Archive for ED Sports

DCHS Sports Schedule, 4/16-4/25

TUESDAY, APRIL 16

DC softball at GSL, 4:30 p.m.

DC baseball at Rockford, 4:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

DC baseball vs. HLWW, 4:30 p.m. (HS)

DC softball vs. New London-Spicer, 4:30 p.m.

MONDAY, APRIL 22

DC baseball at Mound Westonka, 4:30 p.m.

DC softball vs. Annandale, DH, 3:30 p.m.

DC boys golf at Little Crow GC, Spicer, WCC West meet, 4 p.m.

TUESDAY, APRIL 23

DC softball vs. Rockford, 4:30 p.m.

Dc girls golf at Burl Oaks GC, Mound, WCC West meet, TBD

DC track & field at New London-Spicer, WCC West quadrangular, 4:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, APRIL 25

DC softball at Litchfield, DH, 3:30 p.m.

DC boys golf at Burl Oaks GC, Mound, WCC West meet, TBD

DC track & field relay meet at Maple Lake, 4 p.m.

DC softball opens season with split

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

The Dassel-Cokato softball team opened up the season by splitting their first two games of the year, both at home.

DC fell to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 6-3 Friday before gaining an 8-4 victory over Watertown-Mayer Tuesday.

HLWW 6, DC 3

COKATO – The visiting Lakers pushed across five runs in the fourth inning, and held on for a 6-3 victory in the season opener for both teams Friday.

The Chargers cracked out 12 hits, but stranded 10 runners on base including leaving the bases loaded in the third and fifth, and runners on second and third in the second.

“Getting the runners on is promising, and we will work hard to close that gap as the season moves forward for us,” said coach Wendy Runquist.

Bethany Wagner drove in all three runs for DC, scoring Brooke Koelln on a sac fly in the first, and scoring Katelyn Lee and Anya Liefermann with a two-run single in the fourth.

Amy Kivisto threw a complete game on the mound, giving up nine hits and one earned run, while walking five and striking out five.

“Amy had a good first game. Our defense held tough for a few innings and let our nerves get the best of us for some innings,” said Runquist. “Consistency both offensively and defensively will be the focus for us to grow.”

Lee, Leifermann, Kivisto, and Annie Seaberg all had two hits for DC, with Liefermann and Seaberg cracking doubles.Koelln reached base three times from the leadoff slot, with a single and two walks.

DC 8, Watertown-Mayer 4

COKATO – The Chargers bounced back from the season-opening loss with an 8-4 victory over the visiting Royals Tuesday.

“Again, we had many runners on base, and this time we executed better to get more in for runs,” said Runquist.

Abby Schrupp went the first two innings for DC on the rubber, striking out two and giving up one run.

Kivisto went the next five innings, striking out eight and giving up two earned runs.

“Defensively, we still made a few errors, but were able to minimize them much better this game,” said Runquist. “Brooke Koelln showed us what a great leadoff hitter does, and went 3-for-4 with two singles and a double. Kate Lee’s leadership is undeniable on and off the field. She went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk.”

Runquist made sure to thank Darren Koelln and the outside grounds crew for working so hard to get the fields game-ready.

“The fields look great, and this is the earliest we have been outside practicing and playing on them in years,” Runquist said.

DC baseball drops heartbreaker in opener

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

WATERTOWN – The Dassel-Cokato baseball team opened the season with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss on the road to Watertown-Mayer.

The Chargers trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the seventh, but a Jackson Martin two-run homer lifted DC to a 2-1 lead.

For a moment, it looked like that would be enough for starting pitcher Collin Krick. Krick had a tremendous game, striking out 11 and walking zero in his first start of the year.

And indeed, Krick got the first two outs of the bottom of the seventh, and appeared to have a third, but a pop fly was dropped, allowing Cale Wabbe to reach first.

Devyn Burns followed with a single, and Tanner Hilten hit a walkoff single to score both Wabbe and Burns and give the Royals the 3-2 win.

DC head coach Cole Flick said he was pleased with Krick’s performance on the hill.

“We can’t ask for anything more from a pitcher. Collin was dialed in all game,” Flick said. “He and [catcher Austin Kantola] were on the same page throughout the game. Watertown had one solid hit all game, and a few well placed balls. If we get that kind of performance out of our pitchers, we’ll be in great shape.

Offensively, however, the team struggled, said Flick. The Chargers struck out 13 times, including 11 from starting pitcher Ansen Dulas.

“We could chalk it up to the first game, but when it comes down to it, we need to put the ball in play,” said Flick. “Eight times we struck out looking. This will get better.”

All-in-all, it was an exciting way to start the season, even if the ending didn’t go the way the Chargers hoped.

“It was a well-played game. Both teams kept fighting,” Flick said. “The game had the excitement of us taking the lead, and it was disappointing to lose in the seventh, but it’s one of 20 games and we don’t put much stock in it.”

