Archive for ED Sports

Gillman powers Chargers past Cardinals in thriller

COKATO – Eli Gillman rushed for 229 yards and four touchdowns, and DC held off a late Annandale rally, as the Chargers, ranked #6 in Class AAA by MaxPreps, defeated the fourth-ranked Cardinals 35-27 in an instant classic at DCHS.

Gillman had 27 carries with an 8.5 yards per carry average, scoring on runs of 46, 8, 4, and 26 yards. Keyton Johnson added a three-yard touchdown run as well.

Annandale quarterback Carson Gagnon had a phenomenal game for the visitors, going 22-for-35 for 256 yards through the air, with two TD passes and no interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with six carries for 52 yards, accounting for 308 yards of total offense.

Gillman’s final TD run of 26 yards with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter gave the Chargers a 35-21 lead.

But Gagnon led his team down the field, and connected with Brady Spaulding for a two-yard TD with 12.5 seconds left to pull the Cardinals to within 8.

DC recovered the ensuing onside kick, however, and kneeled out the clock for victory.

Check out Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for the full story.

Charger XC boys take 3rd at Hutchinson Invitational

HUTCHINSON – Soren and Charlie Bortnem both had top-10 finishes in a tough field at the Hutchinson Invitational to help lead the Chargers to a third-place team finish.

Soren Bortnem took fourth, Charlie 10th. Haydn Veith took 21st, and Ryan Johnson and Soren Olsen finished back-to-back at 30-31st place to round out the scoring.

Buffalo, ranked #11 in Class AAA, won the meet with a score of 38, followed by Mankato East (ranked #5 in Class AA) with a score of 56.

DC scored 88, 43 points ahead of fourth-place Waconia.

The Charger girls finished 11th, with Kate Jenkins leading the way with a 30th-place finish.

Check out next Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for a full recap.

DC Girls swim & dive falls in close one to Litchfield

COKATO – The DC girls swim & dive team fell just short against Litchfield Thursday, falling by a score of 94-89.

Amelia Travis (200 Free), Madeline Hurley (diving), and the 200 Free Relay team of Kaisa Salmen, Lauren Mattila, Amy Kivisto, and Amelia Travis hard first place finishes for the Chargers.

Veronica Stenberg (200 IM and 200 Breaststroke), Kaisa Salmen (50 Free and 100 Free), Amelia Travis (100 Fly), Kayla Utter (500 Free), and Lora Mayfield (100 Backstroke) took second, along with the 200 IM and 400 Free Relay teams.

DC swept the diving portion, as Aubrie Thompson finished second, and Meagan Westling finished third.

DC will now travel to the University of Minnesota Saturday for the Maroon and Gold Invite.

On Thursday, they will travel to Watertown-Mayer for a dual meet against Watertown-Mayer/Mayer Lutheran/Southwest Christian.

Check out Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for a full recap.

AMATEUR BASEBALL: Former Twin Corey Koskie soaking in town ball experience

LORETTO – Corey Koskie was a fan favorite for the Minnesota Twins during his seven-year career with the team. Now after 15 years, the former Twin is back on the baseball diamond once again, but this time around, in Loretto Larks jersey playing town ball baseball.

Koskie has two sons (Bradley and Joshua) on the team, and after some convincing from his oldest son, decided this would be the year he returned to baseball and play for the Larks.

“Both Bradley and Joshua have been playing with the Larks,” Koskie said. “Bradley has been on me for a while to join. With two of them playing now, I thought it would be a good time to go and play. I have another one coming up right below him that will play next year so I wanted to get my feet wet a little bit this year.”

Koskie was certainly around the Larks through the season before he joined. After a matchup with the Delano A’s, he approached Loretto manager Kent Koch with the thought of suiting up.

“That’s one of the cooler parts,” Koch said. “When he first approached my dad and me after the Delano game this year, he said he was kind of interested in playing. My dad and I looked at each other wondering how serious was this.”

It was serious.

Koskie officially joined the team shortly before the signing deadline. In fact, it came down to the very last day to get him on the roster.

“We had to jump through a few hoops to make sure we had all the documentation we needed to get the state board approval,” Koch said. “It literally came down to the final day of the signing deadline. We got the paperwork submitted and he got his four games in to be eligible for the postseason. Then we had to decide where we’re going to put him in the lineup.”

