Archive for Sports

KIP KOVAR: New Germany, Waconia combine as perfect hosts for Region 7C tournament

The Region 7C tournament is always a special time for baseball fans around the area. With eight of the top teams vying for one of four spots in the state tournament, you never know what might happen.

Last year, we saw the eighth-seeded Brownton Bruins upset the top-seeded Plato Bluejays in the first round. That upset setup one of the most intriguing state qualifier games in sometime, between Plato and Green Isle.

This year, we saw the Young America Cardinals rally for three runs in the top of the ninth inning and knock off the second-seeded Waconia Lakers, clinching their first state tournament appearance since 2012.

That four-year absence was nothing compared to what the Carver Black Sox accomplished, though. After missing the tournament for 34 straight years, the Black Sox finally broke through with a 6-0 win against the Watertown Red Devils, to punch their ticket to the state tournament.

Not only did fans see some great games and incredible performances, they also got to witness all of that in two pretty awesome locations.

New Germany was the main site for the Region 7C tournament this year. By not having lights for the night games during the week, the Dutchmen called on the Waconia Lakers for some help.

With New Germany and Waconia being the hosts, it gave fans two different sides to the state of amateur baseball in Minnesota.

In New Germany, fans were treated to an old ballpark that has been a staple in the community since 1955. It may not be the prettiest ballpark to look at it, but there’s plenty of history and things to love about the home of the Dutchmen.

Eric Roepke, the son of hall of famer Gerald “Beans” Roepke, did an incredible job of getting the field ready in New Germany for the tournament. With not much time to get things ready for the tournament, Roepke did a fantastic job getting the field ready for the busiest time of the year. Oh, and he also did a great job of getting the softball fields ready for the firemens tournament that was going on in town, as well.

Not only was the field in great shape and ready to go, the volunteers and all of those involved also delivered with a great concession stand. Between the burgers, cheese curds, fries, cold beer, and other snacks, fans had all they could hope for while taking in a great ball game.

With just one little grandstand and some small bleachers normally, the Dutchmen took out all the stops. The Dutchmen brought in the football bleachers from Mayer Lutheran High School, and gave fans plenty of choices of where to sit to take in the game.

It’s safe to say, the New Germany Dutchmen and their volunteers didn’t disappoint as hosts, and breaking a new attendance record proves it. Last year, Region 7C set a new attendance record with 2,707. This year, Region 7C added another 151 to that record, making the new record 2,858. They also set the single-day attendance record with 610, as well.

The New Germany Dutchmen couldn’t have done it alone though, and that’s what made this year’s tournament so special. The Waconia Lakers, who host one of the newest, and perhaps the best, grandstands in the state were the co-hosts.

The Waconia Baseball Association did a marvelous job in getting a brand new grandstand to accompany a gorgeous field at Lions Field.

Not only did Waconia offer a special grandstand with a gorgeous field, they also knocked the concessions out of the park. Burgers? Check. Pulled pork? Check. Pulled pork on a burger? Check.

From one ballpark to another. Fans were treated to a great experience, as that’s just one of many reasons Region 7C broke their own attendance record for the second-straight year.

From the history of New Germany, to the modern beauty of Waconia, the Dutchmen and the Lakers were a perfect pair to host the Region 7C tournament.

Two towns, two ballparks, numerous volunteers, and endless memories for fans, players, and everyone who attended.

Mark “Whitey” Forsman retires as DC Saints Manager

Mark “Whitey” Forsman has announced his retirement as manager of the DC Saints, after 32 years at the helm.

Forsman took charge of the Saints in 1983, when he as just 19 years old. He built the team into a perennial contender, as the squad made the state tournament 13 times, including a second-place finish in 1993. The Saints finished with 11 league championships, six region titles, and six region runner-up titles under Forsman’s tutelage.

Forsman was also instrumental in transforming Saints Field into a Minnesota amateur baseball gem. His tireless efforts resulted in two state tournaments being hosted at Saints Field, the most recent of which was last summer.

Long-time player Andrew Carlson will take over the reigns for Forsman next season.

Look for the full story in Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch.

 

Four local pitchers drafted for baseball Class C State Tournament

Four local amateur baseball pitchers – three Saints, and one Kernel – were drafted by state tournament-bound teams from the North Star League/Region 12C playoffs.

The 13-team North Star League doubles as Region 12C for the Class C amateur tournament. Per state tourney rules, each team that makes the big dance can draft three pitchers from region teams that did not make the tournament.

From the Saints, top pitchers Tyler Zweibohmer and Jordan Flick were drafted by top-seeded Hutchinson, while Michael Leffler was selected by Maple Lake.

