|Wednesday, July 30, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 7/28/03 - 8/03/03|
|SATURDAY, August 2nd, 2003|
Big Friday has come and gone and now several softball teams from various Fergus Falls leagues are participating in state and district tournaments.
Seven championship games were played on Friday at Broadway Park, bringing to an end the 2003 summer park and recreation season in Fergus Falls. Big Friday has become quite a tradition among the families with kids involved in the program from t-ball to pony league. Nearly 200 kids took to the field to decide the respective league champions. The games were taped by Peg Access for playback this coming Friday, August 8th.
For the record, here's the way the games came out. The Reds beat the Orioles 17-10 in the t-ball championship game. The Giants won the toss league title with a 21-20 win over the Dodgers. In Division I softball, the girls t-ball league, it was the Angels 21 and the A's 16. The Division II softball game, the girls toss level, was won by the Angels, 17-13 over the Mets. In Division III fast pitch softball, it was the Cubs 14 and the Marlins 12. The dwarf league title game had some drama as the Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat the Reds 2-1. The Tigers finished the season with a perfect 15-0 record. In the pony league championship game, the Rockies handled the Marlins 10-4.
Local Women's Softball teams involved in state tournament play this weekend include the Gettel Chiropractic team in the "CC" state tournament in Owatonna and the LaDue Construction team from Detroit Lakes is in the "C" state tournament in Owatonna. Next week, Tomacelli's will participate in the "E" state tournament in Thief River Falls and Ripley's will be involved in the "D" state tourney which will be held at DeLagoon Park in Fergus Falls.
Men's teams heading to tournament action next week include four in the "DD" Districts in Sauk Rapids. The teams are 1st Bank of Kensington, Gettel Chiropractic/JK Sports, Fergus Brick & Supply and Waskosky Well Drilling. The Eagles/Miller Lite team will be competing in the "CC" state tournament at St. Cloud. The following week, August 16th and 17th, four more area teams will be participating in the "D" Districts at DeLagoon Park. They are, Rothsay Truck Stop/Co-Op, Holly Hybrids, Ripley's and Home Builders/Mabel Murphy's.
WEDNESDAY, July 30th, 2003
I will not go along with all the naysayers and doubters out there. The Minnesota Twins are not out of the pennant race yet. They have their work cut out for them but they are still very much alive.
With the month of August closing in on us, the Twins, White Sox and Royals are all pursuing the American League Central Division title. KC holds a lead of two games over Chicago and five-and-a-half over Minnesota.
Beginning August 1st, Minnesota will play 55 more games, 25 at home and 30 on the road. 39 of those games are against Central Division opponents. The Twins play 13 against the Tigers (28-76) and 12 against the Indians (44-62). They also have 7 with Kansas City (57-47) and 7 more with Chicago (55-51). Games remaining against non-division opponents include 4 at Baltimore (50-53), 6 with Anaheim (52-53) and 6 with Texas (43-63). Teams the Twins play are a combined 76 games under .500.
Chicago has 54 games remaining as of August 1st. 23 of them are against divisional opponents, inclduing the 7 with the Twins, 10 against division leading Kansas City, and 3 each with Detroit and Cleveland. Their non-division games will be against the Yankees (6), the Red Sox (5), Oakland (3), Seattle (3), Texas (7) and Anaheim (7). Teams the White Sox play are a combined 3 games over .500.
Kansas City has 55 games remaining as of the 1st of August. 30 of them are against Central division teams including 7 with the Twins and 10 with the White Sox. They play 6 against Cleveland and 7 against Detroit. Non-division games see KC playing 7 against Tampa Bay and 6 each against Anaheim, Texas and the Yankees. Teams the Royals play over the final two months are a combined 90 games under .500.
I believe the remaining schedule favors the Twins. I also believe the remaining schedule really hurts the White Sox. The only two teams with a winning record on the Twins schedule are the two teams ahead of them. They are done with the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and A's, all of whom the White Sox have to play. In fact, 17 of Chicago's remaining 54 games are against those four teams, who are a combined 83 games over .500. 25 of the Twins remaining games are against the Tigers and the Indians who are a combined 66 games under .500. The White Sox play only six games against those two teams over the final two months of the season.
