Archive for DEL Sports

CONFERENCE CHAMPS: Tigers claim conference title at Island View Golf Club

WACONIA – There’s a first for everything.

The one thing missing for the Delano boys golf team the past few seasons has been a conference title. Not anymore. After dominating conference play for the majority of the season, the Tigers put the finishing touches on the conference title at Island View Golf Club Tuesday afternoon.

Delano finished the final round with a team-best score of 315. That was more than enough to have them lock up the conference title as they finished 93 strokes ahead of Mound Westonka to win their first conference title in program history.

“It’s been fun being part of a team deep with talent,” Tigers coach Tory Spanier said. “Island View is a nice course and is always in good condition with some challenging holes. The weather was finally great. The boys continue to fight through some tough holes and scored well.”

Delano’s depth has been a big key for them all season and it showed in a big way. In the final round of conference play, the Tigers had all six golfers post sub-90 rounds to claim the title.

James Ylitalo led the way carding a round of 76. He was one of four All-Conference award winners for the Tigers as he finished in first place as an individual. He edged New Prague’s Henry Geiger who finished in second place just three shots behind.

“Seeing James take the individual title was great,” Spanier said. “He’s put in a ton of time and work over the years.”

Trevor Oja, Jake Oja, and Jack Horsch also earned All-Conference honors for the Tigers. Trevor Oja finished in fourth place as an individual, while Jake Oka (7th) and Horsch (10th) also cracked the top-12 for Delano.

“It’s awesome seeing Trevor in the top 4 as well,” Spanier said. “H’s been solid in our No. 2 spot for years now, and he’s stepped up, even more, this year with his play. After not having the season he wanted as a sophomore, Jack Horsch has been our most improved this season, and to see him place in the top 10 was great for his confidence moving forward.”

While a conference title is nice, the Tigers have their sights set on bigger goals. They’ll have a few rounds to get ready for the postseason, and they’re looking to make some more noise going forward.

“The boys had a good conference season,” Spanier said. “It’s a great start to the season, but the team has goals of playing well at sections and hopefully advance to state.”

Wright County Conference

at Island View Golf Club

Team Results

1. Delano, 315

2. Orono, 325

3. Holy Family, 327

4. Waconia, 328

5. Mound Westonka, 329

6. New Prague, 341

7. Hutchinson, 343

8. Jordan, 352

Individual Results


Henry Geiger (New Prague), 72

Delano Team Finishers

• James Ylitalo, 76

• Trevor Oja, 78

• Jake Oja, 80

• Jack Horsch, 81

• Will Scheck, 84

• Joe Scheck, 85

WCC East Team Final Standings

1. Delano, 1,881

2. Mound Westonka, 1,974

3. Orono, 1,986

4. Holy Family, 1,990

5. Waconia, 2,031

6. Hutchinson, 2,048

7. New Prague, 2,049

8. Jordan, 2,159

WCC East Individual Final Standings

1. James Ylitalo (Delano), 378

2. Henry Geiger (New Prague), 381

3. Mitch Kresbach (Mound Westonka), 386

4. Trevor Oja (Delano), 387

5. Gus Leivermann (Waconia), 388

6. Devin Verhasselt (Hutchinson), 393

7. Jake Oja (Delano), 393

8. Matthew Uhas (Mound Westonka), 402

9. Cam Longie (Hutchinson), 404

10. Jack Horsch (Delano), 405

11. Wesley Carlsen (Orono), 406

12. Franz Jevne (Orono), 409

PREP SOFTBALL: Tigers ride Peterson, defense to complete sweep of Waconia

WACONIA – The Delano softball team’s calling card has been their offense this season so far. Despite that, the Tigers know there will be times this season when they will need their pitching and defense to step up.

Delano got just that when they needed it as they complete the season sweep of the Waconia Wildcats Friday afternoon with an 8-2 win on the road.

“I don’t think today was our best game we’ve had,” Tigers coach Jim VanCura said. “Defensively it probably was, but offensively we left some runners on base. We’ve given up a lot of runs. It was nice to see us make plays and limit that. We’re making progress defensively. That’s nice to see.”

A team that’s scored double-digit runs in almost every game this season, Delano knows how important it is to have their defense playing at a high level, as well.

“It was one of our better defensive games,” senior Sydney Stansberry said. “Just to see that improvement on the defensive end is nice to know that it’s coming together as a team. If we end up not having the best offensive game, we still have our defense behind us.”

