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Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Bergh Boys, Big Friday, Legion Baseball

Bergh Having Success on National BMX Circuit
’Dominator’ Derik Bergh from Fergus Falls has been hitting the National Circuit in BMX bicycle racing this summer and has recently been picked up by a Factory Sponsor from Ontario, California. Derik has been to North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington, Nevada and Texas to compete in racing events. He has earned six-first place finishes on his Expert Class bike and has seven national titles on his Cruiser bike. Just this past weekend Derik raced in the World Championship and the All Star National event in Ontario, California. He was fifth out of thirty-eight on both his class bike and cruiser bike on Friday and took fifth on his cruiser bike in the World Championship race on Sunday.

“Derik is very active at his home track along with a bunch of other local riders that have a talent for the sport of BMX,” noted Tracey Bergh, Derik’s mother and top supporter. “We really want to thank all the local sponsors that support Derik and his younger brother Tyler in there sport of choice. A big thank you to all the local sponsors that have helped make the I-94 BMX track the best track in Minnesota!”

There is a sponsor board at the I-94 BMX track listing all of the businesses that have supported the local track this year. Local races are held on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. and spectators are welcome to attend at no charge.

Derik and Tyler will be attending the Minnesota Nationals this weekend in St. Cloud.

BIG FRIDAY Scheduled for August 5 at Broadway Park
Big Friday has become a very popular and much anticipated event among the nearly 850 kids from ages 5 to 14 who are involved in the summer baseball and softball programs in Fergus Falls. I don’t remember the exact year it started, but I do remember talking with Butch Benson, the long time Parks and Recreation Director in Fergus Falls, about Lake Region Community Television taping and airing the championship games on the local TV station. For that to happen, the games, which at the time were scattered about the city at the different ballparks, would have to be moved to one site. Butch thought the idea was workable and he went at it and created the format which we have in place today. It has been very successful and every year all seven league championship games get television exposure. People come and go throughout the day and watch family members and friends compete on the final day of the summer program. It really is a great day.

The day will get started at 8:30 a.m. with the T-Ball game, followed at 9:45 a.m. by the Toss league championship. The first of three girls softball division titles will begin at 11:00 a.m., with Division II set for a 12:15 p.m. start and Division III getting underway at 1:45 p.m. The final games of the day will feature the Dwarf league championship at 4:00 p.m. and the Pony league championship at 6:00 p.m.

Restroom facilities will be available and concessions will be available at the park all day long and a Sponsor Picnic will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. with food for the picnic donated by Service Food.

“It’s just a way for us to thank the sixty-one sponsors we have in our programs,” said Recreation Specialist Trevor Johnson. “Their involvement helped supply the kids with hats and t-shirts. We also had additional donations from businesses that have been earmarked for the purchase of new equipment. The support has been outstanding.”

In addition to Big Friday, the Fergus Falls Parks and Recreation Department is overseeing two big weekends of softball tournaments beginning with the State A and B Church Softball Tournaments Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31. Ten teams from Fergus Falls are in the field of thirty-two teams that will be competing at DeLagoon Park. Games will go from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The weekend of August 6 and August 7 will see the Class ‘D’ Mens’ North Section District Tournament at DeLagon Park. The Girls Maroon and Gold Hockey Booster Club will be selling admission tickets and caring for the fields as a fundraising opportunity. Admission will be four dollars per day for the two tournaments.

Fergus Falls Post 30 Seeded #2
The Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 baseball team received the number two seed into the District 9 Division I Tournament which is going on in East Grand Forks. Moorhead is the top seeded team. This year, two District 9 teams will move on to the state tournament. Crookston, Perham, Roseau, Thief River Falls, Detroit Lakes and the host team East Grand Forks are the other teams competing in the double elimination event.

The Fergus Falls team, coached by Kellen Shebeck and Tim Erickson, has a record of 20 wins and 14 losses. They have two players hitting .400 or better with Mic Johnson hitting .400 with a team high .660 slugging percentage and Brandon Carr hitting .447 and leading the team with 42 hits, including 13 doubles. Carr has scored 28 runs, tops on the team, and Johnson has knocked in a team high 26 and also leads the team with 4 home runs. Carr is the stolen base leader with 14. Casey Kowalski is hitting .379 and Anthony Oslund is at .366.

