Archive for HJ Sports

LEGION BASEBALL: Baumann, Howard Lake open tournament with impressive win against Mora

HOWARD LAKE – Just three days ago, the Howard Lake Legion baseball team sneaked out an ugly 14-12 win against Providence Academy. Tonight, Post 145 opened up their run in the Division II Legion Baseball tournament with an impressive 2-1 victory against fourth-seeded Mora.

Post 145 took and early lead in the top of the first inning. Alex Baumann reached on a walk, and then proceeded to steal second to get into scoring position. With Baumann at second, Brad Bickmann delivered with an RBI single, giving Post 145 a 1-0 lead.

Howard Lake's Brad BIckmann got Post 145 off to a quick start with an RBI single in the top of the first inning.

Howard Lake’s Brad BIckmann got Post 145 off to a quick start with an RBI single in the top of the first inning.

In the bottom half of the first, Baumann found himself in trouble with the bases loaded and two outs. With Mora trying answer back, Baumann dug deep and got out the jam with this third strikeout of the inning.

Max Kittock made it a 2-0 lead for Post 145 in the top of fourth with a ground out that brought in BIckmann.

Mora finally got to Baumann in the bottom half of the fourth on an RBI double with two outs, cutting the lead to 2-1. After allowing his first run of the game, Baumann settled back, retiring 9 of the next 13 batters he faced to earn the complete game win.

With the win, Post 145 advances to face No. 1 Giant Valley in the winners bracket Friday night at 8 p.m. at Memorial Park. Giant Valley had a first round bye to start off the tournament.


For a full story, check out the July 28 edition of the Herald Journal.



No. 2 Maple Lake vs. No. 3 Providence Academy, 6 p.m. at Memorial Park

No. 4 Howard Lake vs. No. 1 Giant Valley, 8 p.m at Memorial Park


No. 6 Annandale vs. No. 7 Rockford, 7 p.m. at Irish Stadium

No. 4 Mora –  BYE



Buchanan named Mayer Lutheran’s boys’ basketball head coach

MAYER – The search for the new Mayer Lutheran boys’ basketball coach has ended. Patrick Buchanan has been named new the coach at Mayer Lutheran.

Buchanan currently serves as the Athletic Director at Trinity School at River Ridfe, where he has also served as head girls’ basketball coach the past four years.

“I am looking forward to have a family atmosphere among our coaches and student-athletes that builds character and team cohesiveness,” shared Buchanan in a press release from the school. “Through hard work, discipline, and respect, centered around Christ, we will have a successful program. I’m honored and excited to begin working towards this goal at Mayer Lutheran.”

Before his current position, he was an assistant basketball, football, and track coach at Kennedy High School in Bloomington, MN. Buchanan began his high school coaching career at Park Center Senior High School in Brooklyn Park, MN as an assistant boys’ basketball coach.

“Pat is a great choice to lead our boys,” added Mayer Lutheran Activities Director, Kris Gustin. “We had several outstanding candidates for the position and he proved to be the overwhelming choice by our interview committee.  We are pleased to have him on board and eager to help him get to know our kids and school.”

Last season, Mayer Lutheran ended their season with an overall record of 17-11, and a 7-5 record in the Minnesota River Conference under Dan Perrel.


Look for a full story on Buchanan and the Crusaders online and  in next week’s Herald Journal.


This post was updated.


LEGION BASEBALL: Howard Lake outlasts Providence Academy in high scoring affair

Runs came early and often in a matchup against Providence Academy for Post 145. In their final tune up before the American Legion Division II tournament, Post 145 rallied late for a 14-12 victory.

After falling behind 6-0 in the first inning, Post 145 began to chip away. Post 145 answered back with five runs in the bottom half, three of which came on a two-out bases clearing double.

Howard Lake's Alex Baumann gets a nice jump to the plate while on third base.

Howard Lake’s Alex Baumann gets a nice jump to the plate while on third base.

After fighting their way back in, Providence Academy continued to pour on more runs. In the top of the second, Providence Academy rallied for three more to take a comfortable lead.

In the bottom of the third, Post 145 finally got even. Brad Bickmann drove in a pair of runs with an RBI single, and Alex Baumann tied things up at nine with an RBI double to score Bickmann.

Baumann then gave the Lakers their first lead of the game in the bottom of fifth. Baumann found a hole through the infield, bringing in Bickmann to give Post 145 an 11-10 lead. Baumann later came around to score on an error after some heads up base running, extending their lead to 12-10.

Providence Academy attempted to rally back in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs, but Bickmann put the finishing touches on the win with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.

For a complete story on Post 145′s win against Providence Academy, check out the July 21 edition of the Herald Journal.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter:



Howard Lake to host Legion baseball tournament this weekend

Howard Lake will be the site for the 2017 Division II American Legion baseball tournament this summer. The tournament will be held at Memorial Park in Howard Lake from Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23.

Howard Lake is the No. 5 seed in the tournament, and will face off against No. 5 Mora Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m.

Below is a complete bracket for the tournament.

Legion Bracket

KOVAR: Don’t make the same mistake, MSHSL

The world of sports is always changing. Whether it’s the way a game is played, how it is scored, or how it is viewed, changes are always happening.  Despite the popular thought that change is a positive, that’s not always true.

Last week, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association made one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to high school basketball. Starting in the 2019-2020 basketball season, athletes in Wisconsin will be playing the game of basketball with a shot clock. This is a huge mistake.

The idea of adding a shot clock to the high school game has been a hot topic around the state, and around the nation, for that matter. All it takes is for one game to have a team stall for the discussion to come up again. What people don’t understand is that it takes two teams to stall.