Lefthander Zweibohmer, the first selection of the draft, finished with a 1.92 ERA in league play, while righty Flick (second round) finished with a 1.11 ERA.

Hard-throwing lefty Leffler, selected in the third round, finished with a 5.64 ERA, but had 24 strikeouts in 22 innings.

From the Kernels, Vinne Pokornowski was selected by the Howard Lake Orphans. Pokornowski was gone for much of the season due to school and getting married, but finished with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings during league play. He also gave up just three earned runs in the Kernels’ 4-1 loss to top-seeded Hutchinson.

Look for the full story in this week’s Enterprise Dispatch.

 

Trever Kaiser verbally commits to DII U of Mary

DC boys basketball star Trever Kaiser has verbally committed to the NCAA Division II University of Mary.

Kaiser became the all-time leading scorer in Charger history last season as a junior, finishing the year with 563 points, and a 22.5 ppg average.

He currently stands atop the Charger basketball leaderboard for points, with 1,187 points, 42 more than second-place Matt Nyquist. Every point he scores this season will be a new DC record.

The University of Mary, which plays in the NCAA Division II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), is coached by Joe Kittell. Mary has finished 31-29 in the last two years of Kittell’s tenure.

Look for the full story in Monday’s Enterprise Dispatch.

DC Sports Schedule, Week of Aug. 18-14

Monday, Aug. 21

DC Cross Country: at Gale Woods Farm, Minnestrista, 4 p.m. (Scrimmage)

Thursday, Aug. 24

DC Cross Country: at River Falls, 4:15 p.m.

First games/meets:

DC Girls Swimming: at Hutchinson, Aug. 26, 10 a.m.

DC Volleyball: at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

DC Football: vs. Little Falls, Sept. 1, 7 p.m.

BACK TO STATE: Orphans headed back to state tournament for 11th time since 2000

DASSEL – The name Howard Lake Orphans has become a staple at the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball tournament over the years. For the 11th time since 2000, the Orphans will be back at the state tournament, after missing out last year, with a 6-2 victory against the Dassel-Cokato Saints Wednesday night.

“Last year, we probably deserved too talent wise,” Orphans manager Mike Gagnon said. “This year, we maybe didn’t deserve talent wise. But you know, you play the game, and see how it comes out. It’s sweet. Especially when the expectations were lower. To make state, it’s a rewarding feeling.”

With the season on the line, there was no doubt who Gagnon would turn to, to lead his team on the mound. Mike Dockendorf, who posted a 1.13 ERA in 72 innings of work this regular season, delivered once again for his team in a big spot.

“He deserves to be MVP pitcher of the league this year,” Orphans manager Mike Gagnon said. “He’s not had a bad outing. He’s not lost a game for us all year. He just competes like heck. He’s really learned how to change speeds. He doesn’t walk guys, and he just gives you a great chance because he competes.”

Dockendorf went seven and one-third innings in the victory for the Orphans. His only blemish came from a two-run home run following an error. After giving up the home run, Dockendorf wasted no time in getting back in control of things. He struck out the next two batters he faced to get out of the inning, as he finished with 11 strikeouts when it was all said and done.

“He was coming back on a little short rest,” Gagnon said. “He had 100-plus pitches last Friday, so it was a little short break for him. I knew he could maybe lose a little at the end, but he competed like heck.”

Along with another solid start from Dockendorf on the mound, the Orphans got production from all over the lineup in clutch situations. After three innings, the Orphans had a 2-0 lead, thanks to clutch two-out RBI singles from Steve Boger and Riley Gruenhagen.

In the top of the fifth, Boger made it a 3-0 game with another RBI single, and the Orphans were off and running. An RBI single by Brett Ahsenmacher made it 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, and an RBI double from Jake Gruenhagen extended the Orphans’ lead to 5-0 after six innings of play.

“Our young guys have grown up a little bit,” Gagnon said. “In addition to pitching, a kind of key to our season this year is Mitch Baumann. He didn’t play hardly at all in college, but he practiced with the team at Morris. When Matt Donovan got hurt, he had to step up, and defensively he did a great job for us. If you pitch and catch, you have a chance.”

With the win, the Orphans are headed back to the state tournament after missing out last season. They will face the winner of the last state qualifier game between Loretto and Hutchinson Saturday, Aug. 12 at 4 p.m. The Orphans have locked up a spot in the state tournament, but will continue to finish up Region 12C play to determine the seeding order.

“We’ll just take it one game at a time,” Gagnon said. “We’re going to play to win. The stomach will be a little more relaxed than tonight’s game. Jared has had a good season, too. If Jared is on, we’ll have a chance to win on Saturday, and then you just take it one game at a time.”

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter.

Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports