ST. PAUL — The spring track and field season came to a close on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Klas Field at Hamline University. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's Keiser Freetly posted the best finish of area athletes with a second place finish in the 800 meter run for the second year in a row, crossing the finish line at 1:57.48. Melrose's Jesse Middendorf passed Freetly in the final stretch and posted a winning time of 1:56.62.
MANKATO - Sleepy Eye cut BOLD's dream season short with a 3-2 victory in the Section 2A final Thursday night at Franklin Rogers Park. BOLD ends the season at 19-2 with both losses coming to Sleepy Eye, the tournament's No. 7 seed, in the playoffs. The Indians, meanwhile, will head to the Class A state tournament which kicks off Thursday at the Chaska Athletic Park. Sleepy Eye sent senior right-hander Avery Stevens to the bump to battle with BOLD ace and fellow senior James Woelfel for an old-fashioned pitchers duel that lived up to the hype.
WACONIA - Willmar third baseman Caleb Ditmarson doesn't remember throwing the ball across the diamond to end Wednesday's game, but it will be a moment—and a night—that will never be forgotten. The Willmar Cardinals are bound for the state tournament for the first time since 1987 after topping Benilde-St. Margaret's 3-2 in the Section 6AAA championship Wednesday evening at Lions Field. The Cards open the Class AAA state tournament on June 14 at Siebert Field on the University of Minnesota campus.
GRANITE FALLS - Lac qui Parle Valley had KMS on the ropes multiple times in Tuesday's Section 3A losers bracket final. The Saints, however, had an answer to everything. KMS scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and used a game-winning sacrifice fly from Dylan Rudningen to win 5-4 and move to the Section 3A final. The Saints will get their first crack against Wabasso at 5 p.m. Thursday in Milroy.
WACONIA - The only thing standing in Willmar's way of a trip to the Section 6AAA finals was Waconia, the defending Class AAA state champions. No big deal, right? Caleb Ditmarson certainly wasn't fazed. The senior right-hander tossed a one-hit gem to help the Cardinals top the Wildcats 3-0 and remain undefeated in postseason play. The Cardinals will take on the winner of the losers bracket final between Benilde-St. Margaret's and Waconia at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Waconia.
MOORHEAD - Willmar's Cayle Hovland punched her ticket to the state meet with a second-place finish in the discus and a qualifying throw in the shot put, leading the charge of state-qualifying Cardinals during the Section 8AA Track and Field Meet . Willmar's girls 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams took first place to earn a spot in the state meet, which kicks off Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul. The Section 8AA meet took place over two days, starting Wednesday in Willmar and wrapping up Saturday in Moorhead.
MARSHALL - New London-Spicer scored early to take a lead and stave off elimination in the Section 3AA playoffs with a 4-3 win over Fairmont Thursday. Will Roguske earned the win from the bump with seven strikeouts and Trent Pientka pitched the final 1-2/3 innings, closing the door and securing victory. Roguske didn't log a hit but drove in a pair of runs to keep the Wildcats' season alive. NLS' Payton Madison was 2-for-3 and scored a run, Mitchell Kruger and Trent Rohloff both doubled and Ethan Haugen had a hit and drove in a run.
BIRD ISLAND - The base of BOLD's undefeated season is its lights-out pitching and James Woelfel kept that trend going in Thursday's Section 2A playoff game against Martin Luther-GHEC-Truman. Woelfel spun a gem to out-duel Derek Shoen of ML-GHEC-T and guide the Warriors to a 2-1 win and a spot in the winners bracket final against Sleepy Eye. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Franklin Roger Park in Mankato.
WILLMAR - The Thunder Bay Border Cats ended Willmar's winless start to the season with a 3-2 win against the Stingers Thursday night. The Stingers took an early lead with a pair of runs scored in the fourth inning but the Border Cats responded with two of their own in the sixth inning and added one more in the seventh to take the win. Alexander Nolan was nearly unhittable for the Border Cats, allowing just three hits across his six innings.
WILLMAR - The Willmar Stingers really have this pitching thing down. Just one day after a season-opening gem from Braden Scott, Louie Varland followed up with another bit of brilliance in a 2-1 win over the St. Cloud Rox to give the Stingers their first series sweep of the season.