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.
ST. CLOUD - Chris Sundmark pitched both wins as Litchfield emerged from the Section 5AA loser's bracket Tuesday in St. Cloud to reach the championship round where they will meet defending state champion Paynesville. The Dragons knocked off Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 11-8 behind an 18-hit attack in the first game and then banished Delano 4-3 on only three hits. Sunmark went the last four innings of the first game and all seven of the nightcap at Faber Field. Litchfield plays Paynesville at 5 p.m. Thursday in St. Cloud, needing two wins to advance to the state tournament.
WILLMAR - The Willmar VFW baseball team opened its season with a 12-0 win over Starbuck at Bill Taunton Stadium on Tuesday. Mike Dunham tripled and singled and drove in a run for Willmar. Ben Ruter drove in two runs on two hits. Mike Dunham, Jordan J. Smith and Jordan R. Smith also had two hits each. Winning pitcher George Jacobson threw four innings, allowing only one hit. He walked none and struck out seven.
COON RAPIDS - Willmar senior Derek Hilding shot 39-44-83 Tuesday on Day 1 of the Class AA state meet at Bunker Hills Golf Course. Hilding is tied for 69th place with four others in an original field of 87 players. In his first state tournament, Hilding struggled on his first nine - the West Course holes 10-18 - starting with consecutive bogeys. But he found his form on his second nine (the East Course) and shot a 39, which included two birdies. "Derek struggled with his putting in the front nine," said Willmar coach Dave Ellwood. "He missed four putts inside three feet.
Willmar's Eagle Creek Golf Club saw its first hole-in-one of the season when Jon Heath used a 6-iron to ace the 163-yard No. 2 last Tuesday.
Boys Golf CLASS AA STATE TOURNAMENT At Coon Rapids Area participant: Derek Hilding, Willmar, 11:40 a.m. CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT At Onamia Area participants: Minnewaska team (Matt Chan, Ben Henke, Ryan Kollman, Evan Peters, Pierce Peters, John Wedum); Nate Carlson, New London-Spicer; Tim Dreier, New London-Spicer; Mike Dvorak, Litchfield; Max Martin, Morris; Barry Rothwell, MACCRAY, 8:35 a.m. Girls Golf CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT At Onamia Area participants: Minnewaska team (Lisa Blair, Courtney Boe, Chelsey Falk, Allie Ostrander, Emily Roering, Sarah Roering); Amy Banken
Senior Derek Hilding will represent Willmar at the Class AA boys golf tournament today and Wednesday at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. The first-time state qualifier will tee off at 12:25 p.m. on the West Course. Alexandria, the Central Lakes Conference champion, ranks among the favorites with four players returning from last year's second-place team. In the girls' meet, only Woodbury returns from 2005. Eight teams and 88 individuals will contend for honors in each.