As for the Royals, they have a favorable schedule, too. There are four main reasons I like the Twins over the Royals. First, KC will be playing Chicago 10 times, which means they'll be knocking each other off, giving the Twins opportunities to close some ground if they can beat the likes of the Tigerse and Indians. Second, the Royals need to play the Yankees six times and the Twins are done with them. Third, KC only has 13 games with Detroit and Cleveland, half as many as the Twins. Fourth, the Twins are due for a consistent stretch of baseball, leading to a long winning streak ... the Royals already had one of those.
I am admittedly a diehard Twins fan and have been known to hold out hope until they have been mathematically eliminated, even in their worst seasons. I don't think I have a false hope this year. This team is much better than they have showed so far this season. The addition of Shannon Stewart, a legitimate lead-off hitter, the resurgence of Brad Radke, who has pitched very well in his last several starts, the presence of hard throwing Johan Santana in the rotation, the veteran ability of Rick Reed and Kenny Rogers, the depth of one of the better bullpens in the league, hopefully a healthy Corey Koskie's return to the lineup, and the Twins outstanding defense all give me reasons to believe that August and September will be fun, productive months that will lead the Twins into the post season.
To you doubters out there ... talk to me at the end of August. We'll see where the Twins are at then. If they aren't right in the hunt, I'll eat my words. Until then, cheer them on! As one of the more quotable people of our time as said, "It ain't over, till it's over." It's far from over!
|Monday, July 21, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 7/21/03 - 7/27/03|
|Saturday, July 26th, 2003|
Fergus Falls boys soccer coach Scott Bjerke is having a pre-season mini-camp for soccer coming up on Wednesday, July 30th and Thursday, July 31st from 10:00-11:30 a.m. both days.
It will be held at Cleveland Soccer Field and there is no charge for this camp. The team will be going through their set plays and having game competitions. It's for boys entering grades 9-12 this fall.
Football coach Phil Link is running his Otter football camp for boys entering 7th through 12th grades this Monday through Wednesday. Registration will take place at eight o'clock Monday morning at the Levee Field near the high school. Cost is twenty dollars per player.
Mark down Saturday, September 6th for the Fourth Annual Lee Franklin Maroon & Gold Golf Tournament at Pebble Lake Golf Club in Fergus Falls. The 4 person scramble will feature a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. The entry fee is $55.00 per player if paid by August 15th or $65.00 per player after that date. The entry fee includes lunch and door prizes. Silent auction items will include signed NHL Jerseys, a John Deere lawn tractor and more great items. Contact Rod Rohlfs for more information.
Remember, the 3rd Annual Lakeland Hospice golf tournament is Thursday, July 31st at Pebble. This is a 4 or 5 person scramble with an entry fee of $300.00 per group. Registration is from noon to one with a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start and a 6:30 p.m. meal. Minnesota Motor Company is sponsoring a Hole-in-One contest and putting up a car as the prize! For more information you can call Lakeland Hospice at 736-7885.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2003
The annual Fergus Falls Race Weekend is here. The Prairie Wetlands Trail Run is Saturday and the Hoot Lake Triathlon is Sunday. Through the years, both of these events have grown in popular and in number of participants.
The Wetlands Trail Run features 10k, 5k and 1k races. Registration can be done at the event with a $15 dollar fee for the 5k and 10k races and a $13 fee for the 1k race which is open to children 12 years of age and younger. Proceeds go to the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. Registration and check-in is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday with the 1k race starting at 9:00 a.m. and the 10k and 5k races getting underway at 9:30 a.m.
The Hoot Lake Triathlon takes place at the Hoot Lake Public Access, one mile Northeast of Fergus Falls on County Road 1. The course includes a 1/4 mile open water swim in Hoot Lake, a 15.7 mile bike ride and a three mile run. Registration is limited to the first 150 signed up. Check-in will be from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Sunday with the race starting at 9:00 a.m. Male, Female and Relay races will be included in the competition.
Brandon Goltz will be pitching for NDSU next year. Bison coach Mitch McLeod scouted Brandon a few weeks ago and the former Otter and Spartan pitcher signed his letter of intent recently. Brandon pitched very well for Kent Bothwell's Spartans this spring and Bothwell told me that he thought Goltz could be effective as a Division II pitcher. Now, he'll get the chance to prove his coach right. He throws the ball hard and gets a lot of strikeouts. As with many power pitchers, control can sometimes be a problem for him, but he has great stuff when he's on. It will be fun to see Brandon get the opportunity. McLeod is a good coach, NDSU has a solid program and they play in a great ballpark.
I'm heading to the Metrodome Thursday to watch the 12:05 p.m. game between the Twins and the Royals. Brad Radke will be pitching against Darrell May. The Twins need to start winning games against Kansas City. Tonight was not good. Johan Santana gave up three solo homers and the Twins got hammered 8-3. That has to stop and it has to stop now. Radke needs to go out and shut down the Royals tomorrow.
I'm going as a chaperone for the Community Youth Partners bus trip. I was able to do this a couple of years ago and had a lot of fun! JK Sports has donated several prizes for the kids and it's a special day for Fergus Falls at the dome. Two youngsters from this area will be singing the National Anthem. Sam Wasberg and Benjamin Ronning will team up on the anthem prior to the first pitch tomorrow. Congratulations to them on being chosen to sing! What a thrill!! Moms and Dads are a bit nervous I'm sure! Sam and Ben will do a great job. Hope fans listening on Oldies 1020 will get a chance to hear them. They don't always have the anthem on the air, but sometimes they do. I'll have to get a hold of Gordo and tell him not to take a break during the anthem! It will be fun to see it live!
Monday, July 21st, 2003
Between golf tournaments, picture taking, cheese curd selling at the county fair and trying to keep things up on the web, this has been one crazy summer ... and it ain't over yet!
My son Ben has only two tournament's remaining on the Player's Tour. One is a 36-hole event on Tuesday at the Preserve and Wednesday at the Pines near Nisswa, just North of Brainerd. Last week he was one of 64 players from around the state who qualified to participate in the Match Play Tournament at the Legacy Courses at Cragun's Resort near Brainerd. Some tremendous golf courses! He closes out his junior golfing career by playing on the 28th at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park, another tremendous golf course. I use my vacation days from radio to follow Ben and also to take pictures. The picture taking is pretty much done until the fall season begins (three weeks from today).
The majority of the golfers in the match play tournament were from the metro area. Ben won his first match, closing out his opponent on the 16th hole of their match with a beauty of a birdie putt, but lost his second round match, going to the 18th hole 1-down and losing the hole. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are some tough golfers out there!!
Other outstate golfers involved in the tournament were Lee Cavanagh, Taylor Cavanagh and Joe Schornack from Perham, and Lance Walvatne from Fergus Falls who played his high school golf at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. All of the area golfers were eliminated after the second round of play in the three-day, six-round match play event.
It's always fun to sell cheese curds at the fair!! I've done this for the past several years, working for Hansen's Amusement Foods. It's a great opportunity to see people I don't see during the regular work week throughout the year! Inevitably, the conversation turns to sports and I would like to report to you that the single most talked about subject between cheese curd consumers and me at the fair was the Twins. What's wrong with the Twins? If I heard it once I heard it a million times!! I'm glad, too. That means people out there still care about what's happening with our major league baseball team. The good news is ... they are winning again! The bad news is ... they are also hurting!
To come off an eight game losing skid leading up to the all-star break and win four straight from the A's (who had won five in a row before the break), was impressive. To do it against the likes of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder was even more impressive. The Twins are back to playing good baseball. They are now one game under .500 with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals coming to the Metrodome this week.
I've said it all along. If the Twins can make it through July within five or six games of first place in the Central, the schedule really favors them in August and I think they can overtake the Royals. The majority of their games will be against KC, Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit over the final two months of the season. They won't have to see the A's, Mariners, Yankees or Red Sox (among others) in August and September. That's not true for the Royals and White Sox.
My main concern is the health of the team. They finally get Jacque Jones back and then Corey Koskie goes on the DL, along with Lew Ford. Todd Sears has been called up to replace Ford and gives Ron Gardenhire another left handed bat to go to in Koskie's absence. Joe Mays had a couple of encouraging innings out of the bullpen on Sunday. Brad Radke, Rick Reed, Johan Santana and Kenny Rogers all pitched well in their starts against Oakland. Now we just need to get a good start from Kyle Lohse in the opener against Seattle.
