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Cornbelt North teams, unhappy with schedule and travel, split from league to form new affliation

WILLMAR -- After agreeing last year to stay affiliated with the Cornbelt South for another season of amateur baseball, the Cornbelt North has decided to break ties with its southern brethren.

"Last year we wanted out," said North president Buddy Beier. "But the South talked us into playing each other once. Even before last year we talked about leaving."

Atwater, New London-Spicer, Norway Lake-Sunburg, Paynesville, Regal and Starbuck make up the North and the six teams will stay together and play a 10-game league schedule on Sundays throughout the summer. Beier said the league's new name will be the County Line League.

The Cornbelt started up in 2002.

"Why they're breaking away gets me," said South president Mike Nagel. "It sets us back, but if the North isn't happy you have do what's in the best interest of the league. We'll be fine."

Beier said there got to be too many games for the North teams. Travel was also an issue as Starbuck and Milroy were separated by nearly 100 miles.

"Regal and Paynesville were interested in playing teams from the Stearns County League instead of being in Milroy or Granite Falls on Friday nights," said Beier.

The Stearns County League consists of 10 teams: Elrosa, Farming, Greenwald, Lake Henry, Meire Grove, New Munich, Richmond, Roscoe, St. Martin and Spring Hill. The league doesn't have any plans of expanding.

While the North isn't interested in adding any teams, the South is open to expanding. There has been talk that the Minneota Mudhens and the Tracy Express are interested in joining the South. The Benson Chiefs and Montevideo Spartans are also on the South's list for possible expansion.

The South currently consists of Bird Island, Granite Falls, Milroy, Raymond, Sacred Heart and Willmar.

Litchfield had been talking with the Cornbelt about joining, but the Blues will likely stay with the Lakewood League as they were interested in moving into the North.

Jesse Fuchs
I have been with the Tribune since the summer of 1998. I enjoy covering the high school aspect of the business and designing pages.
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