Kowalski has an impressive earned run average of 1.09 in 32 innings of pitching and has three victories. Travis Swiontek leads the team with 4 wins and has an ERA of 3.67 in a team high 42 innings. Kyle Kidder has won three games and has a 3.03 earned run average in 34 2/3 innings. Andrew Fick has a 3.27 ERA in 30 innings.

Upheld Protest Keeps Orange Sox out of District 9 Tournament
A New York Mills assistant coach protested the fact that Pelican Rapids was using Lake Park players as a part of their roster. Enrollment in Division II baseball is 400 or less from combined school districts. Pelican Rapids had a combined enrollment of close to 450 when Lake Park is included, however, Orange Sox coach Steve Babb says his team did nothing wrong.

"I was asked by the district director in 1999 to take Lake Park kids on our roster because no other teams in the area would," recalled Babb. "He told me it would not affect our eligibility. I told him I would only accept them if it did not. All the coaches in the conference knew about this and no one ever protested until Saturday. After New York Mills was eliminated they filed a protest against us. The current District director, who was aware of the situation, upheld their protest. It is a very sad way for the season to end, especially for the seniors. We only did what the district director asked us to do and now we are made to look like we are less than honest."

Two Lucky Fans Win Autographed Balls
The local Special Olympics Organization manned a booth at the West Otter Tail County Fair last weekend, selling raffle tickets for an opportunity to win one of two Justin Arneson autographed baseballs. The two winners were Doris Richards of Fergus Falls and Sandy Benson of Dalton.
Arneson, a 2000 Fergus Falls High School graduate and graduate of MSCTC, Fergus Falls, is in the Minnesota Twins minor league system at Fort Myers, Florida in the Florida Sate League, an advanced Class A league. Arne is currently hitting .184 for the Miracle and has been hampered by a number of injuries during his professional career.

Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Harris and Speer to be College Golf Teammates
Two outstanding area high school golfers are going to be college teammates.  Derek Harris of Fergus Falls and Justin Speer of Battle Lake have both decided to attend Central Lakes College in Brainerd and golf for Jim Russell's 2005 NJCAA Division III National champion Raiders.

Harris, won the Otter Boys Golf Invitational this past spring, becoming the first player to do so since Eric Ecker won three straight in the mid-90's.

Speer competed in three Class A State Tournaments, placing second as a junior.  Another Section 6A golf standout, Joe Kavanaugh of Pillager, will also be attending Central Lakes Community College.

The Raiders, who shot a four-day total score of 1,210 strokes, won the national title by one stroke over Monroe Community College and Georgia Military College. 

Theo Frentzos of the Raiders was third in the individual competition with a score of 291, 3-over par.  Brent Davis of Montgomery College shot even-par 288 to win the event. 

Patrick Moore of the Underwood Rockets will play golf for Jason Retzlaff at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.  Retzlaff was actively recruiting Harris and Speer but both decided on Central Lakes.  It's certainly understandable for young golfers to want to join an established, winning program, but I really think that Jason can get MSCTC to that level if he can be successful in landing some of the top players in our area each year.  Speer's brother Jason Speer will be playing basketball for the Spartans this winter.

Speaking of golf, the 2nd annual Retz Open Golf Tournament is set for Sunday, August 28 at Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls.  Tee-off time is 1:00 p.m. with a shotgun start.  The entry fee is $75.00 ($60.00 for members of Pebble Lake Golf Course).  The cost for the meal and social event only is $45.00.  This is a fundraiser for Spartan Men's Basketball.  The entry deadline is Friday, August 19 and this year the tournament should be full.  In last year's inaugural event, 90 people participated.  There is no doubt that number will grow.  Entries can be e-mailed to coach Retzlaff at dave.retzlaff@minnesota.edu or sent to MSCTC, 1414 College Way, Fergus Falls, MN 56537, or you can call Retz at (218) 736-1618.  18 holes of golf, on course events, dinner, door prizes, complimentary gift, memorabilia auction and introductions of the 2005-2006 Spartan Men's Basketball team will all be a part of the event.  All Spartan Alumni, fans, friends, boosters, women and men, are encouraged to join in the fun.