I like the trade with Toronto. Terry Ryan had to do something to shake up the team and bringing in a very good lead-off hitter like Shannon Stewart could be just what the doctor ordered to cure what's been ailing this team. Stewart is a bonafide lead-off man. I liked Bobby Kielty, but for an immediate jump start, Stewart is perfect. He probably won't be in the future plans beyond 2003 for this team, but you never know. He'll probably be too expensive to keep. The Blue Jays benefit from the deal by acquiring a younger, less expensive player. They weren't going to attempt to resign Stewart so why not get a player who can help you for the next few years rather than losing Stewart to free agency at the end of this season and getting nothing? It's one of those good deals for both teams.
Another question I got a lot at the fair was "How's Arne doing?" Arne of course is Justin Arneson, playing for the Twins Rookie League Team in the Appalachian League, Elizabethton, Tennessee. Well, Arne is struggling. He has eight hits in fifty-eight at bats for a .138 batting average. He has two doubles, six runs batted in, fourteen runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. He has walked ten times and struck out fourteen. Remember, the Twins are making Justin a switch-hitter and a second baseman. Two tough adjustments for him at the same time. Plus, he's coming off that wrist injury that sidelined him for six weeks. Recovery takes time and I'm confident that with his work ethic, Justin's number will be more Arne-like very soon. Hang in there #23.
Fergus Falls Post 30 American Legion baseball coach Aaron Olson missed the last three games of the tournament in Detroit Lakes this past weekend. He picked up a case of chicken pox and turned over the coaching duties to his assistant (and father), Robbie. The team played well, winning three of five games in the tournament. They now have twenty wins on the season.
Kirby Carr and Mike Gaustad, teammates throughout their baseball playing days in Fergus Falls will also be together on the same team in college. Carr committed to Bethel College for football and baseball last winter. Now, Gaustad has also decided to attend Bethel College, where he will be a member of the baseball team and possibly play some hockey.
Matt Price misses wrestling so he's going to do something about it. Matt, who went to UND last year, will be transferring to Ridgewater Community College in Willmar where he will be a member of their wrestling team.
I saw Nik Pickett last week and Nik has enrolled at Concordia College in Moorhead where he will be playing soccer. Nik was at St. John's last year.
Well, time for another busy week! Summer is going way to fast!
|Monday, July 7, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 07/07/03 - 07/13/03|
|Friday, July 11th, 2003|
The rain of recent days has caused scheduling problems for area baseball teams. Teams are running out of makeup dates as the post season approaches.
Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 postponed their doubleheader last night with Moorhead and the two teams will make it up on Tuesday, July 15th at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. They have also had to twice reschedule their doubleheader with Perham and are still trying to find a date to play those two District contests.
Post 30 has three players currently hitting over .400, led by Tyler Gagner at .538. Gagner is also the team leader in home runs with five and is tied with Mike Gaustad for the RBI lead with 21. The other players over .400 are Matt Brekke, at .426 and Kirby Carr at .415. Carr has hit four roundtrippers. Jared Bangs at .386 and Ben Aakre at .370, are also pushing .400. As a team, Post 30 is hitting .322.
In the pitching category, Casey Kowalski is 4-0 with a team-high 26.2 innings. Ben Aakre's 0.64 earned run average in 14 innings of work as led him to a 2-0 record. Mick Hanan's ERA is 2.73 in 23.1 innings and both Gagner and Gaustad have 3-1 records. Kowalski leads the team with 29 strikeouts and Gagner has 25. The team has a 3.52 ERA and a 14-4 record.
VFW Post 612 has a very busy week scheduled for next week. Several of their games over the past couple of weeks had to be moved because of the weather and some other reasons. That has left them with ten games in seven days, beginning with a home doubleheader at 5 and 7 on Tuesday against Detroit Lakes. They will play two games at East Grand Forks on Wednesday at 3 and 5, two more at home on Thursday against Thief River Falls at 1 and 3, two Friday against East Grand at 1 and 3 and two on Monday, the 21st, at 5:30 and 7:30 with Moorhead in Fergus Falls.
