The Willmar Cardinals softball team opens against Minnetonka in the Class AAA state fastpitch softball tournament at 11 a.m. today at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Willmar (19-4), which won the Central Lakes Conference title, was third in Class AAA last spring. Minnetonka (21-2), the Lake Conference champion, is making its first trip to state since 2000. Win or lose, Willmar will play again at 5 p.m. today.
Litchfield and Paynesville meet in the Section 5AA final today at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Morris faces St. Cloud Cathedral in the 6AA final at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud, Lac qui Parle Valley will battle Pipestone in the 3AA final at Granite Falls and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg plays Southwest United in the 3A final at Marshall. All games begin at 5 p.m. and a second game would follow if necessary.
The fourth annual Steve Bly Memorial Fun Run/Walk and 3-person best ball golf tournament will be held on June 25 in Madison. The Fun Run/Walk 5k race begins at 8 a.m. Registration fee is $10 and includes a t-shirt. Register at Madison Elementary School at 7:45 p.m. For more information, call John Shurb at 320-568-2435. The nine-hole golf tournament at Madison Golf Club costs $20 per person. Call for a tee time at 320-598-7587.
RAYMOND - Jed Nelson knocked in the eventual winning run with a ground out in the seventh inning as Raymond rallied to post a 4-3 win over Willmar in the Cornbelt League Wednesday. Zach Nelson had tied the game at 3-3 earlier in the seventh before Jed Nelson knocked in pinch-runner Tyler Steen with the go-ahead run. Nate Hebrink worked all nine innings to pick up the win, striking out 11 along the way.
Prep Softball CLASS AAA STATE TOURNAMENT At North Mankato Willmar vs. Minnetonka, 11 a.m. (Willmar will play again at 5 p.m. regardless how it does in the first round) Prep Baseball SECTION 3AA Championship At Granite Falls Lac qui Parle Valley vs. Pipestone, 5 p.m. (second game to follow if necessary) SECTION 5AA Championship At Joe Faber Field, St. Cloud Litchfield vs. Paynesville, 5 p.m. (second game to follow if necessary) SECTION 6AA Championship At Dick Putz Field, St. Cloud Morris vs. St. Cloud Cathedral, 5 p.m.
BURNSVILLE - Peter Zender, at 2-singles for Litchfield, won a three-set match Tuesday to help the Dragons slip by Marshall School, Duluth, 4-3 in a Class A state boys tennis quarterfinal tilt Tuesday. Zender rallied from a 2-6 loss in the first set to grab the second and third sets 6-4, 6-2. Litchfield won three points at singles and another at 3-doubles. The Dragons will meet the defending state champions, Mounds View Academy, at 8 a.m. today back at the Northwest Athletic Club in Burnsville. The St. Paul private school, ranked No. 1 by the Coaches Association, dispatched No. 2 St.
ST. CLOUD - Sparked by another solid performance from John Hemingson on the mound, Paynesville is one step closer to repeating as Class AA champions as the Bulldogs upended Delano 10-1 Tuesday to advance to the Section 5AA championship. Paynesville (18-4) will now take on Litchfield at 5 p.m. Thursday on Joe Faber Field in the final. A second game would follow if Litchfield can beat the Bulldogs. Paynesville beat Litchfield 4-3 in the Section 5AA-20 final last Wednesday. Hemingson gave up only four hits and no earned runs while issuing just two walks in his complete-game win.
ST. CLOUD -- Chase Rambow tossed a three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to help Morris advance to the Section 6AA final after blanking Pierz 6-0 Tuesday at Dick Putz Field. The Tigers (11-11) will take on St. Cloud Cathedral Thurday at 5 p.m. back on Dick Putz Field. A second game would follow if the Crusaders beat Morris. Rambow scored what proved to be the only run he would need in the first inning on an error.
MARSHALL - Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg took an early 9-4 lead and held on to oust Wabasso 10-9 Tuesday in Section 3A baseball elimination-bracket game. The Fighting Saints (16-4) will play Southwest United at 5 p.m. Thursday at Legion Park in Marshall.
MARSHALL - Lac qui Parle Valley rallied from a 7-1 deficit to defeat BOLD 9-8 in eight innings in a Section 3AA elimination game Tuesday. The loss eliminates BOLD and sends the Eagles to the championship where they'll need to beat Pipestone twice, starting 5 p.m. Thursday in Granite Falls. BOLD lost for the fourth time to LQPV and for the second time in the playoffs. BOLD vaulted to the lead in the fourth.