Delano used their offense to gain the edge early on. Carly Stuckmayer drove in a pair with a single in the first inning, and in the top of the second, Louisa Stowman blasted her seventh home run of the season as Delano took a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers would score just one more run the rest of the way as they leaned on their defense to pick up the win.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” VanCura said. “It would be nice if we could keep scoring 17-20 runs a game. If we do that, we’re in good shape. There’s going to be games where that’s not going to happen.”

Delano’s defense took a big step forward in the win thanks to the pitching of Tanna Peterson. Peterson went all seven innings, allowing just two runs off of seven hits while striking out eight.

“She’s always a joy to have on the mound,” Stansberry said. “She’s always just having fun. She can be serious when she needs to be, but she always knows how to lighten the mood on the field. It’s super nice to have someone like that out there.”

Peterson found herself in a jam in the bottom of the fifth but came up big for the Tigers. After giving up a pair of singles to start the inning, she picked up back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the inning without allowing a run.

“Tanna’s feisty,” VanCura said. “As a pitcher, you like to see that. She’s focused. She’s just a competitor Kaylie called a nice game behind the plate. Those two are really working together. They’re two peas in a pod.”

With the win, Delano improved to 12-1 on the season. With seven games left in the regular season, the Tigers are having one while the wins keep coming.

“I’m super excited to see us grow as a team,” Stansberry said. “As a senior, it’s super exciting to see all the young girls improve every single day.”

During a busy stretch, the Tigers will get a good look at where they are at Saturday when they take on Centennial in their third game in three days. After wins over Jordan and Waconia, Stansberry and the Tigers are looking to go 3-for-3.

“Really bad,” Stansberry said about wanting to finish the week with another win. “Tomorrow is going to be a super important game for us. They’re a tough team. If we can pull out this win, it will be a big confidence boost for us. It would be super nice to go 3-for-3.”

“We’ll just keep trying to win one game at a time,” VanCura added. “One of the nice things is that these kids just get out to play. The last couple of years they haven’t had that. That’s the wonderful part of this. Every day you just do your best and enjoy it. If we win, great. We’re just glad to be out there competing.”

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the May 14 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.  Subscribers have full access to this article and more by clicking here. Subscriptions start as low as $1.50 for a two-day subscription, the same price as a newspaper on a newsstand.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports 

KOVAR: The greatest show on dirt?

In the 1999 NFL season, the St. Louis Rams were called the greatest show on turf with their juggernaut of an offense. They just might have some company, although this team plays on the softball diamond.
The Delano softball team is a force to be reckoned with. After writing up a few stories about them from afar, I finally got to see them play live for the first time this season Monday. To say I was impressed is an understatement.

I’ve covered a lot of softball throughout my sports journalism career. I’ve never left a game and thought to myself on the way home that I can’t wait to get back and see them again. That was the case for me leaving after their 19-4 win over Holy Family May 3. I just can’t wait to see them play again live.
Coming in, I knew the Tigers were talented on offense. I was expecting them to put up another big number, but the way they did was so impressive. From top to bottom, the Delano lineup is loaded with hitters. The way they attacked early in the count and hit line drive after line drive was just incredible. There were hardly any bad swings.

It’s usually pretty easy for me to do the book, take photos, and tweet updates for a game I’m covering. The Tigers made that nearly impossible. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, Delano needed just 12 pitches to turn that deficit into a lead. Before I could even tweet that Louisa Stowman led off the inning with a single, she had already scored on a double by Tanna Peterson. Another double from Sydney Stansberry, a single from Carly Stuckmayer, and a two-run home run for Kaylie Scanlon were next. In a matter of mere minutes, a 2-0 deficit was a 5-2 lead for the Tigers.

Delano went on to pound out 23 hits and score 19 runs in that win. All nine starters had at least one hit, while seven of them had two or more hits.

A lineup like that was just ridiculous to watch. The way they attacked early in the count along with not doing too much with their swing was impressive. They knock the cover off the ball. It’s the only way to describe it. They have nice and easy swings that result in line drives right back up the middle or find the gap. It’s just so impressive.

Stowman is the dream leadoff hitter for any softball team. A player who can hit for power and average, it’s almost unfair with the way she sets the tone at the top of the lineup for Delano.

There’s plenty of big hitters behind Stowman to back her up to. Peterson, Stansberry, Sydney York, Stuckmayer, and Scanlon are all top-tier hitters as well as opposing pitchers can’t take an at-bat off against this lineup.

I was joking that Delano coach Jim VanCura needs to ice his shoulder after games after sending so many runners home this season. The Tigers are scoring at an alarming rate. Through 11 games, they’ve scored 170 runs already with no signs of slowing down. They are averaging 15.4 runs per game so far.