Koskie made his debut for the Larks July 7 in a home game against the Montrose-Waverly Stingers. He found himself in the No. 6 spot as things started to get real for him as he was about to play his first game in 15 years.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Koskie said. “I hadn’t picked up a bat in 15 years. My concern was running to first base. I didn’t want to get hurt. I had no really expectations going in. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I wanted to enjoy it for what it is.”

Koskie’s debut for the Larks was a success. He finished the game going 2-for-2 with a home run, two walks, and four RBI in a 10-0 win for the Larks.

“I kind of surprised myself my first game,” Koskie said. “I was on base every time and my legs were pretty tired and all I did was DH and run a bit. I wanted to go out there and enjoy the experience and play with my kids with no pressure. Just go up there and hit and have fun while enjoying it. I didn’t want to deal with uber-competitive people on the other side. I didn’t want to deal with egos and hurt feelings. I just wanted to have fun and enjoy it.”

Koskie’s transition to town ball has been a unique one. He’s known about the game since his playing days with the Twins, and now being able to be part of it again with his kids is something he’s enjoying.

“I’ve known about town ball,” Koskie said. “Dave St. Peter is a big component of town ball. I’ve played in some exhibition games right after I retired. I was able to see the quality of baseball and the parks in these small little towns. It was really cool.”

While the knowledge of town ball has been there for a while, there’s one thing that surprised him in the first season. He knew the level of talent would be there, but the amount of competitiveness in each game is something that came as a surprise to the former major leaguer.

“Here are the things that surprised me about town ball,” Koskie said. “These guys take it seriously. This isn’t beer league baseball. This is serious baseball. Guys take it really seriously and they compete. That’s kind of one thing that did surprise me.”

The season for Koskie has been filled with ups and downs. While he’s experienced the different side of things so far this season, it’s been a learning experience throughout.

“It’s taken a little bit of a transition,” Koskie said.  “For not playing for 15 years, I’m just trying to get comfortable. I wasn’t really knowing what to expect. I just wanted to play with my boys. I wasn’t really ready for competitive at-bats and meaningful at-bats. I didn’t want to be the reason why the team didn’t get to go to where they wanted to go. It’s one of those things to get comfortable with failure again and just playing with the kids. It took a little bit for me to get set.”

Coming back to the game after 15 years away from it hasn’t been easy for Koskie. He’ll be the first to tell you.

“There’s really no such thing as going out and playing pickup baseball with the guys,” Koskie said. “You’re playing town ball. You’re in front of people playing at 10 percent of the ability that you had. There’s the ego and pride thing that goes into that. You want to compete. You don’t want to get beat. At the end of the day, baseball is a battle. It’s you against the pitcher. The pitcher against you. Who’s going to win that? That’s the core of an at-bat.”

Koskie’s approach at the plate has been different as well. In the prime of his career, focusing during an at-bat has been one of his biggest strengths. Now 15 years later, he’s had to work on that more than he normally has.

“I had a 15-year lag between at-bats,” Koskie said. “It doesn’t come as natural for me. It’s somewhat fascinating. One thing I find super interesting is the ability to focus during an at-bat. The ability to completely focus 100 percent of your focal energy on the pitcher and be able to block out all the sounds and be able to control your mind, your thoughts, and your breathing to give you the best chance to have a quality swing. That’s something I was able to do. Now, I come back and my head is all over the place. When I played before, I was laser-focused and nothing could distract me at that moment. Now it’s a little easier to get distracted.”

While Koskie certainly hasn’t been perfect by any means for the Larks, he’s come through in some big spots for the Larks this year. In the Region 12C Tournament, Koskie delivered the game-tying RBI single in the top of the ninth. His team would go on to win the game in 12 innings, thanks to the baseball gods being on their side.

Buffalo had the chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, but the ball got stuck in the ivy on the right-field fence, holding the game-winning run at third. Loretto would get out of the jam and later on win the game in the 12th.

