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Friday, July 31, 2009
Big Friday
July ended with Big Friday at Broadway Park in Fergus Falls.  Big Friday is the event created over 20 years ago by the Fergus Falls Parks and Recreation Department and Lake Region Community Television to showcase the city baseball and softball programs.  Teams that succeed in their quest to make it to Big Friday have their games recorded for playback on television and made available for sale in the form of a DVD as lifelong keepsakes.
 
LRCTV is long gone, but Peg Access continued the task of recording the six championship games.  General Manager Jim Francis and his crew put in a long day, setting equipment in place hours before the first game begins at 8:30 and completing tear down of equipment about an hour after the final games ends around 6:00pm.  Games will be re-played over the next several weeks on Fridays, with individual games starting at the same time they were played on Big Friday.  For DVD's contact Peg Acces at 218-739-1027.
 
Ever since Butch Benson and I sat down in the mid to late 80's to work out the details of Big Friday, I have had the privilege of providing the commentary for every game.  Without fail, someone will approach me on Big Friday and say something to the effect of, "We just watched our sons T-Ball championship from 1992!  It was great, and having the play-by-play makes it seem like a big event!"  It is a Big Event!  That's why it's called Big Friday.  It is a great way to celebrate a season of learning a great game and being a part of a team that participates in a league with an emphasis on recreational play, yet features a competitive flavor as well.  Playing all six title games back-to-back, on the same field, in front of great crowds, complete with concessions (this year provided by the Fergus Falls Gymnastics Academy as a fundraising event), recorded for TV, tell me that's not BIG!
 
Recreation Supervisor Trevor Johnson and Baseball and Softball Coordinator Casey Kowalski are to be commended for running a program that featured 665 kids on 56 teams, coached by a staff of conscientious high school and college students who know the game, and an additional 34 volunteer coaches.  It is a huge undertaking and they do it very well.
 
Here is what happened at Big Friday 2009. 
 
In the T-Ball game, the A's (coached by Brittany Gagner), defeated the Mets (coached by Ashley Peterson) 29-21.
 
In the Toss League game, the Indians (coached by Erika Magnusson), beat the Cubs (coached by Carl Hauser), 13-10.
 
In the Division I Softball Playoff game, the Twins (Ashley Peterson), beat the Reds (Brittany Gagner), 23-18.
 
The Angels (Jordan Ringquist) won the Division II Softball championship with a 22-19 win over the Braves (Derek Hansen).  Ashley Peterson coached the Braves in the absence of Hansen, who is participating in the Minnesota State American Legion Tournament with Fergus Falls Post 30.
 
In the Dwarf League game, the Dodgers scored five runs in the first inning and three in the second to open up an 8-1 lead over the Braves.  They held on for a 9-6 win.  The Braves had five triples in the game, four of them in their four run third inning, three of them consecutively.
 
In the Pony League game, the Dodgers led 10-2 after three innings and won by a final score of 12-4.
 
The weather was tremendous!  The rain came after everyone was on their way home, but you couldn't have ordered a better day for Big Friday.  I can hardly wait till next year!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, July 27, 2009
Pebble Lake Golf Club Update
Pebble Lake Golf Club has been the site of some great tournament action and some tremendous stories in recent days.  Pro Jeff Bass shared a lot of the results and information in a recent newsletter, which we'd like to pass on to our website visitors.
 
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
We had a very successful Club Championship weekend with great weather, excellent course conditions and set-up, and some compelling golf.  Mike Tuel out-lasted strong bids for the title by Brian Shuck and Kevin Swenson to capture his first Stroke Play Championship.  With a two-shot lead, Mike was just inches short of the 18th green and looked to be in control of the tournament.  Kevin hit a fabulous recovery shot, working his ball through the trees to a very tight hole location.  Brian was hole-high left of the always difficult front-left hole location.  In fact, the degree of difficulty on his chip was such that a 15-foot leave would be considered successful and a close chip almost improbable.  He not only chipped close but holed for a birdie that forced Mike to navigate a successful up-and-in.  Mike proved he was up to the task when his chip finished just inches away for the tap-in victory.  Kevin played the round of the tournament when he shot a blistering 67 in Sunday's morning eighteen to put himself into contention.  Lance Walvatne, en route to a fabulous final-nine 32, spun a 7-iron back into the hole on #17 for what was an extremely rare eagle-2 on the menacing four par.  Mike's 2-under par total of 177 put him one up on Brian and two ahead of Kevin.
 