The Lady Spartans will be hosting their second annual Volleyball Pal Clinic August 23, 24 and 25 at MSCTC.  Two sessions are planned with the first one starting at 6:30 p.m. each night and the second session to follow at 7:15 p.m.  The clinic is for kids from first through sixth grade as of the fall of 2005.  The Volleyball Pal Clinic is sponsored by ShoreMaster, Park Region Telephone/Ottertail Telcom and Lake Area Docks and Lifts.  The 2005 Lady Spartan Volleyball team will be in uniform, demonstrating and teaching volleyball fundamentals (passing, setting, hitting & serving).  These players will direct the sessions each of the three days.  Head coach Ann Williams and Community Volunteer Coach Renae Rasmusson are the Directors of the clinic.  The cost is $12.00 and in includes a volleyball, a t-shirt and free admission to all Lady Spartan games this fall just by wearing the t-shirt.  A special skills demonstration will be presented between the second and thrid games of the September 7 match against Anoka-Ramsey.  For more information contact Ann Williams at (218) 736-1621.

Well, it didn't take Tim Erickson long to get his first hit as a member of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.  Tim singled in the four-run second inning on Wednesday night as the RedHawks posted a 9-7 win over the Kansas City T-Bones.  Erickson came around to score one of the runs in the inning.  Erickson was 2-for-2 on Thursday night with a run scored and an RBI as the RedHawks completed a sweep with a 7-1 victory.  Erickson went 3-for-8 in the three game series.  Fargo-Moorhead will be hosting Winnipeg this weekend at Newman Outdoor Field, where Erickson played for NDSU this past spring.

Justin Arneson is hitting .187 for the Fort Myers Miracle, but he is coming on in recent games.  On Thursday night he was 1-for-2 with an RBI single and on Tuesday night he hit his first home run of the season, drove in two runs, scored three times and walked twice.  He's finally healthy enough to play every day and be productive.  Look for Arne to get hot ... if he stays healthy.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Campion Named Hillcrest AD, Erickson with RedHawks
A couple of Fergus Falls High School and North Dakota State University graduates are headlining Craig's Corner this week.  Pete Campion has been named the Athletic Director at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, and Tim Erickson was picked up by the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the Northern League.

Campion will serve in a part time capacity as Athletic Director and will also be a volunteer coach with the Hillcrest football team this fall, working with the offensive line.  He will also oversee an Athletic Peformance Program utilizing facilities at Hillcrest and the Fergus Falls Area YMCA.

"I am really looking forward to this new opportunity," said Campion.  "To be able to impact student-athletes by helping them with their physical growth in the sports they are involved in, educationally and spiritually is something I really want to do.  Hillcrest will allow me that opportunity."

Campion will oversee home athletic events and will do scheduling of future activities.  He will also be continuing to take graduate school courses at NDSU.

As far as his dream of playing in the NFL, Campion says, "'My calf is still not healthy.  This injury has been so slow to respond to re-hab.  I've done a lot of thinking and praying about it and there will be no more NFL for me.  It's time to get settled down and give something back to the kids and the community."

Campion and his wife Heidi have an infant daughter, Cadence, and live in Fergus Falls.  He is filling the position vacated by Richard Risbrudt when he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Fergus Falls High School.

Erickson, a standout three-sport athlete for the Otters and a member of the Bison football team since his high school graduation in 2000, played in the outfield for NDSU's baseball team this spring hitting .265 with an on base percentage of .363 in 52 games.  He had nine doubles, two triples, one homer and scored a team high 31 runs.

Erickson was contacted by the RedHawks, at the encouragement of their pitching coach Steve Montgomery, who is also the pitching coach for NDSU, when Northern League All-Star Richard Austin suffered an injury while diving for a fly ball on Sunday.

"Tim was highly recommended to us by Steve and he was eager to accept the opportunity," said RedHawks Director of Baseball Operations & Communications Josh Buchholz.  "He may be with us just for this road trip and he knows that he's with us basically as an insurance policy.  It's hard to say if he'll see any game action, but we're certainly glad to have him available if needed."

