|Monday, May 27, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 05/27/02 - 06/02/02|
|Saturday, June 1st, 2002|
You've no doubt heard the expression "Defense Wins Championships". Well, ammend that to say "Pitching and Defense Wins Championships". Just ask the Otter baseball team.
Phil Link's team has played exceptional defense all season long and his pitchers have turned in some tremendous performances, especially at playoff time. Today, in Alexandria, pitching a defense made a huge impact as the Otters held the top-seeded Cardinals to just one run on twelve hits over nineteen innings of play.
Fergus Falls had to win two games in Alexandria to advance to the Section 8AAA championship series against Sauk Rapids. Coach Link called on Tyler Gagner, his junior righthander, to pitch the first game. Gagner responded by allowing just one run on six hits. Tyler is one of those kids that doesn't get himself in too much trouble on the mound. He throws strikes. He and all of the Otter pitchers have a lot of confidence in the defense behind them, and they should. The Otter defense has been extraordinary, playing many errorless games throughout the season.
Senior Mick Hanan turned in the game of his life in the championship, throwing five innings of no-hit ball and holding the Cardinals to only six hits in nine innings. Mick, like the rest of the players on this Otter baseball team, love to play this game. They seem to thrive on situations like the one they faced today. They have executed the fundamentals of the game to near perfection, including base running and bunting. When you consistently execute the fundamentals of the game and don't give your opponents extra outs, resulting in extra opportunities, you are going to put your team in a position to do what the Otters have done. Win a title!
Don't miss the double header Tuesday at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park as the Otters face Sauk Rapids in a best of three championship series to decide the winner of the Section 8AAA baseball title. The games are scheduled to get underway at one o'clock.
Tuesday, May 29th, 2002
Summer activities will begin all around the area next week. In addition to the beginning of baseball, softball, soccer and summer swimming, several other sports have their camps getting underway.
The Fergus Falls Babe Ruth baseball teams have been somewhat restructured. The American Legion Post 30 is now sponsoring both teams, the Reds and the Blues. Paul Hadland is acting as team manager for both teams. The Blues will be coached by Justin Arneson and Ben Brimhall while the Reds will be coached by Nate Brown and Troy Wasiloski. The Babe Ruth tryouts were held last week and the teams will be selected on Thursday night with games beginning next Monday.
Kellen Shebeck and Nate Huls will be coaching the VFW Post 612 baseball team this summer. Their schedule will be released shortly and the team selection will also be announced.
Several traveling youth soccer teams are getting their seasons rolling, too. Many have their first games under their belts or will be playing this week or next. There are six boys teams and five girls teams playing a competitive traveling schedule this summer.
Keep watching www.craigolsonsports.com for rosters, schedules, scores and information from area teams. Also, if you have any information on teams from our coverage area please pass it on to us. We can't cover it if we're not aware of it!
Les Boyum's football camp is coming up next week at the Battle Lake field. The Drills and Skills camp is going to be held from June 3rd through June 6th from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day. The camp is for those students entering 7th through 12th grades this fall. The cost is $55.00 per player, $45.00 if there is more than one from a family. For more information you can contact Al Boyum at (218)864-8473. Registrations will be taken at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, also.
Monday, May 27th, 2002
Thumper Pond, the newest golf course in Ottertail County, is holding a Grand Opening celebration this coming Saturday, June 1st. Events and drawings will be held throughout the day on Saturday.
They'll have a mini 18 hole course setup on their putting green from noon to 4:00 p.m. for a putting contest and will be serving free lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Club Pro Tom Beaudry invites all golfers in the area to stop by sometime during the day. It will be an opportunity to visit and see what the facilities have to offer.
Those in attendance will have a chance to win $5,000.00, a boat and a golf cart. Tee Times are being taken now at 1-877-294-7981. It's a picturesque setting for a golf course, and the finishing hole is a great one! A very nice clubhouse and reception area, too, which has already hosted many wedding receptions and other functions. Should be a fun day. Let's hope for the great weather to continue!
