Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers scored nine runs in the first four innings, then held off Rochester from chipping away a six-run lead and defeated the Honkers 10-7 on Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium. The Stingers, led by Alex Reyes' six runs batted in, ended a three-game losing streak and improved to 14-8 in the Northwoods League North Division second-half standings. The Stingers are a game behind first-place Eau Claire and get a chance to make up ground on the Express with a pair of games in Eau Claire today and Sunday.
Spicer's Green Lake Diamond will be host to the American Legion Division II State Baseball Tournament this weekend, and the nine team field includes the New London-Spicer and BOLD Mudhens teams. NLS received an automatic berth as the tournament host and the BOLD Mudhens won the District 7 also are in the field. Two of the six opening-day games on Friday will be played in Paynesville, with the remaining games on Friday, Saturday and the third-place and championship games on Sunday played at Green Lake Diamond.
Teams from eight states competing for the 2017 Midwest Cup will tee it up beginning Thursday at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Willmar. Ten-player teams from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin compete annually in the rotating event at host courses in one of the eight states. At least two seniors compete on each state's team. The Midwest Cup features the top Mid-Amateur golfers in the Midwest. More than one-sixth of the players are former state amateur champions and hold more than 100 state championships.
WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers surrendered a three-run lead in a big way, with Thunder Bay scoring six runs in the fifth inning and riding a strong effort from the Border Cat relief corps to win 7-5 on Sunday at Bill Taunton Stadium. Colin Rosenbaum homered and drove in three runs for the Border Cats. Willmar's Josh Bissonette had a hit and drove in two runs and Tyler Reichenborn and Luke Becker also had hits and drove in runs. Caleb Ledbetter that 2-for-3 with a double. The Stingers wrap up a two-game set against the Border Cats at 7:30 p.m. today at Taunton.
Jacob Zosel is a humble sort, with an ever-present, almost impish smile and a grounded maturity so atypical of most teenagers that he lists youth pastor or maybe elementary teacher as his vocational goals. But move Zosel into his given competitive arena—be it gridiron, court or course—and opponents are probably quick to ask how it is that Mr. Nice Guy can be so good at relentlessly tearing them up.
When a coach calls you one of the best players she's ever coached, you're probably a pretty impressive talent. When that kind of praise comes from a coach who one day will be in her sport's hall of fame, you're the kind of player who will be the standard for all who come after you. When your coaches in your other two sports say pretty much the same thing, you're Samantha Gjerde. And you are also the West Central Tribune's Hengstler-Ranweiler Award winner as the area's top female three-sport prep athlete.
WILLMAR - Buffalo scored four seventh-inning runs to cement a 7-2 victory over Willmar Legion Post 167 on Monday in a game that was a one-run affair after six innings. Buffalo's Mitch Gabrekcik had two hits and also worked a complete game to earn the win. Willmar's Noah Vreeman and Tyler Johnson both had two hits and Dalton Rambow and Jack Baumgart had Post 167's other hits. Willmar travels to play at Kerkhoven at 6 p.m. today. Prior to Monday's game, Post 167 and fans honored several veterans, and former Legion player Jim Buisman threw out the first pitch.
GLENWOOD - Matt Gruber worked a complete game and a four-run sixth inning helped Glenwood/Lowry overcome a two-run deficit and down Willmar 5-3 on Saturday. Gruber allowed just three hits and struck out eight. Ryan Christianson had a pair of hits for G/L. Willmar's Avery Smith doubled and drove in a run and Tyler Johnson and Jack Baumgart had Post 167's other hits. Willmar plays host to Buffalo at 7 p.m. today at Taunton Stadium. G/L 5, Willmar 3 Willmar 100 200 0-3 3 1 Glenwood/Lowry 000 014 x-5 5 3
WILLMAR - Josh Proehl defeated Ryan Ackerman in three sets to win the Willmar Fests Men's Open Singles championship over the weekend at the Willmar High School courts. Michael Gutman won the Men's A Singles, Chad Schmiesing and Brent Gloege won the Men's Doubles and Corey Spencer and Brett Rodenberg won the Men's A Doubles. Maddy Spencer won the Women's Open Singles title, Haley Knorr won the Women's A Singles, Cayle Hovland and Marissa Toivonen won the Women's Open Doubles and Manny Obregon and Elise Bierbaum won the A Mixed Doubles.
WILLMAR - Spicer's Frank Gustafson and Willmar's Katie Reigstad were the men's and women's Foot Lake 4 winners on Saturday. Gustafson finished in 22 minutes, 2 seconds to edge Sauk Rapids' Sam Ringger by 37 seconds. Willmar's Mason Wendt was third, Dawson's Mike Kvaal was fourth and Willmar's Breck Erickson was fifth. Reigstad finished in 25:19. Benson's Roxanne Lorenz was second in 26:28, and Linda Keller of Carrboro, N.C., was third, Raymond's Becky Graves was fourth and Grace Graves of Flower Mound, Texas, placed fifth. Foot Lake 4 Run/Walk