If a team with the lead late in the game decides to hold the ball for a bit, so what? Come out and guard them. If the other team decides to sit back in a zone or not pressure the ball, that’s their problem. It takes just as much skill to play keep away from pressure defense as it does to score. If a team can hold the ball while facing pressure defense for an extended period of time, that’s the sign of a well-coached team that knows how to work together. It’s not a lame style of basketball to play. If your opponent is holding the ball well outside the 3-point line, go and play defense and get the ball. Don’t just whine about it.

While many people tend to be in favor of adding a shot clock for the reason that it will make games more exciting, I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, there are some games from time to time where a team with the lead hesitates to score at a pace that they usually do. Yes, a shot clock would force those teams to keep playing at a pace that is more up-tempo for the final minutes, but what about the other 30-35 minutes?

People who are in favor of adding a shot clock to the high school game argue that it will make games more exciting, while in reality, shot clocks make the game less exciting.

By adding a shot clock, you are completely eliminating a style of play in the game of basketball. There’s nothing wrong with a team that likes to run up and down the court and get as many shots as possible. There’s nothing wrong with a team that likes to be balanced when it comes to tempo. There is also nothing wrong with a team that likes to play slow and make sure they get quality possessions and shots each and every time down the court.

By adding a shot clock, you’re eliminating a complete style of how to play the game of basketball.

In my short career as a sports editor so far, I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to cover high school basketball all around Minnesota, and Wisconsin somewhat, as well. The best part about that is seeing all the different styles in whichthe game is played.

During my time at the Winona Daily News as a part-time sports writer during my senior year at Winona State University, I got the chance to cover some teams in Wisconsin, as well as other southeastern Minnesota schools. Even in just the Winona Daily News’ coverage area, there were plenty of different styles being played.

There was Winona Senior High School, which had the bodies and skilled athletes to play an up-tempo style. There was the St. Charles Saints, which had a balanced attack of being aggressive and being patient for a good shot. And then there was the Rushford-Peterson Trojans, which are arguably coached by one of the best coaches in the state in Tom Vix. The Trojans have been of the top teams in Class A (they also won the state championship in 2015).

The Trojans play a slow pace on offense, and make the defense work while hardly taking rushed or bad shots. There’s nothing wrong with that style of play. It’s how they want to play and that’s the beauty of high school basketball.

Most of the games played by the Trojans have scores around the 50s or 60s, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

By adding a shot clock to the game of high school basketball, you are completely eliminating Rushford-Peterson’s style of play – a style of play that has them respected as one the best teams in Class A the last decade or so.

Following my time in Winona, I headed west to the small town of Sleepy Eye. During my year in Sleepy Eye, I was amazed at how the style of basketball was different than what I played in high school, and what I covered in Winona.

Not only does the concept of adding a shot clock affect the styles of basketball being played, it also affects school districts and communities, as well. The truth is, shot clocks are not cheap to install. Depending on which scoreboards teams have in their gyms currently, adding a shot clock could run anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. Not only does installing a shot clock cost money, but a qualified person must be able to run it, and most likely be paid to run it, as well. Also, some hoops may not even be able to support a shot clock, which begs the question, where are these shot clocks going to be displayed?

Yes, some schools will be able to afford installing a shot clock with no problem. In fact, there are some high schools around the state that already have shot clocks.

But what about the small schools that struggle to make budgets meet? What about the school that barely have enough money to put a basketball program out on the court, or even have a gym?

In today’s day and age, I feel we’re always looking how we can improve things or make things better. We constantly evaluate how we can add things to make it more exciting, while losing sight of what’s really in front of us. The fact is, high school basketball isn’t broken. So, let’s not fix it.

This isn’t the National Basketball Association. This isn’t the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and this isn’t professional basketball overseas.

The number of kids who will play basketball at the collegiate level or professional level is miniscule compared to why high school basketball is so great. High school basketball is not a training camp or minor league system for colleges and pro teams. It’s about the kids, the school, and the community enjoying the sport they love.

There’s nothing wrong with high school basketball. Let’s keep it that way. I sincerely hope that the Minnesota State High School league doesn’t make the same mistake the WIAA just did.

Whether you are for or against adding a shot clock at the high school basketball level, let’s not lose sight of why we love the game at this level, and the reason behind that love.

Crow River Valley League looking for Hall of Fame board members

On behalf of the Crow River Valley League, I am writing this open letter to all our fans, past players, current players, past officers and other baseball enthusiasts.

Since the fall of 2016 the league members and officers have begun the discussion of starting a Crow River Valley League Hall of Fame.  We have some initial ideas, about some things to do and incorporate.

However, the purpose of this letter is to find out what you fans, past players, former officers and baseball enthusiasts have to say.

The league is looking for people interested in being a part of the inaugural board to get this thing off the ground and going.  We are looking for motivated individuals interested in being included in this new venture for our league.

If this is something that you would be interested in being involved with please contact your local teams Manager or the CRVL Sec/Treas Jason Kuerschner at 612-598-4820 or via email at

We are looking to put together a standalone committee/board by the fall of 2017, and have our first induction class ready by no earlier than the 2019 season.

We have a lot to do between now and then, but with your support and ideas we feel that this can be a great way to showcase the history of the Crow River Valley League.

Thank you for your interest in this league venture.  Please don’t wait for someone to ask you to be a part of this committee, contact your team’s manager or the Sec/Treas today and offer your talents to this committee.


Jason A. Kuerschner

CRVL Sec/Treas