The most recent report from Steve Babb of the Pelican Rapids Orange Sox shows D-G-F leading the Minnesota Lakes Conference with a 7-2 record and two teams, New York Mills and Parkers Prairie at 6-3. Pelican Rapids and Breckenridge are tied for fourth with 5-5 records, Barnesville is next at 4-4, followed by Frazee at 2-8 and Hawley at 1-6.
Monday, July 7th, 2003
The 4th Annual Andrew Ness Memorial Golf Tournament also known as the Andy Bear Open, is scheduled to be held at Red Rock Golf Course, four miles east of Hoffman, at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 12th. Golfers are needed for this fundraiser for the West Central Area Foundation.
Andy lost his life in a car accident at the age of 16 and in addition to this tournament being a fundraiser for his high school's foundation, there is another purpose for the event. That purpose is to have an opportunity to get together and celebrate Andy's life by playing the game he loved.
The 4-person scramble will be a nine-hole event and there is a $40 entry fee per person ($160 per team). Teams must have at least a 14 handicap total. The entry fee includes green fee, commemorative gift, prizes on every hole and lunch. It kicks off at two o'clock with a Bagpipe Concert followed by the shotgun start at 3:00 p.m. and the meal and award ceremony at six p.m.
The West Central Area Foundation has been formed to distribute funds to students and staff of West Central Area High School in Barrett, so they may benefit from things that do not fit in the normal budget. If you can't golf, you can participate by sponsoring a hole or sponsoring a team or providing a prize.
For more information or to enter a team please contact Gerald Ness, Superintendent at West Central Area High School. He can be reached at school (320)528-2650 or home (320)986-2569. You can also reach him by e-mail at email@example.com
If you'd like to help remember and celebrate Andy Ness and help support a great cause at the same time, please take time today to contact Jerry and let him know about your interest. This would be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in July. Hope to see you there! Remember, it's Saturday, July 12th, this coming Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Red Rock Golf Course.
|Wednesday, July 2, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 06/30/03 - 07/06/03|
|Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003|
Rod Spidahl is someone who loves the game of the soccer. He is a soccer coach and a soccer parent and a private citizen who wants to see positive things happen for kids involved in soccer in our area for years to come. I recently asked Rod if he would bring me up to speed on what is happening with the newly constructed soccer fields at DeLagoon Park and I thought I'd share some of what he told me in this space.
The four new soccer fields are beginning to green up well after recent efforts by the City of Fergus Falls. The fields were aerated, swept, overseeded and fertilized recently and are beginning to fill in but it is very doubtful they will be ready until 2004.
Efforts to find ways to finance much needed fencing around the fields are currently underway.
A second break in the irrigation system occurred due to a lightning strike. The first break set back watering of the fields this spring as there was a long delay in repairing the lines which were still under warranty. It is hoped this second break can be repaired quickly.
The field project began four years ago and was largely carried along thanks to efforts by many including Butch Benson, former Park and Recreation Director and Don Eisenhuth, former Public Works Director. Larry Eisinger and others from the Soccer Association walked off the areas where they are now built.
Work by Senator Cal Larson and others resulted in a $100,000 grant to the city which, along with similar contributions by the American Legion and the City of Fergus Falls allowed the realization of the first phase of the project.
Major projects yet to be accomplished before the fields are usable include:
1) Solving the irrigation system problems,
2) Fencing around the fields,
3) Paths connecting the fields to one another and to the parking area,
4) A building for restrooms, concessions and storage,
5) Continued aggressive fertilization and care of the fields so new grass turns to playable sod.
"Hats off to Clifton Allen, new Public Works Director and Monte at Delagoon and others for hard word on the fields," said Spidahl. "The project is begun but let's not forget it now that the earth is moved. If you are asked about helping to get the fields fully functional, pitch in! The whole community will benefit from a great sports complex at Delagoon Park and sports for all types of players!"
Rod is going to be coaching the newly formed Hillcrest Lutheran Academy girls varsity and junior varsity soccer teams during the 2003-2004 school year. Hillcrest has been paired with Fergus Falls in girls soccer since the program started at FFHS but will now be pairing with Pelican Rapids for the upcoming school year. Practice begins on Monday, August 11th with the first game scheduled for Tuesday, August 26th.