 

Charger girls golf opens season with third-place showing in WCC West meet

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

GLENCOE – The DC girls golf team opened the 2019 season with a Wright County Conference West meet at Glencoe Country Club.

The Chargers finished in third place, with a team score of 232. Litchfield appears to be the early-season favorite, winning handily by 30 strokes over second-place Annandale.

Brooke Harmala paced the Chargers with a seventh-place finish and a score of 50.

Melanie Janckila (57), Kayla Grochow (59), Janie Ryynanen (66), and Emmy Haataja (67) rounded out the scoring.

Coach Jon Ring said it was tough opening the season with a conference meet.

“There were some jitters with people playing new positions, and we learned a few things,” Ring said. “We have plenty to work on in the upcoming weeks.”

The Chargers’ next scheduled meet is Tuesday at Litchfield, weather permitting.

 

WCC MEET

at Glencoe CC, Glencoe

Team Results

1. Litchfield, 192

2. Annandale, 222

3. DC, 232

4. NLS, 240

5. GSL, 241

6. Mound, 242

7. Rockford, 246

8. Watertown-Mayer, 250

 

Individual Results

Meet Medalist

1. Livia Behnke, Litchfield, 44

DC Finishers

7. Brooke Harmala, 50

15. Melanie Janckila, 57

19. Kayla Grochow, 59

30. Janie Ryynanen, 66

33. Emmy Haataja, 67

33. Payton Amundson, 67

Five DCHS sports to be dropped a class for next season

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

COKATO – DC Activities Director Perry Thinesen could barely hide his enthusiasm in an email sent to this reporter last month.

Brad, don’t print anything yet, he wrote, but it looks like we’re going to be moved down a class for football, basketball, baseball, and softball.

Last week, that good news was made official.

All five of those teams – girls and boys basketball, baseball and softball, and football – will be moved down a class, starting next season.

Once the news was finalized, Thinesen was understandably pleased with the decision.

“My first reaction was a great sense of relief and excitement. This is where we belong,” said Thinesen. “My second reaction was that the MSHSL got it right.”

Thinesen noted that the DC community has a large segment of the student population that does not participate in sports, due to religious reasons.

Therefore, he said, the teams have been unfairly purshed up against much larger districts, when their natural fit is against smaller schools.

“We have generally been put in a class to compete against schools like Hutchinson, Marshall, Waconia, Delano, Orono, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and several others,” said Thinesen. “Now, we will be competing in the playoffs with schools like Annandale, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Litchfield, and New London-Spicer. I think most people in our community are aware we share much more in common with that latter list of schools from enrollment to similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

“There are still going to be many tough schools to beat at this level, but at least we are more similar in enrollment, socioeconomics, and values,” he said. “With some of the schools we had to compete against in the playoffs [in years past], I think there was a sense of not being able to compete that was setting in.”

* * *

DC football coach Ryan Weinandt said the lower class designation (4A to 3A) will be nothing but a benefit to his team.

Weinandt noted that the state champions in Class 4A (SMB, St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake) had three or four NCAA Division I athletes on their team, an accomplishment that simply cannot be matched at DC.

That sort of talent permeates Class 4A, he said. Most of those teams have much higher enrollment, or are “magnet” schools.

“We’ve played teams like Hutchinson, Orono, and Marshall that are much bigger than we are, and we’ve had some outstanding teams and talent during those years, but failed to advance [when we might have advanced in Class 3A],” Weinandt said. “

Playing in Class 3A means the team will be playing teams more like DC in terms of enrollment and talent.

“It will be a very tough section, but I do like that we are playing schools more like us,” Weinandt said.

* * *

DC boys basketball coach Dave Chvojicek said that overall, the drop down to Class AA is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the section that the team was put in is among the toughest in the class.

“By and large, I think in Class AAA the average team is both bigger and stronger than the average AA team,” Chvojek said. “However, we are moving into one of the toughest AA sections in the state. Minneapolis North, Breck, and Maranatha were three of the top AA teams in the state last year.

“Whether we would have stayed at AAA or gone to AA, we have to improve to be a threat to advance in the playoffs.

* * *

DC girls basketball coach Rob Walters said much the same thing – the drop is beneficial overall, but the section will still be difficult.

“I think this section will be tough, but this is where we belong,” Walters said. “It will be a good fit for us.

“Annandale, Holy Family, Maranatha, Rockford, Watertown-Mayer – they all have very good programs, so it’s not going to make it much easier,” he said. “But again, it is where belong, and we look forward to the new challenge.”

* * *

DC softball coach Wendy Runquist noted that her new section – while composed of teams much more closer in enrollment – were not very close geographically.

“We have historically done well in our section play as of the last four years or so [against bigger teams]. Our girls have played competitive softball when it comes to our playoff games against these opponents.

