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Sunday, May 29, 2005
Remembering Romie, Vintage Baseball & Tryouts
May and early June rival December for business in my book! The end of the school year and the spring sports season, and the beginning of the summer activities make for some very busy schedules for families around the region.

Kellen Shebeck is coaching the Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 baseball team this summer. The former Underwood Rocket and Spartan baseball player will be holding tryouts on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1986 is eligible to tryout for the team.

Tryouts for Fergus Falls Babe Ruth Baseball will be held on Wednesday, June 1 for 14 year olds and Thursday, June 2 for 15 year olds. Tryouts will begin at six o'clock each night at the college field at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls. Please pre-register for tryouts by calling Buzz Anderson at (218) 739-4880.

Vintage baseball is coming to Fergus Falls on Saturday, June 4, when the Fergus Falls American Legion baseball team challenges the St. Croix Base Ball Club in a 1:00 p.m. contest at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park.

The game will be played according to the rules and regulations adopted by the National Association of Base-Ball Players on March 14, 1860. These rules form the basis for today's game with a few differences. For example, by 1860's rules a batter is ruled out if the ball is caught on the first bounce. Also, no balls are called by an umpire so the striker (batter) cannot reach base on a walk.

The St. Croix Base Ball Club has been playing vintage baseball since 1998. They play according to 1960 rules which was also played by Civil War soldiers during times of leisure, which helped to make it a pastime for the entire nation.

The Carlisle Band will be performing at Legion Field at noon followed by the game. Concessions will also be available.

This Vintage baseball game is sponsored by the City of Fergus Falls Parks and Recreation Department, the Otter Tail County Historical Society, American Legion Post 30 and Tallgrass 2005. For more information call (218) 739-3205 or (2180 736-6038.

For more information log on to www.wchsmn.org/stcroixbbc/

The fourth annual 'Remember Romie Gail' fundraiser will also be held on June 4 at Balmoral Golf Course between Battle Lake and Ottertail on Hiway 78. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude at 7:00 p.m. and individuals wishing to golf should call ahead for a tee time (218) 864-5414 or toll free 1-800-943-2077. After golfing, plan to stay at the course for burgers and reminiscing. Even if you are not planning to golf, the family and friends of Romie Gail invite you to join them at anytime between 10 and 7 for reminiscing, food and prizes. The fundraiser will be held June 5 if there is bad weather on the fourth. All proceeds will be given to an outstanding Fergus Falls High School senior. If you are not able to attend but would still like to donate, donations can be made at the Bank of the West in Fergus Falls to the Roman Gail scholarship fund.

Romie was very involved in athletics, having played football, baseball and basketball during high school and college. Romie stated that as a participant, baseball was his favorite sport, while officiating basketball was the sport he liked to work best. He was one of the few officials who officiated in three different sports in state tournament, including boys and girls basketball, football and baseball. Romie spent more than thirty years working with young athletes at the high school and college level. Some of his highlights included working the 1975 Minnesota boys state basketball championship game, officiating the first Minnesota girls state basketball tournament in 1976 and working a double overtime game in the state tournament.

The Minnesota High School Coaches Association honored him with a Distinguished Service Award for his many years of service in 1993.

Romie was a great story teller and some of the more humorous moments he liked to reminisce about were a basketball game at Wahpeton when he had to fetch a live duck that had been thrown out onto the floor, and the time another referee coughed his false teeth out onto the floor.

Romie coached the first wrestling team at Fergus Falls Community College during the 1967-1968 season. He always had time to be a dedicated Otter fan and was a frequent caller to Sports Talk on AM 1250, KBRF. We always enjoyed hearing from Romie!

Make plans to attend if you can on Saturday, June 4 at Balmoral or if you can't make it, help Remember Romie with a donation to the Roman Gail Memorial Scholarship fund.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Arne's Back in the Lineup
Justin Arneson is back in the lineup for the Fort Myers Miracle. Arne came off the disabled list about two weeks ago but there was no place on a team roster for him until Sunday.

Arneson went on the DL with inflammation around his surgically repaired knee, but through consistent daily exercises the knee responded and he has been participating in the extended spring training camp workouts and games for the past two weeks. His opportunity to re-join the Miracle finally came on Suday and Arneson got in the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, drew a walk and scored a run.