I spoke to Luke Hansen at his graduation open house over the weekend and he is definitely having surgery on his ailing right shoulder, but not until after he plays in the Lions All-Star Football game the last weekend in June. The former Hillcrest three-sport athlete, is attending FFCC but will not be ready to play football this fall. He should be recovered enough from the surgery to play Spartan basketball. The shoulder has bothered Luke since the football season, which makes the year he had for the Comets even more impressive. He's an outstanding athlete, gifted with some great speed and a competitive nature. We wish him well as he prepares for his surgery.
|Monday, May 20, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 5/20/02 - 5/26/02|
|Wednesday, May 22nd, 2002|
Dean Woodman of Fergus Falls was recently selected by the Minnesota Twins for the "Totally Awesome Coaches Award" and will be recognized at the Twins game against Anaheim on Thursday, May 30th at the Metrodome.
The award recognizes coaches of youth sports in Minnesota. Woodman coaches the summer ball teams in Underwood, OTC baseball, and junior high football in Underwood. He will be recognized at a pre-game ceremony with the Twins players and coaches, and he will receive a Twins jacket.
In partnership with 3M and the Hennepin County Community Health Department, the Twins designed the award to honor coaches that, beyond teaching the fundamentals of their game, excel at promoting and demonstrating positive character traits and lifestyles to their players.
Congratulations to coach Woodman and thanks for making a difference in the lives of our youth!
Thursday, May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. at the Fergus Falls Community College baseball field, Babe Ruth tryouts will be held for 13, 14 and 15 year olds.
Luke Johnston, a 2000 FFHS graduate, won the MVP Award for the University of Wisconsin-Superior soccer team. Luke is a sophomore. Congratulations, Luke!
Tuesday, May 21st, 2002
Several things from over the weekend to bring you up to date on. This is a busy time of the year! It's great to see the sunshine for our spring athletes.
Aaron Olson had another great weekend for Minnesota State Mankato, and the Mavericks had a tremendous NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. Olson was 6-for-15 with two doubles and a home run. He was also named to the all-tournament team as a third baseman.
Mankato won their first game on Friday, a 17-16 slugfest with Nebraska-Omaha, and then played Central Missouri State, the host team and the #3 team in the country, and beat them 12-11. That loss snapped their 45-game home winning streak. Central Missouri came back through the losers bracket and beat the Mavs twice on Sunday, 7-3 and 10-6 to win the Regional and move on to the National Division II Tournament. Some exciting baseball and Aaron's dad, Robbie Olson, even fit a couple of rounds of golf into the weekend!
A former Spartan, Tim Nelson of Frazee, who pitched for Kent Bothwell's teams in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, just completed his junior year as a pitcher for Jamestown College. The Jimmies finished second in the regular season in the DAC-10 conference and third in the conference tournament. Tim had a 3-0 record as a starter and reliever for the Jimmies. He had a strong performance in a loser-out game in the conference tournament, pitching eight innings in their 13-6 win over Dickinson State. He struck out eight, walked two and gave up three earned runs. Coach Tom Hager said, "We needed Tim to come up big for us and he did. He came in throwing strikes and when you do that you're going to be successful."
The MN/ND All Stars won the MYAS/AAU State Qualifier this past weekend in Coon Rapids. The team crushed the Eastside Basketball and Central Lakes Conference All Stars and beat a strong Magic Black team by 12 points. Team members this weekend were Matt Draxten and Mitch Leifert of Fergus Falls, Brent Durensky of Barnesville, Morgan Ranstrom, Nate Fitterer and Joe Hutchins of Fargo Shanley, and Thomas Dryburgh of Fordville, ND. The team competed at Division I, the highest level, all year and finished the spring with a record of 13-4, winning championships in two of the five tournaments they played in. This summer they will hit the road for two weeks participating in Mr. Basketball tournaments in Sioux Falls, SD and Kearney, NB. They will also play in the Hoosier Shootout in Indianapolis, IN and the Kentucky Hoopfest in Madisonville, KY. Those two tournaments showcase some of the top high school talent in the United States.
