all 3 Lady Spartans being selected to the second team. The two second team members are freshman Sally Week and sophomore Lisa Ripplinger. FFCC is participating in the State MCCC Tournament at Northland Community College on Friday and Saturday.

Remember, if you are attending any playoff games this week, passes no longer are accepted. Once the Section and State competition begins, regular season passes for your local teams, are not accepted.

The Spartan football team will play its final game of the season on Saturday in Brainerd against Central Lakes Community College. The Spartans will miss their sophomores. It's a small group numbers wise, but some quality kids and quality players. We want to wish the best to Darryl Hall, Tomorrio Anderson, Ben Brimhall, Charlie Woida, Shawn McPherson, Brandon Goltz, Adam Baker, Ahmed Warsame, Justin Richter, Adam Wiechmann, Luke Rowe, Chad Campion, Mike Evans, John Eckberg and William Gainey. A state title as freshmen is something they'll never forget!! Good Luck Guys!

Monday, October 21st, 2002
What a great start to the Fall Classic! Games one and two were real fan pleasers! The Giants prevailed in the opener, 4-3 and the Angels fought back for an 11-10 win in game two. Now, three games at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco.

Barry Bonds homered in his first ever World Series at bat. How great is that?!?! It's the way it should be. He has hit two monstrous home runs in the series.

20-year old phenom Francisco Rodriguez is now 5-0 in post season play. What a tremendous story he is.

The two Wild Card teams are fighting it out for baseball supremacy. A slap in the face to the game? Perhaps if you're a purist. It doesn't bother me and I consider myself pretty close to a purist. With the number of teams in each league now, having four playoff teams, including the wild card, in each league, doesn't bother me. These two teams are playing the best baseball right now. It has been an exciting post season.

You have the Angels, who have never won a Fall Classic, never played in one in their previous 41 seasons, and the Giants, who haven't won the series since 1954.

The TV ratings may be hurt because the East Coast fans won't watch the games. That's what they're saying. Why not watch? Are they that stuck up out East, where if you don't have a team in it from your part of the country you're not going to watch? Come on. It's the World Series. One of the greatest players of our time is on the biggest stage his sport has to offer. Sit back, relax and enjoy it! I still say that the Angels will win it. I said in five games to start with, but I wouldn't mind seeing this baby go seven!! Heat up the Mexican dip!!! Let's Play Ball!
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Craigs Corner 10/14/02 - 10/20/02
Wednesday, October 15th, 2002
Janna Davis has decided not to play this season for the NDSU Women's basketball team. The 2000 Fergus Falls High School graduate told coach Amy Ruley that she was leaving the team for personal reasons.

Janna played 22 games for the Lady Bison as a sophomore last year, averaging 8.1 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. The 6-3 forward will be missed in the NDSU lineup.

Janna is a great team player, a very skilled athlete and an extremely hard worker. She has been very dedicated through the years to making herself a better student-athlete and has done everything possible to put herself into a position where she could contribute at the Division II level. More importantly, she is a very nice person and I hope that everything will work out for her. I know I'll miss following her on the basketball court, but knowing Janna, this was a well thought out decision and was made for the best of reasons, not only for herself, but for her team.

Spartan Men's Basketball coach Dave Retzlaff received more bad news on Wednesday. Freshman swing man Dusty Radke has decided not to play this season. Radke had extensive knee surgery last season and has been hurt several times over the past two years. The former West Central Area standout gave it a good try, but it was obvious to him that the pain he was experiencing would be too much to bear during the rigors of a college basketball season. Retzlaff says he hopes that with rest and rehabilitation to strengthen the knee, that perhaps Radke would be able to make an attempt at playing again next season. Last week, freshman guard Kade Coles dislocated an ankle and will miss six to eight weeks of the season. Practice started on Tuesday for FFCC.

Two senior members of the Otter girls soccer team, Karoline Brause and Anna Becklund, both among the top five scorers in the state in Class A girls soccer, have received All-State recognition. Brause was named first team all-state and Becklund received honorable mention all-state. The top-seeded Otters will attempt to qualify for the State Class A tournament with a win over St. Cloud Cathedral on Thursday afternoon at the Middle School soccer field.

Junior Kim Lindblom lost her semifinal match in singles play at the Section 8AA girls tennis tournament, ending her hopes of a state tournament appearance. She lost 6-1, 6-2 to Alex Gruska of St. Cloud Apollo.

Monday, October 14th, 2002
The Spartan Men's basketball team begins practice on Tuesday ... but already, they have been impacted by an injury.

Freshman guard Kade Coles from Hillsboro, North Dakota, suffered a dislocated ankle in a pick-up game on Wednesday of last week and will be out from six to eight weeks.

"This really hurts us," said head coach Dave Retzlaff. "Kade has such quick hands and is so quick defensively. He would have made quite an impact on the perimeter for us. He's also a quick shooter and has a very nice shot. We'll certainly miss him for the next couple of months and of course it puts him behind the rest of the team."

Coles will get his cast off in six to eight weeks and will then have to begin conditioning. Coach Retzlaff feels like he may be ready to go by the time the division season gets underway in January. Hopefully the healing process with be fast! Retz is very excited about the way Coles plays the game and is very disappointed for him.