Arneson had a tremendous spring and was quite optimistic heading into the minor league campaign before being placed on the DL. The Twins are impressed with what they have seen from him and as I've stated before, if Arne stays healthy I really think he can make it to the big leagues. He has the ability and the work ethic it takes to make it at that top level. We'll be watching his progress closely. I'm just glad he's back at it!!

Arne's classmate, TimErickson ended his college baseball career with a home run in his last at bat as NDSU closed out their first season of Division I baseball with a double header against Oakland of Michigan. Erickson, who was a member of the Bison football team since the 2000 season, played for NDSU this spring along with former Otters Brandon Goltz and Tyler Gagner.

Rain, lightning and tornado warnings combined to cancel many sporting events around the area on Friday and Saturday. The Fergus Falls versus Moorhead baseball game was called in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Otters trailing the Spuds 10-1. The game will not be made up.

The Barnesville Track and Field Meet was also called early in the competition and Saturday's tennis meet in Brainerd was canceled. As always, several spring events were lost to the weather with no possible makeup dates. Post season action begins this week.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, May 15, 2005
College Sports Happenings
Lots of stuff to report on the college scene. I just returned from Willmar where the Spartan baseball team was attempting to defend their Region 13 title and qualify for a second straight NJCAA Division III World Series. They couldn't get it done after dropping the first game of the tournament on Friday to Itasca.

I give Kent Bothwell's guys a lot of credit for what the did over the weekend. After that tough first round loss, they bounced back and played some good baseball in winning three straight games to put themselves in the championship round.

The way the bracket is set up, Ridgewater, after winning their first two games, had Saturday off and were already in the championship round. That is a huge advantage, and one the Spartans enjoyed last year when they hosted this event. The team that has to battle their way back through the losers' bracket as the Spartans did, finds themselves pitching poor on the third day and very weary from having played four games in about 28 hours. That combination was too much to overcome for MSCTC on Sunday, as a well rested Ridgewater Warriors team beat the Spartans 15-2.

Some of the highlights from the weekend as I saw them: Nate Meissner was tremendous at the plate. Nate was 10-for-14 in the five games with five runs batted in and seven runs scored. He had a stretch of reaching base on 13 consecutive plate appearances in the tournament. Incredible. Nate did struggle in the field, committing three errors in the final game and six in the five games.

Fergus Falls High School graduate Matt Brekke had a great weekend, picking up 7 hits in 11 at bats, driving in a team high nine runs and scoring six times. He also made some very nice defensive plays. Matt also walked four times, had a sacrifice bunt, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, was hit by a pitch and stole a base.

Sophomore Brandon Veches was 7-for-18 in the tournametn with two runs batted in and seven runs scored. Brandon also played extremely well in center field, coming up with several outstanding plays.

Erik Schmitz had 5 hits in 18 at bats and made his hits count, driving in four runs. He also scored three times. Freshman Kirby Marquart was 4-for-14 with 4 runs batted in and a mammoth home run in the final game.

Bryan Flach and Joe Kahl each had complete game victories and Kahl gave up just an unearned run in winning for a team record tenth time in a season.

32-15 is a tremendous final record. Congratulations to the Spartans on another terrific year.

Good luck to Dwight Kotilla and his Ridgewater Warriors, too. They have a solid program and will making their third World Series appearance in the last four years. Thanks to the Ridgewater folks for their hospitality during our stay in Willmar for the tournament. John Vraa does a great job in keeping the media informed and making sure everything is going smoothly. He also has done very well with keeping the weekly stats up to date and in a timely manner. We don't thank him enough for that. It is essential for the MCCC that they have someone responsible doing that so they get some much needed publicity for their teams and their league. He's definitely the right man for the job.

Willmar has a beautiful baseball stadium in the final phases of construction. Bill Taunton Stadium at Baker Field should be completed within the next month or so. A very nice grandstand, roomy and comfortable press box and an elevated picnic seating area behind the third base dugout will help make this a classy facility. The Taunton family donated $100,000 to the city for the express purpose of upgrading the baseball stadium and for naming rights. They are doing it right.

