Joe Brown and Jake Schultz
WACONIA - Ill-timed walks helped Waconia score two run in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Wildcats knocked Willmar into the Section 6AAA losers bracket with a 4-3 victory on Thursday. Willmar twice held two-run leads but Waconia's final at-bat was fatal to the Cards' efforts to remain in the section winners' bracket. "Things were going really well," Willmar head coach Tom DeBoer said. "It was just one tough inning. We played a good team, and that's baseball."
Scenes from the Willmar Stingers' 2019 home-opener on Wednesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.
BUFFALO LAKE — The first-year co-op of Minnewaska/Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa clinched a spot in the Class AA state tournament after winning the Section 3AA championship Tuesday at Oakdale Golf Club. The Blue Jackets had a 31-stroke improvement on it's Day 1 score with a 316 on Tuesday, bringing the tournament total to 663. Marshall, last year's section champions, were second with 707, followed by Fairmont's 726.
MARSHALL — The game got away from ACGC in the fifth and sixth innings as the Falcons suffered through five errors and they couldn't solve Luverne pitcher Jake Haugen in a 9-0 loss in the Section 3AA playoffs on Tuesday. The Falcons managed just two hits and Zach Bagley took the loss. "Zach did not deserve to five up nine runs," ACGC head coach Mike Kingery said of Bagley, who allowed just four earned runs and struck out five. "We made some good defensive plays but we missed several routine plays. We just did not make enough plays for him."
BROOTEN — Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa was on the brink. Hosting fifth-seeded Hancock in the opening round of the Section 6A tournament, the Jaguars were down 7-4 with three outs left in their season. That's when the offense found its stride and kept BBE's season alive. Moving the batters around with three walks and four hits, the Jaguars completed the improbable comeback with an 8-7 victory. Cassandra Tensen and Amber Jaeger opened the bottom of the seventh inning with walks before a knock to center field by Josie Knutson brought Tensen home.
FERGUS FALLS - Willmar swept Fergus Falls in a pair of Central Lakes Conference games thanks to key pitching Monday afternoon. Willmar won 4-3 and 2-1. In the first game, the Cardinals scored three runs in the second inning to rebound from a two-run Otter first inning and take a narrow lead. Willmar moved it to 4-2 in the fifth inning and never looked back.
BECKER — Willmar's doubles team of Peyton Fischer and Hunter Fischer defeated Sartell's Thomas Connolly and Max Fesenmaier 6-3, 6-2 to win the Section 8AA South Sub-Section championship on Monday. The Cardinals' team defeated teammates Will Fischer and Ryan Ackerman 6-2, 1-6 and 7-5 in the semifinals, and Fischer and Ackerman went on to defeat Sartell's Austin Adelman and Patrick Stalboerger 6-0, 6-3 in the sub-section third-place match. Becker's Jacob Lukkarila defeated Bulldogs teammate Brady Gruenhagen 6-0, 6-1 to win the sub-section singles championship.
Winning Thursday's West Central Conference meet in Montevideo, Minnewaska finished the regular season tied with Melrose for the conference championship. The Lakers — which won the Montevideo met with 166 to Melrose's 169 — tied with the Dutchmen with 58 total points. Morris/Chokio-Alberta and BOLD tied for third overall with 46 points. Montevideo's Seth Olson was the medalist with a round of 36, winning by three strokes. West Central Conference At The Crossing Golf Club, Montevideo Team scoring
PAYNESVILLE — Paynesville gave up a big lead but redemption came in a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded in the ninth, Paynesville's Skylar Burg tagged and scored the winning run on Kylee Everson's fly ball behind second base in the Bulldogs' 9-8 win over Sauk Centre on Thursday. Paynesville led by six runs through four innings, but Sauk Centre scored twice in the fifth and two Bulldogs errors led to six Mainstreeters runs in the top of the sixth and a two-run deficit.
BENSON — Noah Dietz shot 73 to best New London-Spicer teammate Peyton Coahran by two shots for medalist honors and the pair helped lead the Wildcats' boys team to victory at the Benson Invitational on Wednesday at the Benson Golf Club. Lac qui Parle Valley's Harrison Patzer finished third carding a 76. The Wildcats finished at 325 to finish 10 shots clear of second-place Minnewaska. LQPV was third at 3342 and Willmar Community Christian was fourth at 356.