As compelling as the action was in the Championship Flight, the story of the tournament was the Net Championship won by Dan Madsen.  For those unfamiliar with his story, Dan was in a horrific motorcycle accident last September.  With over 40 broken bones, Dan was hospitalized for months and was told he would never swing a golf club again.  So it was a great surprise to see Dan at the course this Spring, and not just as a visitor.  He has gradually worked his game into form and played the best two rounds he has had since his accident, recording an 82 and 83.  It has to be not just one of the great golf stories for 2009 at Pebble Lake Golf Club, but perhaps in the entire State.  Congratulations Dan!  Travis Johnson played very steady golf in taking the top spot in the Net Division 1st Flight. 
 
Erin Morstad dominated play in the Women's Championship, riding a big lead from a first-round 76 and cruising to victory on Sunday with an 82.  Sharon Boldenow recorded her third Senior Championship in the past 5 seasons with a 181 total.  And Rona Nitz played strong and steady golf with back-to-back net 68's to win the Net Division.
 
JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Monday, July 27 was Championship Day for the junior golfers as the final week of Junior League saw winners crowned for their season-long accomplishments while also vying for the Junior Club Championship in the various age categories.  Jack Nathe (Boys Under 12), Nikki Ellingson (Girls), and Keaton Lausch (Boys 15-18) won dual championships as both age division Club Champions and Season Champions in the Junior League.  In the Boys 13-15 bracket, Chris Swenson captured the Club Championship while Will Haas took the Junior League Championship.  Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the kids (and parents!) for their participation in this year's league.  Steve Lundeen is to be commended for his efforts in volunteering dozens of hours to operate the Junior League.  Steve not only runs the Monday competitions, but does a great job in encouraging proper behavior and developing tournament play for the junior players.  
 
MEN'S MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
A reminder to members that the 2009 Men's Match Play Championship will be August 8 & 9.  Entry deadline is 12:00 noon on Thursday, August 7.  Contact the Pro Shop to enter.
 
POT O' GOLD & LABOR DAY CLASSIC
We are working on details for this year's tournament, and the sign-up board will be up soon.  This year's tournament dates are September 5, 6, & 7 so clear your calender and make plans for the annual highlight of the golf season!
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, July 24, 2009
Reflections on Spartan Baseball from Kent Bothwell
Kent Bothwell spent the last fourteen years as a member of the faculty at M State in Fergus Falls and as the head baseball coach for the Spartans.  His teams had outstanding success through the years.  Bothwell recently found himself without a teaching position as program cuts in physical education classes at the college made it impossible for him to continue as baseball coach.  Bothwell penned the following letter to www.craigolsonsports.com reflecting on his years directing the program.
 
"Now being separated from Fergus Falls Community College, I look back at the last 14 years.

 

First of all, I am proud of what was achieved in education.    I am proud of the fact that players graduated from FFCC, players went on to pursue four year degrees, retention of athletes was up to 93%, and mandatory grade checks were so important.   I am proud of what was achieved in the classroom. 

 

I am obviously proud of what was achieved on the baseball field.  For many of you unaware of the wide scope of achievements - let me start with this list of improvements made possible by countless hours spent in raising money by players, parents and coaches.

 

Installed scoreboard

Completely fenced in the field & installed gates

Built bullpens

Installed flagpole (Thanks VFW)

Installed 2 foul poles and paid for them to be made

Installed windscreen

Built batting cage separate from field

Safety screens

Tarps

A second batting cage on wheels

Dugouts & press box painted 3 different times

Building the press box and storage, $7000.00 was raised to achieve this. 

 

Each year, hundreds & hundreds of donated hours to keep the field looking well kept. 

 

Accomplishments in the play of the game:

 

Fall baseball was organized

Travel to California, Florida, New York and Arizona

Overall record 305-185

7 divisional championships

3 state championships, 5 state championship games

4 Region XIII championship games (Winning in 2004)

Participated in 2004 World Series in Batavia, NY

Played in the Metro Dome 10 times

9 baseball team Spring trips ( California 3 times, Florida 5 times, Arizona 1 time) in which $20,000 a year had to be raised to go on these trips

2 pro ball players – Justin Arneson & Caleb Curry

11 All American players named

4 MN Player of the Year named

25 All-State players named

300 student athletes participated in baseball at FFCC

 

Networking with parents, coaches, umpires and seasoned players was spent in recruitment of players who loved the game of baseball.  Seeking a future player who would gain potential to love and respect their coaches and each other as a team.  Most importantly, being successful in life both on and off the field was gained.

 

The Spartan baseball teams had a strong following of parents, friends & former Spartan players to games on the road.

 

A baseball clinic was hosted with Sports Psychologist Ken Ravizza as the featured speaker.  One hundred people attended this successful event.