While the offense is hard to miss, it also helps their pitching. After talking with Peterson and Kaylee Giese after the game, they both expressed how nice it is to have a lineup like that behind them when they’re pitching. I mean, imagine being the starting pitcher knowing you could give up five or six runs and know your team might still win by 10 runs. That’s unbelievable and fun to see.

I can’t wait to get back and cover the Tigers again in person. This time I’ll be ready to do book, tweet, and take photos. I just might have to bring an extra score sheet after they bat around in an inning and mess mine up.

PREP BASEBALL: Late push from Holy Family puts Tigers in a hole

DELANO — The Tigers baseball team is in a bit of a skid record-wise at the moment, but it’s not due to being blown out at the first pitch of the game. Multiple losses this season have come at the hand of one big inning that pushes the opponent out to a big lead. That’s when the sails have gone out, and the second meeting with Holy Family in two days proved to be another notch in that pole, the Tigers falling 9-3 at home to the Fire Tuesday.

Delano got on the board first in the bottom of the opening inning with three singles, the last of them an RBI base hit for Oran Hinkle. For the next couple frames, it was quiet on both sides as the starting pitchers found their grooves. Tigers ace AJ Rasmussen used an array of breaking balls to freeze the Fire batters while also working around a couple walks and multiple-baserunner situations.

The 2020 Tigers roster was loaded in the pitching department, but with a season lost and the seniors graduated, the responsibility of top starter fell to Rasmussen, and he’s delivered this season with ample quality starts.

“He’s put a lot of work in, a lot of time and effort. It’s fun to see, when a kid’s work pays off and see the developments he’s made,” head coach Jeff Olson said. “Tonight wasn’t his best game of the year, but he pitched well enough for us to win, without question.”

It seemed Rasmussen’s teammates would take care of business at the plate while he dealt a strong hand on the mound. Designated hitter Chad Halstead tallied a smart groundout that scored Jack Norman for a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. It was the last the Tigers would see of a lead all game.

An RBI double in the fifth inning for the Fire tied the game at two, and a nasty bounce on a grounder to shortstop scored another. Now down 3-2 with a couple mistakes in their back pocket, Holy Family was able to jump on Rasmussen the next inning and load the bases, forcing him out of the game. Colin Lommel came in for relief and got the first out on a force at home plate, but a pair of two-run singles sandwiching an error scored five more runs — they added another on a double to right field for a total crooked number of six runs and a 9-3 lead on Delano. That’s how quickly a game can change.

“it’s part of the game, but we’ve got to be better. We have to make better pitches in those situations and make plays behind them,” Olson said. “Collectively, it’s a team game. When the time comes, we have to move on from past events with confidence.”

Two more chances to score came up with just one more run for Delano, who has lost six of their last seven games — three of them in the fashion of Tuesday, being right in the fight and then the wheels falling off in a late inning. For the Tigers to succeed, consistency is needed. They have the talent at nearly every position, but putting it all together and enjoying the process is the next step.

“We talked through a lot of things after the game today. We expect a positive response (to today’s game) and we have to come back and work hard in practice,” Olson said. “In some ways, we’ve got to free ourselves up, play the game we love and just let it rip.”

Hinkle, Halstead and Gunnar Paulson tallied RBI for the Tigers, and Ty Weiman reached base twice to lead the way. Rasmussen threw five-plus innings allowing nine hits and four earned runs while striking out seven.

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the May 7 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.  Subscribers have full access to this article and more by clicking here. Subscriptions start as low as $1.50 for a two-day subscription, the same price as a newspaper on a newsstand.

Follow Jared Martinson on Twitter: @JaredNHR

PREP SOFTBALL: Delano’s offensive prowess shows no signs of slowing down in win over Holy Family

DELANO – Delano coach Jim VanCura might need some ice after his team plays games. Not because he pitched batting practice, but because his shoulder might be a bit sore after waving runners home from third this season. An offensive juggernaut through 10 games this season, The Tigers have shown no signs of slowing down as they cruised to a 19-4 win over Holy Family Monday night.

“I’ve been coaching for 20 years,” Tigers coach Jim VanCura said. “This is by far the best lineup top to bottom I’ve ever seen. There are even some kids on the bench that are capable as well. It’s been fun.”

The Tigers have scored 12 or more runs in all but one game this season. That kind of offense looks good in the box score, but it goes beyond that. With a potent lineup from top to bottom, it also gives their pitchers a big confidence boost on the rubber knowing they got a dominant offense behind them.

“It’s a lot easier to relax when you have the bats we do,” starting pitcher Kaylee Geise said “They started 2-0 against me. I knew my bats were going to back me up. It just helps you focus more.”