“The ball that got stuck in the ivy is semi reminiscent of the ball I hit in the playoffs against the Yankees off of Mariano Rivera,” Koskie said. “I hit one down the line and it bounced out. We would have taken the lead in the top of the 9th in that one. The ball bounced out instead of rattling around in the corner and it costs us a run. That was good for us that the ball got stuck in the ivy because they for sure would have scored that run.”

Dealing with success and failure is part of baseball. Koskie knows that full well and that’s helped him keep a positive attitude even when his swing might not be there.

“If you really want to get a hit and you don’t get a hit, the feeling you get sucks,” Koskie said. “There’s frustration and you really want to get a hit and don’t get one for eight or 10 at-bats. People don’t understand how hard that is to deal with from a mental standpoint. Baseball is the only game where you’re forced to deal with failure. No other game is like that.  I’m a 10th of who I was 10 years ago.”

Throughout the year, Koskie has been a nice addition to the lineup for the Larks at the plate and in the dugout. Whether it’s coming through with a base hit or just lending some advice to a teammate, Koskie’s presence is a big reason the Larks are where they are at.

“He’s definitely a nice bat to add in the lineup,” Koch said. “Both on and off the field, he’s just a real wealth of information and fun guy to sit around and talk to. He’s always trying to help out or give tips. He’s been helpful to have around in a coach-type role as well. He’s still the guy who comes in and works hard in the cage. It’s been fun to see him come through in some big situations. Hearing the ball come off his bat sometimes it just comes off a little different than anybody else. He’s been awesome to have. He’s always joking around and having fun with the guys on the bench. He’s an all-around good guy to have around.”

For veteran Tyler Maher, the season has been one to remember. After watching Koskie play growing up to now sharing a dugout with him, this season has been one to remember.

“It’s been awesome playing with Corey,” Maher said. “Not only because it’s one of the players I watched growing up, but just being an overall great human being.  He has unique perspectives on the game and has a wealth of knowledge. Typically, if you want any of that info, you just have to ask him. Having him on our team, with his experience and overall character has elevated the level of play from everyone.”

Koch has also got to experience playing amateur baseball with his family. It’s something special that he’s getting to see a former Koskie do that now right in front of him.

“They’ve gotten to play a few games together now,” Koch said. “There’s been a few times in the lineup where Corey has been hitting in front of Bradley or behind him. There are a few times he’s hit him in. When you get to drive in your younger kid with a base hit, that’s just a cool story in general. It’s just a cool thing when it’s family like that.”

Loretto will kick off their state tournament run Friday night in Chaska as they take on the Dumont Saints. With a taste of amateur baseball under his belt, Koskie is now excited to see what the state tournament brings as he’ll be playing alongside his boy this weekend.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Koskie said. “I’m really excited to see this. My kids have been playing in state tournaments throughout their whole youth sports experience. I’m excited to be part of this state tournament run hopefully and to see what that experience is.”

REGION 12C ROUNDUP: Huskies, Athletics punch state tickets; two spots still up for grabs

DELANO — Serving as the mecca of Region 12C amateur baseball this August, Delano Municipal Stadium was full for multiple days last weekend as the region playoffs began and two teams have already earned berths to the State Tournament. Here’s the game-by-game rundown of what happened.

Hutchinson 8, Maple Plain 1

The Huskies lived up to their top seed billing quickly in round one, dispatching the Diamond Devils 8-1 Aug. 5. Jon DeRock tossed eight innings and allowed seven hits and one run, while Tyler Schiller’s hot bat kept sizzling with a home run.

Leading 4-0 after six innings, the Devils got one back in the top of the seventh, but a four-run eighth by Hutchinson pushed this one out of reach at the end. Jayden Fleck added two RBI while Marcus Hahn and Cody Arlt drove in runs as well.

Howard Lake 3, Loretto 1

The 4/5 matchup in a tournament is often the best game and can go either way. The Orphans got just as much as they needed to win against the higher-seeded Larks of Loretto Aug. 6, taking the game 3-1.

It was a pitcher’s duel from the start, neither team scoring until the fifth inning when Loretto got an RBI hit from Ben Leuthner. Howard Lake’s Jared Koch was masterful getting out of jams with runners on base while his team’s offense came alive just enough to take the lead late in the game.