 

THANK YOU to:

 

Kyle Johnston

All Spartan baseball players & Alumni

Ron & Kellen Shebeck

Otter Tail Power Company

Parents, fans & people who actually cared

Craig Olson (Faithful reporting of Spartan baseball)

Coaches in the Spartan program

My wife Wilma & our three kids (Tera, Klint, Nick)

 

The experience of taking a group of 20 student athletes at a time -  helping them as human beings, students & ball players and finally achieving/learning together the attitude of a winner, the becoming of champions as a team is truly AWESOME!!!!

 

THE BEST TO ALL SPARTANS BASEBALL PLAYERS & THE BEST TO ALL SPARTANS!   Thanks for the opportunities.

 

HUSTLING, SCRAPPY, GETTING DIRTY!!!"

 

Coach Kent Bothwell
 
Coach Bothwell and his wife are dealing with the tragic death of their son, Klint.  Please remember to keep them and their entire family in your prayers.  I have appreciated Kent's consistent reporting of Spartan games, his passion for the game and his players, his dedication and perseverance.  I have also enjoyed our many conversations through the years and the opportunity he allowed for me to share with his classes.  Our best wishes go out to Coach Bothwell as he pursues a new position. 

 

 

 

Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Summer Baseball Playoffs Begin This Week
The Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 and VFW Post 612 baseball teams open District Tournament play this week. 
 
The Division I District 9 American Legion Baseball Tournament will be held in Thief River Falls from Wednesday, July 22 and Sunday, July 26.  Fergus Falls is the number one seed in the South and will play Crookston (#4 - North) at 1:00pm Wednesday in the second game of the tournament.  Moorhead (#3 - South) and East Grand Forks (#2 - North) will square off in the tournament opener at 10:00am.  Roseau (#3 - North) battles Perham (#2 - South) at 4:00pm and Detroit Lakes (#4 - South) faces Thief River Falls (#1 - North) in the seven o'clock game.
 
Post 30 brings a 10-9 record into tournament play and has scored 131 runs to their opponents 112.  Derek Hansen is the offensive leader, batting .492 with team highs in home runs (8), runs batted in (28), runs scored (21), hits (30) and stolen bases (8).  Matt Mithaugen (.432, 2HR, 12R), Jake Heck (.424, 7 2B, 2 3B, 16RBI, 18R, 28H, 9BB), Joe Anderson (.348, 7RBI, 11R), Spencer Kidder (.347, 9RBI, 12R, 5SB, 13BB) and Alex Hensch (.346) are all hitting over .300 for a team that has a batting average of .313.
 
Fergus Falls is without pitcher Nick Johnson (3-0, 1.05ERA) for the playoffs, who is now serving his country in the military service.  Heck (3-2, 3.74ERA, 24.1IP, 31K, 15BB), Kidder (20IP, 16K, 6BB, 2.45ERA), Kyle Shaikoski (1-1, 6.39 ERA, 15.1IP), Joe Anderson (2-3, 18IP, 6.61ERA) and Darin Stanislawski (0-1, 10IP, 20K, 8BB, 3.50ERA) have worked the bulk of innings on the mound with mixed results.  Opponents are hitting .283 against Fergus Falls pitching and the pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.29.
 
VFW Post 612 will begin District play as the number three seed and will open against East Grand Forks (#6) at five o'clock Thursday afternoon in Detroit Lakes.  Moorhead (#5) and Detroit Lakes (#4) will play the other first round game.  Bemidji (#1) and Perham (#2) receive first round byes.  With a first round win, Fergus Falls will play at 1:30pm Friday.  A loss would put them into an elimination game at 7:30pm Friday.
 
Post 612 has been led by Nick Heck (.470, 7 2B, 18 RBI, 16 R, 8 SB), Ben Woodman (.382, 10 RBI, 9R), Cody Briese (.361, 6 2B, 14 RBI), Conor Swenson (.346, 7 2B, 15 RBI, 20 R) and Luke Heck (.299, 11 RBI, 14 R, 8 SB).  Pitching leaders are Bennett Woods (3-2, 3.46 ERA, 30.1 IP, 22 K, 13 BB), Eden Beck (3-2, 3.71, 22.2 IP, 20 K 14 BB), Cody Lehman (2-2, 4.48 ERA, 25 IP, 19 K, 15 BB) an Cody Briese (1-2, 3.23 ERA, 21.2 IP).
 