Another highlight from the tournament, although it came at the expense of the Spartans, was the pitching performance by freshman lefthander Brandon Fritz from Perham. Fritz was a member of Hans Hanson's state tournament teams of the past few years and he was the starting pitcher against MSCTC on Friday when the Itasca Vikings sent them into the losers' bracket with a 9-6 win. Fritz went the distance, striking out nine batters, walking only two, giving up seven hits and only three earned runs. Fritz threw 128 pitches in the game and retired the last seven batters he faced. Brandon was 7-1 on the season with an ERA of around 3.40.

The Lady Spartans have won their second consecutive state tournament title and the second in school history. These sophomores are to be commended for what they have accomplished. This is a team that started a very disappointing 0-13 this season but just would not give up. By tournament time they were playing some tremendous ball. They lost in the championship series to Ridgewater at the Region 13 Tournament in Willmar last weekend, but won all four of the their games at the MCCC State Tournament in Brainerd this weekend to claim the title. They won 14 of their last 22 games and finished the year 14-21.

Kelli Baumgartner and Bri Toso were named to the All Region 13 team.

Kelli is planning to play softball at Valley City State next year and Bri will most likely play at Moorhead. Nell Amundson is probably going to play for St. Scholastica and hopefully Mel Harthun will find a place to play. She can hit! It sounds like Katie Shaikoski is going to be done competing and will be concentrating on her studies. Who knows though? She could change her mind! They have been a fun group to watch both at the college level and when they were participating at their respective high schools. Best of luck to all of the sophs who have made some softball history in Fergus Falls the past couple of years.

Basketball recruiting is an ongoing item at MSCTC. The Spartan men have announced the signing of two standout guards from Marshall County Central High School in Newfolden. Dustin Monsebroten, a 6' 1" point guard and Jay Maurstad, a 6' 3" shooting guard led the Nordics to a fourth place finish in the boys state high school basketball tournament this past spring. Dusting fills a void for the Spartans at the key point guard spot and Jay brings needed perimeter shooting and scoring ability.

Monsebroten averaged 19.1 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 7.1 assists per game and 3.3 steals per game. He shot 52% from the field, 37% on 3's and 75% from the free throw line. His 1, 452 career points rnake him the all time leading scorer at MCC. His is number two all time in assists, first in career steals, career 3's made, assists in a season, made 3's in a season and steals in a season. He was an honorable mention All-State selection and made the Wells Fargo Class A All-Tournament team. He was a 3-time all conference selection and a two time MCC Most Valuable Player.

Maurstad averaged 20.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game and 1.4 steals per game. His 1,107 career points put him fourth all time at MCC. He shot 47% from the field, 38% on 3's and 74% from the line. His 662 points in a single season is the highest single season total in MCC history. He was the leading rebounder for the Nordics his senior year and voted top defender his junior and senior seasons. Maurstad was an honorable mention All-State selection, was named to the Wells Fargo All Tournament team and was a two year all conference selection.

The Lady Spartans have also been busy recruiting. Ann Williams has announced that Christin Robinson, a 5' 11" post from Minnewaska Area, Karla Luther, a 6' 1" post from Enderlin, North Dakota, Greta Hangaard, a 6' 0" post from Sargent Central in North Dakota, and Sam Martin, a 5' 8" wing from Hawley, will all be attending MSCTC. Martin is the younger sister of former Spartan standout Kelly Martin, a member of the 2001 National Championship team.

Luther and Hangaard will also be middle hitters on the volleyball team in the fall. Other volleyball recruits include Brandon/Evansville setter Tessa Strom, daughter of former Spartan Teri (Byrne) Strom, Danae Hautamaki, a hitter from Superior, Wisconsin, and Amanda Einck, an outside hitter from Slayton.

I spoke with Nikki Toso, the outstanding point guard for the Lady Spartans who suffered a torn ACL and MCL late in the season. She had surgery in Fargo in the middle of March and told me that she is recovering rapidly and that rehab is going very well. That's great news!! Nikki should be back at full strength by fall.

Kirby Carr, a sophomore centerfielder for Bethel College has been named to the MIAC All-Conference team. The Fergus Falls High School graduate earned All-MIAC honors as a freshman and is also a two-time All-MIAC award winner as an outside linebacker in football. Carr was among the league leaders in most offensive categories. His .444 batting average led Bethel and he also was top in the MIAC in slugging percentage (.823), hits (55), runs batted in (45), homeruns (11), and total bases (102). He also was in the top four in the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.517), runs scored (37), triples (4), and steals (12).