The Spartan home football game on Saturday with Rochester has been changed to a 2:30 kick-off. Originally the game was set to begin at three o'clock, but the cold weather and concerns about losing daylight early have prompted the teams to move the starting time up. The two teams split their games last season with FFCC winning their matchup with the Yellowjackets in the State Championship game. This is the final home game of the season for FFCC. They have a road contest at Central Lakes remaining on October 26th, but have no hope of a post season spot this year.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, October 8, 2002
Craigs Corner 10/07/02 - 10/13/02
Tuesday, October 8th, 2002
The High School soccer playoffs begin on Saturday for both Fergus Falls teams. The girls go in as the top seeds in Section 8A and the boys, who have won five in a row, are the fourth seeds in Section 8AA.

Last year the two home teams played back-to-back playoff games at the Middle School soccer field. This year, the same thing will happen on Saturday with the Otter girls playing either Minnewaska Area or East Grand Forks at 11:00 a.m. and the boys playing St. Cloud Apollo at 2:00 p.m. A reminder for you fans ... NO PASSES will be accepted now that the playoffs have arrived. Tickets will be six dollars for adults and four dollars for students for EACH GAME. Still quite a value!!!

The Otter girls boast the leading goal scorer in the state in Class A, Karoline Brause, who has scored 20 goals. Brause and Anna Becklund are tied for fifth in the state with 25 total points. They are also the first two players recognized on the list of top players from independent teams in Section 8A. Joining Brause and Becklund in earning that recognition are Amanda Jensen and Berit Spidahl.

The Otter boys have the goalkeeper with more shutouts, 11, than any other goalie in the state. Cameron Rittenour also has a Goals Allowed average of 0.69, ranking him sixth among Class 2A goalkeepers.
Josh Whipple is tied for 24th place in state scoring with 12 goals and 6 assists for 18 points. Matt Rau is tied for 35th place and Matt Klein is tied for 43rd.

The Fergus Falls Quarterback Club will meet this Thursday only at the Sandpiper Restaurant. The meeting, which is open to all Otter football fans, will begin at seven o'clock on Thursday.

Joe Mays was incredible in game one of the ALCS. Only a 2-out fielding error by Cristian Guzman prevented Mays from hurling a shutou on Tuesday night as the Twins beat the Angels 2-1. Everyday Eddie got the save and now Rick Reed, who pitched a complete game gem against Anaheim earlier this season, will get the ball against Ramon Ortiz in game two. Look for the Twins to take a 2-0 lead heading to the West Coast on Friday for game three.

Monday, October 7th, 2002
Baseball fans are in for a great post season. The four favorites in Division Series play have been eliminated. The four underdogs have advanced to the two League Championship Series.

The Twins and Angels begin the ALCS tonight at the Metrodome. Neither of these teams had a position player with playoff experience on their roster when these playoffs began. The Twins only had two pitchers, Rick Reed and Mike Jackson on their playoff roster with any post season experience. Anaheim had only Kevin Appier, I believe.

Minnesota has home field advantage for as long as they stay alive. The Angels win over the Yankees allows the Twins as Central Division champions to host the first two games and the last two games, if necessary, in the ALCS, even though Anaheim won five more games during the season. The simple reason is this: the Angels are the wild card team in the American League and the Wild Card team cannot host a League Championship Series. They could, however, host the World Series this year. Home field in the World Series rotates between the two leagues every year. I like the idea that was thrown out for discussion at the All-Star break where the league that wins the All-Star game gets to have home field advantage for the World Series. That would make the All-Star game the type of showcase event it was for years. It needs a boost and that would be it.

Speaking of wild card teams, how about the Giants!?!?! Knocking off Atlanta after trailing 2-1 in the series and having to wrap it up at Turner Field. The Braves have been in the post season every year since 1991, when the Twins beat them in the World Series. Having baseball's best player in the League Championship Series is good for the game. Every time Barry Bonds strides to the plate, there is great anticipation in his at bat. He is just fun to watch at the plate. The guy is so tuned in to every pitch. He hit .370 this year, after belting 73 home runs last year. How many times has it happened in baseball history where a previous years home run champ wins the batting title the next year or vice-versa? Not many. Of course there have been 15 Triple Crown winners in the history of the game, but none since the Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski won the American League Triple Crown in 1967. You have to go all the way back to Ducky Medwick of the Cardinals in 1937 in the National League. The Triple Crown goes to a player who leds his league in batting average, home runs and RBI in the same season. Bonds is a player who could do it, even at his age. It will be fun to see him play in the NLCS and maybe the World Series.

Well, those of you who read my stuff or listen to me on the radio, or see me with Kris Svingen and Dave Retzlaff on TV, know my picks for the World Series. I like the Twins and the Cardinals to win their respective league pennants. The Twins in 7 and the Cards in 7. These should be two entertaining series.

Minnesota beat Anaheim five out of nine during the regular season. The only starting pitcher that seemed to give them trouble consistently was (surprise) their lefty. Jarrod Washburn was tough on the Twins this year, beating them twice. He is slated to pitch game three, the first game at Anaheim on Friday night. That would mean he would be available for either a sixth or seventh game, depending on what Mike Scioscia would decide to do at that point of the series.

The Twins need to setup their rotation to allow for two starts for Milton and Radke if games 6 and 7 become necessary. That means an adjustment to what they have done so far and I don't know if Ron Gardenhire will do that. It sure would be nice to win in four or five and have your rotation fall into line for the Series. We can always hope!! Well, enjoy the playoffs!! I know I will!
Posted By Craig Olson
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