The RedHawks are in Kansas City for games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before returning home for a weekend series with Winnipeg leading up to the Northern League All Star Break.  Erickson hit a sharp ground ball to short in his only plate appearance on Tuesday night and had a putout on a fly ball off the bat of former major league David Segui in his Northern League debut.  It's possible that Tim will be in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's game.

"The guys have been great to me," Erickson said by telephone from Kansas City, Kansas.  "I'm really excited about having this opportunity and I'm just going to enjoy it while it lasts."

The Fergus Falls boys soccer team will be having a pre-season mini-camp the first two weeks of August, conducted by former Otter and current Gustavus-Adolphus player Jack Underwood.  Underwood will be assisted by 2005 Otter tri-captains Carl Carpenter, Steve Hoffman and TJ Gaustad.  The mini-camp is for any student grades 9 through 12 who is planning to tryout for the Otter varsity or junior varsity team on August 15.  Daily sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday beginning August 1 and ending August 12 at the DeLagoon Soccer Complex.  The camp is free of charge and will emphasize ball handling, passing, shooting, agility and conditioning.  An optional conditioning time will be set aside after each session for those players wanting extra conditioning.  Varsity coach Scott Bjerke is also trying to get former Otter goalkeepers Joe Johnson and Nik Pickett to work individually with the goalies each day.

All players going out for the Otter varsity or junior vasity boys scooer teams are asked to attend an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. on July 19 at Cleveland Field.  Specific information about the mini-camp will be handed out by Coach Bjerke at that time.

Otterr alumni players are organizing Sunday night scrimmages to be held at 6:30 p.m. at DeLagoon Field.  Several former Otters are participating at the college level and will be involved in the scrimmages as a way of keeping their skills sharp in preparation for the upcoming season.

Former Brandon-Evansville standout athlete and MSCTC baseball All-American Nate Meissner is going to continue his college baseball career at the University of North Dakota.  Meissner, who played shortstop for the Spartans and helped lead them to their first ever NJCAA Division III National Tournament appearance in 2004, was an All-American selection his freshman year when he was named the Player of the Year in the Minnesota Community College Conference.

MSCTC baseball coach Kent Bothwell tells me that two of his players from last year's team, Tyler Knott and Brandon Veches will be playing ball for St. Cloud State University.  Several of Coach Bothwell's players through the years have continued playing ball after leaving MSCTC and have made an impact at four year schools.  That speaks highly of the program Bothwell has put together in Fergus Falls. 

Agassiz Valley will have a new head football coach this fall.  Bryan Strand, the former head boys basketball coach and Athletic Director at Le Center High School, will fill that position along with his duties as High School Principal in Barnesville.  Strand also served in an assistant football coaching position at Le Center.  Phil Trowbridge will continue as the Varsity Assistant, Joe O'Keefe will again be the JV coach and Andrew Oland will coach the Freshmen.

Karen Solum, who has coached in the girls basketball program in Barnesville for many years, leading the Trojans to a state tournament as a head coach and assisting current coach Trevor Schneeberger for the past two seasons, is stepping down from her position as assistant coach.  A decision has not been made on her replacement but it's possible that there may be some shifting of coaches between the boys and girls programs.

I just had a tour of the Red Horse Ranch Arena, six miles North of Fergus Falls on County Highway 10.  WOW!  What a tremendous facility to have in our back yard.  This facility will be hosting a number of events and this weekend is home to the Section Finals of the National Team Penning Championships.  Competition will begin at 8:00 a.m. Saturday and again at 8:00 a.m. Sunday and admissioni is FREE.  Rodeo events, concerts, horse clinics, 4-H events and numerous other events will be utilizing this beautiful, state-of-the-art complex.  Stalls for boarding horses are available, there is a warm-up arena and wash racks, a 130 x 300 heated indoor arena and an outdoor rodeo arena along with a cutting arena for training horses.  If you would like more information you can visit their website at www.RedHorseRanchArena.com
Posted By Craig Olson
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