“While we play both Litchfield and New London-Spicer twice during the regular season, the other schools are not teams that we have played, and some are geographically challenging, including Jackson County Central, Luverne, Minneota/Canby, Minnewaska, Montevideo, Morris Area, Pipestone, Redwood Valley, St. James Area, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, and Windom.

“It will be exciting and interesting to see how we face up to so many new teams.”

* * *

Out of all five teams, the class drop might have the biggest effect in baseball, according to head coach Cole Flick.

Flick said that one of the biggest differences in large schools vs. small schools in baseball is the facilities and training programs available to athletes.

“Outside of what takes place during the game, the larger schools have more options and closer offseason training facilities. Schools like Orono and Benilde have hitting facilities at their doorstep,” said Flick. “If our players choose to participate in offseason training, they need to travel to the Cities, making it much less convenient.”

The other big difference, said Flick, is in pitching rotation.

Every team, Flick said, has a number one-A pitcher who has the capability of beating any team of any size.

The difference between most AAA schools, and an AA school like DC, is that the larger schools can replace their starter with another pitcher without missing a beat.

“When I replace my pitcher, I do so with a player from the field, which leads to a backup playing that position,” said Flick. “As far as batting goes, schools our size typically have their top hitters batting 1-5. The larger schools have hitters 1-9. They have more kids who can play, giving them more options.”

That said, next year’s section will not be easy by any stretch, said Flick.

“Although we are in a smaller class, the talent is baseball-rich,” Flick said. “GSL, Litchfield, and NYA have all had great success, and Holy Family and Providence Academy always seem to have loaded lineups.”

Nevertheless, “this section is a good fit for us,” he said.

* * *

Thinesen had a final word of caution for DC fans.

The MSHSL revamps their sections every two years.

In this year’s revamp, DC fell just on the right side of the dotted line, after being on the wrong side for the previous eight years.

How close was DC to the cutoff?

The cutoff for basketball was an enrollment of 584.

The cutoff for baseball, football and softball was 569.

DC’s enrollment, as figured by the MSHSL, was 568.

One student shy.

“Seeing that we are so close to the cutoff, there is a possibility we could move back up to 4A for football, and 3A for other sports [in two years],” Thinesen said. “But I am hopeful they keep us where we’re at.”

 

State tournament aspirations for experienced adapted bowling squad

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

The DC adapted bowling team returns a ton of experience from last year’s squad.

The Chargers have a whopping nine returning letterwinners this season, led by senior captains Ben Orton, Robin Cates, and Joel Harju.

DC competes most Fridays at Lake Bowl in Howard Lake against another team, who competes at their own local alley.

The two teams then compare handicapped scores to determine the winner.

Head coach Vinne Pokornowski provided the following commentary on this season’s program.

Program History: Our program is in its seventh season. The improvement we see in these student athletes is incredible!

Assistant coaches:

• Cecilie Sangren

• Cindy Nelson

• Linnea Holm

• Nicole Peterson

• Darcie Pringnitz

• Mary Stonelake

Last season: We went 3-2 in dual meets last season.

Returning letterwinners:

• Robin Cates

• Joel Harju

• Zada Hanson

• Annika Wanha

• Jeffry Hendrickson

• Mari Lindberg

• Emma Jo Tessman

• Josie Utecht

• Ben Orton

Number of participants:

• 12th grade – 3

• 11th grade – 3

• 10th grade – 1

• 9th grade – 2

• 8th grade – 1

• 7th grade – 2

Captains: Seniors Ben Orton, Robin Cates, and Joel Harju.

Conference outlook and favorites: We have yet to win the Golden Pin traveling trophy we have between ourselves, Monticello, and St. Michael-Albertville, but this could be the year!

Section outlook and favorites: Our section includes Monticello, St. Michael-Albertville, and Princeton. They all provide some very good competition, but we expect to send a few individuals to the state tournament, along with our team as well.

Team goals and expectations:  Have fun, be respectful of each other and self, and pick up as many splits as possible (picking up a split earns the team ice cream!).

Any team or individual records that may be broken this season: Our three senior captains are currently on the leaderboard for many of our school records. Robin Cates has the highest two-game total with handicap at 461 (2014). Joel Harju holds the school record for highest average (99, 2016), and Ben Orton holds the record for highest score without handicap at 190 (2017). It would not be a surprise to see any of these athletes set new school records!

Key losses: Dennis Swanson.

Strengths:  Camraderie, the students all seem to get along very well and are very encouraging of each other.

Areas of improvement needed:  Knock down more pins!

Final thoughts: We bowl most Friday afternoons at Howard Lake Bowl, starting at 12:45. Check out our schedule on the school activities website and come support the Chargers! We also have two Monday night events, April 15 (Alumni Night) at 6 p.m., and April 25 at 5 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come check it out!