Fergus Falls hockey player Jake Axell played for the Thief River Falls Thieves in the North American Pepsi Cup "AAA" Midget Hockey Tournament over the weekend. The Thieves won the tournament with five wins in less than 48 hours. They beat the Duluth Ice Dogs 4-1 in their first game and followed it up with a 4-2 win over the Wisconsin Fire. The third game was a 10-0 win over the Dakota Starz. They beat the Dakota Select 17's 5-0 and took the Ice Dogs again in the title game 2-1. The Thieves tied the game at 1-1 with 1:51 remaining and avoided overtime by scoring the game winner with just five second left in regulation. Jake had 2 goals and 7 assists as the Thieves outscored their opponents, 25-4, outshooting them 180 to 58. The tournament was for Midget players born in the year 1985.
Monday, May 20th, 2002
I was extremely impressed with the Spartan baseball team on Sunday as they beat Itasca for the MCCC State Championship. Their pitching, defense and offensive execution were tremendous. They are to be congratulated on an outstanding 29-12 season.
Kent Bothwell's team played errorless ball in their two championship series games against the Vikings, a 1-0 eight-inning loss and a 7-1 victory. They also turned in some great plays, including a diving catch of a line drive at second base by Ethan Soland which he alertly turned into a double play, and a diving catch in right field by Benji Kiefer.
The team also received some superb pitching, with five complete game performances out of five different pitchers. Aaron Welle was superb in the 1-0 loss, but the Spartans were handcuffed by Ryan Theros and Asa Patterson. In the second game, Jared Olson walked only one batter, with two outs in the seventh, and was in command of his pitches. Both Welle and Olson did a great job changing speeds and using a mixture of pitches that kept Itasca guessing and off-balance throughout the double header.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the day to me was the perfect execution, time after time, of the lost art of bunting. The Spartans were incredible in laying down bunts. In the second game alone they had five successful bunts, four for base hits and one that went as a sacrifice. I don't remember them missing an opportunity. Making it even more impressive was the fact that four different players were layin' it down! Coach Bothwell and his players are to be commended for their hard work at perfecting their bunting abilities. In this day and age, not many major league players can successfully lay down a bunt, but the Spartans can bunt!
What a thrill for Justin Arneson, Charlie Woida, Aaron Welle and Brandon Goltz. The four Spartans were members of two state champions. They all played for the Spartan football team which beat Rochester for the state title in November, and now for the baseball team, which captured just the second state title in school history and the first since 1971! They'll have some great memories of their days at FFCC and some great stories to tell their kids and grandkids!
Ridgewater was the Region XIII qualifier for the NJCAA Division III National Baseball Tournament in Batavia, New York. The Warriors lost 4-2 and 5-4 in the double elimination tournament, but represented Minnesota very well. They were the second Ridgewater sports team to go to New York this school year for National Tournament action. The Lady Warriors made a second consecutive trip to the NJCAA Division III Womens Basketball Tournament in March. Carrie Ogdahl's team finished in sixth place, losing to DuPage in the first round 62-54, beating Hudson Valley 64-59 in the consolation semifinals and falling to Suffolk 58-37 in the consolation championship game. Northland Community College from Thief River Falls finished as runner-up with a 66-49 loss to DuPage in the title game. The Lady Pioneers had won their first round game 60-37 over Manchester and their semifinial contest 77-54 over Montgomery. They finished the season with a 28-3 record, the best in the history of the school.
|Tuesday, May 14, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 05/13 - 05/19|
|Saturday, May 18th, 2002|
Only one time in the history of FFCC baseball have the Spartans ever won the state title. It happened in 1971 and Dave Retzlaff, the legendary Spartan Men's basketball coach, was the baseball coach that season.
The 1971 tournament was a four-team, single elimination event that was played at the Fergus Falls Middle School baseball field. The Spartans rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Willmar in the semifinals 4-3, scoring one run in the sixth and three in the eighth. They were then able to stave off a ninth-inning comeback by the Warriors and advance to the championship game against Lakewood Community College. Lakewood defeated Austin 12-4 in the other semifinal contest.
In the championship game, FFCC dominated Lakewood, outhitting them 17-5 and winning the game 9-1. Lakewood committed six errors in the game while the Spartans played errorless ball. Fergus Falls High School graduate Steve Johnson went the distance in gaining the win on the mound. Another Fergus Falls grad, Karl Beck, collected seven hits in nine at bats in the two tournament games.
I spoke with Karl on Saturday and he said that he remembered it was nice to have the tournament in Fergus Falls and have some local fans able to attend. He also said he remembered how it seemed that the win came pretty easily in the title game.
Some other members of the team included Steve Fernholz, whose son Chris Fernholz played basketball for Retz a few years back, Dick Bright from Cyrus, Al Krueger of Perham, Evan 'Charlie' Oscarson from Henning, Greg King of Fergus Falls and John Behler from Battle Lake.
Kent Bothwell's current team will try to become just the second FFCC baseball team to claim a state championship when they play at two o'clock on Sunday afternoon in Willmar. Hopefully several of the Spartan faithful will venture to Willmar for the action. GO SPARTANS!
Thursday, May 16th, 2002
Paul Grove has a new coaching job. The former Spartan, who has been the head man at Mayville State University for the last six years, is moving on.
Grove will take over the head coaching position at Minnesota State, Morris. Morris is currently in the process of moving back to Division III after an unsuccessful attempt at participating at the Division II level. With the Divison switch comes a departure from the NSIC also.
Grove compiled a 105-64 record at Mayville State in his six years. Paul is from Grey Eagle and played for a couple of good Spartan teams. He has had good success as a coach and will have a stiff challenge at trying to turn around a program that has struggled.
Now, the question is, who will replace Paul at Mayville State. I'll vote for his brother Tim, who has been up in International Falls, coaching Rainy River Community College the past couple of years. Tim is an excellent coach and would do extremely well at Mayville. I'm sure big brother put a plug in for him! It would be tough on Rainy to lose him, but it would be a great opportunity for Tim.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2002
Aaron Olson came through in a big way for his Maverick of Minnesota State, Mankato last weekend. In the North Central Conference championship game, Aaron doubled home the winning run in the tenth inning as the Mavericks won the title for the fourth straight year. Now they'll play in the NCAA Divison II Regional Playoffs in Warrensburg, Missouri, beginning on Thursday afternoon.
Olson had a great tournament in Omaha, Nebraska last weekend, going 8 for 15 at the plate (.533), driving in six runs and scoring four times. His batting average is third on the team, .374 and he is second on the team with six home runs. He has also knocked in 30 runs in his teams 43 games. Minnesota State, Mankato beat Augustana 7-4 last Thursday in the first round of the NCC Tourney, then whipped Nebraska-Omaha 21-8 and defeated South Dakota State University 6-5 in the ten-inning contest.
Nebraska-Omaha has also received a bid to the Central Regional this week, which is being hosted by the number three team in the county, Central Missouri State. The Mavericks lost a 10-8 decision to them in early March and had two other scheduled games rained out on a southern swing. Central Missouri State is 48-5 on the season. They will play Pittsburg State of Hays, Kansas, in the opening round on Thursday. Pittsburg State is ranked number 30 in the nation and has a 38-17 record.
The two NCC teams, Minnesota State, Mankato and Nebraska-Omaha, will play at one o'clock on Thursday. UNO beat the Mavs 9-4 and 4-2 in a double header on April 20th in Mankato, but suffered that lopsided loss last week in the NCC tournament.
Minnesota State, Mankato is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. The double elimination event continues through Saturday with the regional champion advancing to the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama.
Aaron is taking a five game hitting streak into the Regional Tournament and leads the team with ten multiple RBI games. He also has fifteen multiple hit games, which ranks third on the team. The Mavericks have 29 wins and 14 losses this season.
|Monday, May 6, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 5/06/02 - 5/12/02|
|Saturday, May 11th, 2002|
It's Try-out time! The Fergus Falls Parks and Recreation Department have schedule try-out dates and times for youth baseball and softball.
All baseball try-outs are scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and will be held at Broadway Park. Ten-year olds will try-out on Monday, May 13th, eleven-year olds on Tuesday, May 14th. Twelve-year old Pony League try-outs will be on Monday, May 20th and the thirteen-year olds on Tuesday, May 21st.
Girls Softball Division 3 try-outs for 10 to 12 year olds will be on Monday, May 20th at 6:00 p.m. at Grotto Park. Division 4 try-outs for 13 to 16 year olds are at the same time and same park on Tuesday, May 21st.
A couple of tough losses for the Twins against the Yankees. 5-3 and 4-2 losses have put their home record at 16-5, still pretty impressive. My concern is this ... after Sunday's game, the Twins go on the road to play four at Kansas City and three at New York. In fact, 13 of their next 15 games are on the road, including games at Anaheim and Texas. They really need a win over Mike Mussina and the Yanks on Sunday. Kyle Lohse pitched very well on Saturday night in front of over 43,000 fans, but Eddie Guardado suffered his first defeat when Robin Ventura took him deep with a man on base in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.
Talk about your heartbreaking losses. Kent Bothwell's Spartan baseball team lost two 4-3 games, the first one to the defending Region 13 champions, in 9 innings. Justin Arneson pitched the whole game and with the exception of 3 hits by Chris Losett, the number nine hitter for the Buccaneers, none of the Dawson players had any success hitting Arne. Arneson told me he let up a bit on his 3-0 pitch to Losett in the second inning, just trying to throw a strike. Losett was ready for it and deposited the pitch over the fence, making it a 3-0 game. After the Spartans had rallied to tie the game, Losett singled in the game winner in the ninth.
In the second game, a loss to Itasca, Arneson threw a bullet to the plate from center field to nail a Viking runner early in the game. FFCC rallied from a 4-0 deficit but saw their hopes for a Region 13 title end when Nate Huls was cut down trying to scored the tying run from second on a hit by Ethan Soland. The losses put FFCC at 25-11 overall.
Thursday, May 9th, 2002
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have released their 2002 exhibition schedule and it begins with a game in Fergus Falls on Sunday, May 12th at 3:05 p.m.
The game will be against the St. Paul Saints and it will take place at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park. The ticket cost is $4.50 and tickets will be sold at the gate.
Last year, the RedHawks played Winnipeg in Fergus Falls, but rain washed the game out in the third inning. Let's hope for better luck this year.
Josh Buchholz, the Director of Baseball Operations for the RedHawks, told me tonight that the team is trying to get in touch with Brad Anderson, the former Fergus Falls resident who has pitched for the team the past two seasons. Things change quite rapidly in the Northern League, and apparently, the RedHawks are interested in having Anderson join them to start the season in their bullpen. Anderson is engaged to be married to former Underwood High School and FFCC student-athlete Steph Peasley.
Monday, May 6th, 2002
A check of the Minnesota State Mankato stats page shows Aaron Olson among the season leaders in several offensive categories as the Mavericks move into the North Central Conference Tournament this week in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Fergus Falls High School graduate is third in batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.552), and runs batted in (24). He is also second on the team with six home runs in the 38 games he has played. Aaron is fourth in hits (41), total bases (64) and runs scored (25). He leads the team in walks with 21.
The Mavericks are 26-14 overall, 13-7 against NCC opponents, and they have won eight of their last ten games. They finished second in the NCC, behind Nebraska-Omaha and will play Augustana at seven o'clock Thursday night in the opening round of the tournament. Omaha plays South Dakota State University at one p.m. that day. The tournament goes through Saturday.
In last weekends action, Aaron was 4-for-11 with 5 RBI, 5 runs scored, four walks and two home runs.
I am currently awaiting more bracket information for the Spartan baseball and softball teams. All I can tell you at this point is that the Spartan baseball team plays at 1:30 Friday afternoon in Willmar against Dawson, Montana, in the first round of the Region XIII playoffs. The Lady Spartans will also play on Friday in Grand Rapids, but I don't know a time or opponent in that game, yet. We'll keep you posted.