Noah Bush was 3-for-4 and Jake Gruenhagen drove in two runs for the Orphans. Brad Bickmann added four hits. For the Larks, seven batters got on base but some baserunning mistakes cost them runners.

Buffalo 6, Litchfield 5

Brett Renshaw and Colton Haight were the heroes of the day for the Bulldogs, who scored three runs over the final two innings to beat Litchfield 6-5 in walk-off fashion Aug. 7.

Renshaw’s two-run blast in the eighth tied up the game at 5 after Litch broke a stalemate the inning before. Then Haight  laced an RBI single in the ninth inning to end the game right there for the Buffalo victory.

The two batters combined for four RBI, and Jake Duske added a home run early on. Andrew Loch and Jake Jones drove home four for the Blues.

Delano 6, Maple Lake 5

It’s tough to win when you get outhit 10-5, but the A’s overcame some wild innings to get the last run in extras, defeating the Lakers of Maple Lake 6-5 in 10 frames Aug. 7.

A three-run Toby Hanson bomb in the third inning put Delano up 4-1 and in control, but Maple Lake kept chipping away against reliever Austin Schneider. A run scored in the seventh tied up the game at five, and then a keen eye by the A’s lineup put runners in place to score the winning run. Adam Schleper poked a single through the left side to score Jeff Althoff and walk off on the Lakers.

Hutchinson 6, Howard Lake 3

With a state berth on the line, the Huskies got a stellar outing from Jeremiah Van De Steeg to hold off the Orphans 6-3 Aug. 7 and stay undefeated in the region playoffs.

Tyler Schiller homered for the second time in as many games, and Matt Piechowski, Jake Wendland and Cody Arlt all posted multi-hit games.

Cole Macziewski and Moose Streich tallied the RBI for Howard Lake, but the Orphans couldn’t muster more than one run in an inning to rally back. Brad Bickmann and Brock Goelz added two hits each.

Riley Gruenhagen tossed six innings allowing seven hits, while Van De Steeg went six and one-thirds innings while striking out six batters.

Loretto 8, Maple Plain 7

The Diamond Devils’ season ended in heartbreak in the elimination bracket of Region 12C Aug. 8, falling to Loretto 8-7 on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Maher.

Loretto jumped ahead 5-2 in the first inning with a three-run homer by Josh Gullickson, but Maple Plain wouldn’t fold that easily. They put up four scores in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead with a trio of singles.

Then an outfield error by Maple Plain proved costly in the seventh. Loretto’s Keenan Hodgkin singled home the advanced runners to tie it up, and Maher’s sac fly in the ninth ended another tight Region 12C game, keeping the Larks alive and the Devils eliminated.

Maple Lake 10, Litchfield 2

The Laker offense hummed nearly every inning as they pushed past Litchfield 10-2 Aug. 8 to stay alive in Region 12C elimination bracket play.

Donnie Mavencamp added up three RBI and Ben Clapp had two runs driven in for Maple Lake. Grant Mergen tossed six quality innings to hold down the Blues.

Litchfield had two hits and two RBI by leadoff man Cody Klabunde, but Avery Liestman, Dylan Koll and Jack Ramthun couldn’t hold off a Maple Lake offense that wanted big revenge after a 10-inning loss to Delano the day before.

Delano 9, Buffalo 6

Early offense and shutdown pitching against one of the best lineups in the league helped the A’s reach state qualifier status Aug. 8, defeating the Bulldogs 9-6 behind Mike Weber’s strong start and a couple crooked number offensive innings.

Scott Benjamin had a homer and two RBI for Delano, and all but one batter sprayed a base hit. The A’s walked 10 times to help their on-base percentages, and though they scored nine times they still left on 11 runners.

Weber’s five innings and two runs gave the offense ample time to warm up, and key innings of three and four runs got Delano the lead for good after four innings. A small scare by Buffalo cut the lead to 8-6 after the top of the seventh, but an insurance run and a nice save outing by Jake Nelson clinched the Delano win.

For more Region 12C and amateur baseball coverage, follow @JaredNHR and @Kovar_HJSports on Twitter.

PODCAST: Crow River Valley League Playoff Preview

Herald Journal Sports Editors Kip Kovar and Jared Martinson breakdown all things in the Crow River Valley League heading into the postseason.

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