Former Perham standout Nick Esala of Concordia was also named All-MIAC. The Cobbers' designated hitter, is fifth on the team in hitting with a .330 average. He is second on the team in hitting in conference games (.404). He finished the regular season 12th in the MIAC in hitting (.404). He is also sixth in on-base percentage (.508), tied for eighth in RBIs (18), tied for 10th in hits (22) and 12th in slugging percentage (.620).



Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, May 6, 2005
FF Hires New Coaches
Two more new head coaches have been hired by Fergus Falls School District 544. The announcement came from Activities Director Gary Schuler on Thursday and the hirings should be approved by the school board at their Monday meeting.

Mandy Krause has been hired to replace Wayne Horgen as the Girls Hockey coach. Horgen, the only head coach in the history of the program, is retiring from teaching and coaching this year. Krause is from the Wahpeton/Breckenridge area originally and played four years of college hockey at Mankato State University.

Krause coached last season at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan and spent the two previous seasons as head girls hockey coach at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. She has a Physical Education major and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Her husband Brian is a Canadian citizen who has applied for citizenship to the U.S.

"Mandy comes to us with very high recommendations," said Schuler. "She's excited to get back to this area and I'm sure she'll do a great job for us."

The other new head coach is a very familiar coach to Fergus Falls kids. Niki Welde will replace Terry Harrington as head Girls Cross Country coach. Welde has assisted Harrington in the sport for many years. She will be assisted by Randy Hanson and Becky Greenagel. Niki is also the Girls Track and Field head coach.

Harrington and long time assistant Greg 'Fuzz' Noren, have both turned in their resignations from the Boys Track and Field program, effective at the end of the season.

Pelican Rapids Girls Track and Field coach Ki Gohdes shares a bit of history concerning the Hank Emmel Invitational which was held under beautiful weather conditions on Thursday.

The first Hank Emmel was held at Chauncey Martin Field on the first Thursday in May, 1979. "When team buses started pulling into the track, we were shoveling the 4-6 inches of snow off the track that we got the night before", coach Gohdes remembers. "The Moorhead Spuds bus arrived at the
meet, took one look and went home". Mike Douglas, former track coach, remembers that Fergus Falls loaded up and went home too. He thinks that there was 3 inches of snow. Al Siegle recalls his son, Tim, coming home
from college to help shovel the track. " Lisa Kelting, daughter of track coach, Erling Kelting, had an awesome day and was named "Most Valuable Athlete" and received a trophy for her efforts, said Gohdes. Twenty-six
years later, Pelican continues to host the "Hank Emmel Invitational" in honor of long time track and field coach Henry Emmel.

Tryouts for Dwarf League will be held on Monday, May 9 at Broadway Park in Fergus Falls. Ten year olds will tryout at 5:30 and eleven year olds at 7:00 p.m. Tryouts for Pony League will be held on Tuesday, May 10, once again at Broadway Park. Twelve year olds will tryout at 5:30 p.m. and thirteen year olds at 7:00 p.m. All boys planning on playing Parks and Recreation Baseball this summer should attend their tryout session. If you have questions call 739-3205.

Dates have been set and registration is open for Otter Basketball Camp. The camp for boys and girls in grades one through nine, will be held May 31 through June 9. All sessions will be conducted at the Fergus Falls Senior High School gym. Grades are as of the completion of the 2005 school year.

Fourth and fifth grade girls will meet from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 31 through June 3, followed by the fourth and fifth grade boys from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

First through third grade girls will meet from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. June 6 through June 9, with first through third grade boys going from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. the same days.

Sixth and seventh grade boys will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. from May 31 through June 9, followed by eighth and ninth grade boys from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sixth and seventh grade girls will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. May 31 through June 9, with the eighth and ninth grade girls to follow from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All students should have received a camp registration form, however, if you need one or would like more information you can contact Keith Pearson or Dave Rund at 998-0544. Keith's extension number is 2584 and Dave's extension number is 2068.


Posted By Craig Olson
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