Jake Schultz is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune, working his first job out of college. He graduated from St. John's University (CSB/SJU) in 2016 and is a baseball fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @StJake29.
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The Northwoods League All-Star break is a three-day recovery period for a number of players around the league amid the night-in, night-out grind of the summer. Those players selected for the All-Star game, however, aren't complaining. Just a week after Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities, two Willmar Stingers will play among the best the Northwoods League has to offer Tuesday July 24 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
DATELINE - Andy Schultz delivered a ninth-inning walk-off knock up the middle to guide Willmar Legion Post 167 past Litchfield 4-3 Friday night at Bill Taunton Stadium. Kaden Kessler-Gross started the game for Post 167, allowing just two runs in five innings of work before giving way to Drey Dirksen who pitched the game's final four innings to earn the win. He struck out six batters and allowed just one hit.
Ted Williams is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players to ever put on a cap and his 1941 season is best remembered for his batting average. He hit .406 that season and it's a feat that hasn't been accomplished since. Scores of professional baseball players have tried and failed to reach that mark and it's not likely to happen anytime soon.
WILLMAR - The sounds of growling engines and pleading tires filled the air Thursday night at KRA Speedway as the track hosted it's weekly Race Night, reminding racing fans that summer is in full swing. Avon's Eric Martini, pictured right in his D1RT car, took first in the second heat of the A Modifieds.
MINNEAPOLIS - The saying that baseball is a game of inches was on full display Thursday in Willmar’s Class AAA quarterfinal against Alexandria. Alexandria’s Brady Reisdorf sent a ground ball just inches past the outstretched glove of Willmar first baseman Jack Baumgart in the third inning, allowing two teammates to score and that was all the Cardinals from the north needed to top Willmar 2-1 at Siebert Field.
BIG LAKE - Willmar's dream softball season came to an end Friday afternoon as Rocori completed the comeback from the losers bracket to win a pair against the Cardinals and win the Section 5AAA title and a trip to the state tournament. Rocori claimed the championship with a 5-0 win over Willmar in the second game after forcing a deciding game with a 14-6 win in Friday's first game. The Spartans open Minnesota State Softball Tournament play on Thursday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
The boys are back in town. The Willmar Stingers kick off their ninth season in the Northwoods League today against the St. Cloud Rox at Bill Taunton Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Former Minnesota Twin and World Series Champion Scott Erickson will be on hand to meet with fans, sign autographs and throw out the game's first pitch. A fireworks show will cap the night.
Jasmin Estrada stares at her bat before stepping into the batter's box. She glares at it. It's like she's intimidating it, telling it to do as she demands. She steps into the box, one foot at a time, with the bat hovering just above her left shoulder, the way it has tens of thousands of times in the batting cage. Now, it's the pitcher's turn for the staredown. Estrada's older brother, Eddie, calls it her killer mentality. "As corny as it is, she has the eye of the tiger," Eddie Estrada said.
BIRD ISLAND—The BOLD Warriors are a bonafide hitting and pitching machine. The Warrior baseball team kept ACGC at bay Tuesday afternoon, winning the opening game 5-1 behind a powerful pitching performance by James Woelfel, paving the way for an offensive explosion in game two that went 13-1 in favor of BOLD.
The baseball and softball seasons started yesterday and then I blinked and now they're almost over. OK, so maybe they didn't just start yesterday, but it certainly feels like it and it's tough to put all of these games in context. Maybe you missed a day or two of the paper and you're not sure where your rival team is sitting. It's OK, I won't begrudge you. Not too much, anyways.