The Division II District 9 American Legion Baseball Tournament will be played in Warroad beginning Wednesday.  First day pairings find Red Lake County (#3 - North) taking on D-G-F (#2 - South) at 10:30am, Frazee (#4 - South) squaring off against Fosston (#1 - North) at 1:00pm, Ada (#4 - North) battling Pelican Rapids (#1 - South) at 3:30pm, and Hawley (#3 - South) taking on Warroad (#2 - North) at 6:00pm.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, July 13, 2009
Pelican Rapids to Host South Sub-District 9 Division II American Legion Tournament
Chauncey Martin Field in Pelican Rapids will be the host site for the 2009 Division II, South Sub-District 9 American Legion Baseball Tournament this week.  The tournament begins on Thursday, July 16 and continues through Sunday, July 19.
 
The host Pelican Rapids Orange Sox are the top-seeded team, with Breckenridge receiving the number two seed, D-G-F number three and Hawley number four.
 
First round action begins at 10:00 a.m. Thursday with Breckenridge battling Barnesville.  The 12:30 p.m. game will feature D-G-F against Parkers Prairie.  At 3:00 p.m., Hawley goes up against Frazee and at 5:30 it will be Pelican Rapids and Lake Park-Audubon.
 
Elimination games will be played at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Friday between the first round losers.  First round winners will square off at 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Friday.
 
The top four teams from the South Sub-District will qualify for District 9 tournament action in Warroad July 22 through July 26, where they will be joined by the top four teams from the North Sub-District. 
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Spartan Basketball Camp
M State-Fergus Falls Head Men's Basketball Coach Jason Retzlaff is offering a Spartan Summer Basketball Camp for boys entering grades 2 through 5.  The camp will run from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 27 through Friday July 31 at the college gymnasium.  The cost is fifty dollars per camper.
 
"Our goal is to help you become a better basketball player, a first rate person and student," commented Retzlaff.  "We'll focus on instruction from the coaches and players, basic basketball fundamentals, including shooting, passing, ball handling, defense and rebounding, and the Spartan Philosphy of Excellence in Academics, Attitude and Athletics.  Plus, we're going to have a lot of fun learning the game."
 
 
Jason has also been working with a number of boys and girls in grades six through twelve in an individual instructional format.  This opportunity focuses on personalized basketball instruction in groups of four or less.  This unique experience allows players to receive first-hand instruction on a very personal basis and includes four one-hour sessions of instruction, scheduled on an individual basis, and a Spartan Basketball t-shirt. 
 
Instruction focuses on personal coaching of basketball fundamentals in small groups, drills that players can continue to use in the future practices and individualized instruction for specific areas that the player wishes to work on.
 
The cost is $80 per camper or $70 per camper if a group of four sign up together. 
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Pebble Lake Golf Club Tournament Results
Two tournaments have been held in the past week at Pebble Lake Golf Club in Fergus Falls.  On Monday, June 29, eight individuals qualified for the Minnesota Golf Association State Amateur Championship.  On Saturday, July 4, Brian Shuck won a sudden-death playoff with a birdie on the second extra hole to claim the title in the 4th of July Shortstop Tournament.
 
State Am qualifiers included three members of PLGC, Chris Daniels (74), Erik Johnson (72) and Mike Tuel (74).  Since three members of the club qualfied, Pebble Lake Golf Club will also be able to participate in the team portion of the tournament.  Other qualifiers included Curtis Carlson (73), Tyler Monda (71), Joseph Schornack (73), Evan Peters (72) and Jim Foss (71).
 
Shuck and Jason Anderson shot rounds of 71 at the 4th of July Shortstop Tournament on Saturday, leading to the playoff victory for Shuck.  Third place went to John Hagge with a 72.  Jere Hansen and Rick Frieburg tied for fourth place with 73's.
 
John Gillund won the First Flight with a net score of 68, one stroke in front of Karl BeckJohn Hatling and Gary Boldenow tied for third place with 71's.
 
In the Second Flight, Dan Madsen was the winner with a net score of 66.  He was followed by Craig Harrington (68), Jim Bakken (69) and Randy Highland (71).
 
The Fifth Annual Fred Evenson Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, July 17.  The cost is $100 per person with 4 or 5 person teams participating in a scramble format.  The cost includes green fees, dinner, prizes and a gift bag.  Proceeds will be used for course improvements and two $500 scholarships will be given to Fergus Falls graduating seniors from Dollars for Scholars.  Registration is at noon with a one o'clock shotgun start.  The social hour and dinner will begin at five o'clock.  A sign-up flyer can also be obtained from the Pebble Lake Golf Club web site at www.playpebblelake.com.  For more information contact Tony Rendz at [email protected].
 
Posted By Craig Olson
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