“Honestly, it’s super nice,” Peterson added. “You can have a bad inning. We can give up a few errors. We always know we can hit so it’s not that much pressure to throw strikes.”

Delano found themselves down 2-0 heading into their first at-bat of the game. That deficit lasted a total of 12 pitches as the Tigers wasted no time in getting the offense going. A 2-0 deficit became a 7-2 lead as Delano batted around in the bottom of the first. The big hit in the inning came on a two-run home run by Kaylie Scanlon.

“They love hitting,” VanCura said. “That’s the thing. They’re learning not to do too much. When it’s there, they get good and strong swings. Sometimes I just sit back and admire.”

After a rare zero in the second inning, the Tigers batted around once again. Delano struck for nine more runs in the bottom of the third, giving them a 16-4 lead.

“It’s super fun,” Peterson said about playing with this group. “You don’t get to see many lineups now that can hit from top to bottom. Even our bench can hit. It’s super cool. You see someone hit well and then you want to hit well. We just have a great atmosphere going. We’re always ready to go when it’s your turn.”

A potent offense needs a leadoff hitter and Louisa Stowman fits that to a T. Stowman went 4-for-5 with a double, home run, five RBI, and three runs scored in the leadoff spot. There was more offense behind her as Sydney Stansberry, Peterson, Scanlon, and Giese had three hits each in the blowout win.

“It gets us going,” Geyser said. “Louisa has been doing great. It gets us all pumped up. It gives us the confidence to go after it. We’re always trying to bring girls in. We’re just trying to get our teammates on. When we get on, we want to reward them and knock them in.”

The Tigers have had a business approach to the game this season, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun.

“Some of the teams I’ve coached before had a real serious approach,” VanCura said. “You can tell these girls play loose. Sometimes that drives a coach but crazy, but their approach is to go out there and hit. They’re just talented. They know it’s a game and they just turn it on.”


For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the May 7 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.  Subscribers have full access to this article and more by clicking here. Subscriptions start as low as $1.50 for a two-day subscription, the same price as a newspaper on a newsstand.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports 

PREP BASEBALL: Delano’s late rally comes up just short against Mound Westonka

DELANO –  Earlier on in the season, the defense for the Delano baseball team has been just fine. In their matchup with Mound Westonka Thursday afternoon, a pair of errors was just too much to overcome in a 4-3 loss to the White Hawks at Delano Municipal Baseball Park.

“Generally our defense has been pretty good,” Tigers coach Jeff Olson said. “It wasn’t perfect tonight, but it’s been pretty good. It’s all about getting better every single game and every practice. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s just trying to limit them and clean those up.”

It was a game the Tigers felt like they should have won. They outhit the White Hawks 7-5 but a slow start at the plate made things harder for Delano in the loss. In the first two innings, the Tigers left five runners on base including leaving them loaded in the bottom of the first.

“The main message was I just think we weren’t quite ready to go today at the plate,” Olson said. “We just didn’t come out and get after it the way we’re capable of. We just need to be ready from the first pitch. Every pitch could be the difference in the game whether it’s the first or the last. We’ve got to get ourselves in a little bit better frame of mind at the plate at the start of the game.”

After falling behind 2-0, the Tigers cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back two-out doubles from Robbie Knights and Oran Hinkle brought Delano within one, but their second and final error of the game in the top of the seventh forced them to rally again.

After Delano left the tying run on third to end the bottom of the sixth, Mound Westonka added some insurance runs in the top half of the seventh. With the bases loaded and two out, the White Hawks got the clutch hit they needed as a single socred a pair to push their lead to 4-1.

Down by three in their final at-bat, Delano fought back once again. A leadoff double from David Dorsey had the Tigers in the business. After moving up to third on a passed ball, Dorsey came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Knight to bring Delano within two.

A walk by Hinkle followed by another sacrifice fly from Gunnar Paulson brought the Tigers within one, but the rally ended there as they left the tying run at third to end the game.

“That’s one of the bigger positives,” Olson said. “The guys showed a lot of fight. They gave it their all down by three. That shows a lot that they were able to keep fighting till the end no matter what.”

Delano falls to 1-2 on the season despite a strong performance from AJ Rasmussen on the mound. He went six innings, allowing just one earned run off two hits while striking out nine.

“He was outstanding,” Olson said. “He threw a great game. He did everything we needed to get a win but we just didn’t have enough offensive support for him. We’ll take outings like that from him every single time.”

Delano is back in action Friday when they host New Prague.

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the April 30 edition of the Delano Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.  Subscribers have full access to this article and more by clicking here. Subscriptions start as low as $1.50 for a two-day subscription, the same price as a newspaper on a newsstand.

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports