Archive for West Carver

PREP BASEBALL: Fast start lifts Mayer Lutheran past rival Lester Prairie

MAYER – Getting off to a good start in any game is important. When it’s a section game against a rival, it’s even more important.

For the Mayer Lutheran baseball team, they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as they took advantage of some early struggles in a 6-2 win over rival Lester Prairie Tuesday night.

“They kind of did what we’ve done a couple of times this year,” Mayer Lutheran coach Dave Lane said. “We give up a bunch of runs early and that’s tough to come back from. I thought we would hit the ball better. It’s one thing we’ve been doing a bit better. We just didn’t seem to hit with much authority after that first inning.”

The Crusaders came firing out of the gate. A leadoff single from Connor Olson had them in business early. After the single, back-to-back walks loaded the bases and Mayer Lutheran took advantage. Another walk to Ty Hoese gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead, but they didn’t stop there. With just one more hit in the inning, Mayer Lutheran scored four more runs in the bottom of the first, two of which came on a single by Levi Hahn.

“That’s a great start,” Ty Hoese said. “It helps to get up five and have a little cushion. With that, you’re not so nervous playing defense.”

Lester Prairie got out of the inning but not before they found themselves in a big hole early.

“We gave up five in the first inning,” Lester Prairie coach Ben Machemehl said. “It was a lot of walks and that’s what kills us. That’s the importance of throwing strikes right there. After that, we bared down and kept it close. We’re definitely happy with the performance after the first inning. Clean some mistakes up and we’re right there with this team.”

Despite the ugly first inning, the Bulldogs were right in the game as senior Riley Heimerl gave them a boost. After taking over on the mound in the second, Heimerl battled on the mound. After a leadoff single scored on a sacrifice fly, Heimerl then retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced to keep Lester Prairie in the game.

“That’s a must,” Machemehl said about Heimerl stepping up. “Especially in a situation like that. We struggle the first inning throwing strikes and Riley comes in and does what he needs to do. He throws strikes and is a leader. That’s good to see that leadership come out of him.”

The Bulldogs close the gap to 6-2 as Jack Behning scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth, but that’s all they would muster the rest of the way as they struggled to get the clutch hit they needed.

“We’ve done that a couple of games now,” Machemehl said. “It’s a different game if we get a hit. That makes a big difference. We just got to put the bat on the ball. We got to work on that in practice and get it in play.”

After Behning scored on the wild pitch, Lester Praire had the bases loaded with nobody out. They failed to score a run as Mayer Lutheran’s Caden Robbins picked up two huge strikeouts and a fly ball to get out of the inning with just one run allowed.

“He’s a great pitcher,” Hoese said about Robbins. “He throws hard and has good stuff. When he finds the zone, he’s a great pitcher. He’s just got to find the zone consistently and he’ll be great.”

Although Robbins didn’t have his best stuff, he made the big pitches when needed. Lester Prairie once again had the bases loaded in the top of the fifth but failed to score as Robbins worked out of trouble once again.

“He really did,” Lane said about Robbins throwing some big pitches. “He doesn’t really get hit hard much, but if he gets himself in trouble, that’s what happens. He was able to work his way out of it today which was good to see. He’s got good stuff.”

The win gives the Crusaders their second win in three games. After a tough start to the season against ranked teams, Lane is happy with the way his team is progressing as of late.

“We’re looking at the end of the year,” Lane said. “We want to be at our best by then. I see the ingredients there. It’s just not always coming to the top.  We see teams in our conference that will be better than any team we would see in a state tournament. Sibley East is ranked third. Glencoe–Silver Lake is ranked fourth and Belle Plaine is ranked fifth. That’s how we started our season. We would have liked to do a little better, but five of our six losses are against ranked teams.”

“We play a pretty tough schedule,” Hoese added. “That hurts, but growing pains at the beginning of the year make us work through them and we’re getting a lot better. Guys are coming along and we’ll keep improving and getting better.”

For Lester Prairie, they fall to 4-2 on the season with the loss. With a matchup with Mayer Lutheran coming again later this month, Machemehl is hoping his guys come ready for a little revenge.

“They’ve got to be pumped,” Machemehl said. “That’ll be a big one. The nonconference games we have are big. We’re right up there at the top of our section. That’s pretty cool, but we got to get a little payback next time. That would be nice.”

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the May 7 edition of the 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 SOFTBALL: Noerenberg, Mayer Lutheran find their stride late in win over St. Clair

NEW GERMANY – The first inning for the Mayer Lutheran softball team was one they’d like to have back. After falling behind 3-0, the Crusaders were forced to play catchup early on. They did just that as they never panicked in a 14-4 win over St. Clair in five innings Monday night.

“We have some experienced players at the top of our lineup, but we have a lot of youth and a lot of inexperience,” Crusaders coach Kris Gustin said. “You work on things in practice but you can’t create those games situations. I think we’ve learned a lot in the six or seven games we’ve played this year. The girls have improved quite a bit from game one. There’s a lot of good things from our team.”

Thanks to four-straight two-out hits, St. Clair had a 3-0 lead over Mayer Lutheran heading to the bottom of the first. The Crusaders got one of those runs back in the bottom half thanks to the speed of Rylee Noerenberg. After drawing a walk, Noerneberg moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt and later came around to score on a wild pitch to give the Crusaders their first run of the game.

“She’s lightning-fast and she’s an intelligent baserunner,” Gustin said. “You don’t have to coach her. She knows what to do. If she gets to third and that ball gets even a little bit away from the catcher, she’s probably going to score because of her instinct and how quick she is. It’s fun to watch her run the bases.”

After Mayer Lutheran was forced to settle for one run in the first, St. Clair threatened to get that run back immediately.  A leadoff triple had the Cyclones in business, but Chloe Kirt and the Crusaders had other plans. Kirt struck out two and got a lineout to get out of the jam without allowing the run to score.

“It was huge,” Noerenberg said about getting out of the jam without allowing a run. “Chloe did a great job on the mound tonight. We did good backing her up.”

“That’s huge,” Gustin added. “You get out of that three-run inning where we shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of miscues, and then they lead off with a triple. You leave that girl stranded there and that’s a huge momentum killer. That was a huge positive for our team.”

After St. Clair was unable to get the run, Mayer Lutheran made them pay an inning later. After leaving the bases loaded in the second, the Crusaders broke through in the third thanks to some much better at-bats.

“That’s really worked well for us these past couple of games,” Noerenberg said about being patient at the plate. “We’ve had some slower pitchers, so I’m glad we were able to work on timing and I think we did really well tonight. It was super important. It has been the last couple of games for us. I’m glad that we’re improving and moving on. I’m really proud of our team for that.”

Back-to-back singles from Maddi Saulsbury and Kirt had the Crusaders in business in the bottom of the third. After the bases were loaded with a walk, Saulsbury came around to score on a wild pitch and bring Mayer Lutheran within one.

“It’s pretty important,” Noerenberg said about having a short memory. “I’m proud of our team. I think we’re doing really good. If we keep improving, I think we’re going to be a threat this year.”

An infield single by Rachel Kelzer followed by a throwing error allowed two more runs to score, giving the Crusaders a 4-3 lead after three innings of play.

Playing with the lead now, Kirt and the Crusaders found a rhythm even when the Cyclones tied the game in the top of the fourth. Kirt was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, holding off St. Clair down the stretch to get the win.

“She’s thrown well for us this year,” Gustin said. “She moves the ball around. She’s got three or four pitches where if one’s not working she can go to a different one. She moves the ball well and she’s tough to hit.”

After St. Clair tied the game at four in the top of the fourth, Mayer Lutheran took advantage of walks and sloppy defense in their at-bat. The Crusaders batted around and scored nine runs in the inning, helping them pick up the win in five innings.

“I think the improvement is really encouraging,” Gustin said. “Our goal is to play our best softball at the end of May. That’s what our goal is. We feel we can be competitive. We’re right there in that mix. We’re continuing to improve, continuing to learn, and continuing to grow, that’s a good thing for us.”

For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the April 30 edition of the 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 


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Mayer City Council vacancy

The City of Mayer is accepting letters of interest from residents interested in being appointed to fill the remaining term of a vacant City Council member position.
The vacancy was created when former Council Member Erick Boder put in his resignation that was approved by City Council on April 12, 2021. This City Council position term expires December 31, 2022. The City Council may appoint any person who is eligible for election to the office of City Council. Generally, to be eligible a person must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the city for at least 30 days, and at least 21 years old.
The City Council is the legislative and policy making body for the city government. The mayor is elected for two years and the four City Council members are elected to alternating four-year terms. The mission of the City of Mayer is to welcome new residents and businesses, provide the resource, opportunity, and environment necessary for growth, manage the City in a responsible manner and maintain a friendly, small town atmosphere.
Interested residents should submit a letter of interest no later than Friday, April 30, 2021. Letters of interest must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. at the Office of the City Administrator at 413 Bluejay Avenue, Mayer, MN 55360.
The City Council will act on filling the vacancy during its May 10, 2021 meeting. All interested applicants are encouraged to attend this meeting to provide a statement as to why they should be selected to fill the vacancy.
Published in the Herald Journal, April 23, 2021.

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CHAMPION AT LAST: W-M’s Austin Gabbert reaches ultimate goal with state title

ST. MICHAEL – After signing with the Unversity of Augsburg to continue his wrestling career in college, there was just one thing missing for Watertown-Mayer’s Austin Gabbert in his high school career – a state title.

Not anymore.

Wrestling at 132 in Class AA, Gabbert finished his magical season with a state title after beating Hancock’s Davin Rose via a 4-3 decision in the state title match, securing that elusive state title he’s been looking for.

“Ever since high school started, all I dreamed about was getting a state title,” Gabbert said. “As you can imagine, that long desire to win felt good.”

Gabbert found himself in a battle as he was just one win away from his ultimate goal. Trailing 2-1 after one period, Gabbert found himself down 3-1 after an escape from Rose. With just under a minute left in the second period, Gabbertt delivered with a takedown to tie the match.

An early escape in period three was the difference as Gabbert’s state title dream became true.

“The feeling felt so unreal and still does now,” Gabbert said. “Seeing the people supporting me was the most immaculate part about it all.”

It’s been an impressive past two seasons for Gabbert in a Royals uniform. After taking second place at state his junior year ago, he refused to come up short of his goal this time around.

“For Austin to win a state championship was awesome,” Royals coach Kurt Becker said. “He has worked so hard and put in so much time to get to the level he is at. It was great to see it pay off. He is so deserving.  He is always trying to improve and asking questions and working to get better. We saw that in his finals match again when he reversed the outcome of his match from a week prior.”

As Gabbert moves on, he’ll leave an impressive legacy at Watertown-Mayer behind. Not only did he reach state all four years, but placed as well.

“Austin is, without question, one of the most talented wrestlers to come through Watertown Mayer’s wrestling history,” coach Bill McDonald said. “For someone to qualify for the state tournament four times and place all four times speaks to how good he really is. His improvements over the years were dramatic and that was due to the time he put in the off-season doing camps and clubs and working out on his own.”

With his state title, Gabbert joins an elusive club at Watertown-Mayer which was a fitting way to cap off his impressive career.

“He deserves to be one of only five in Watertown‘s history to win a state championship,” McDonald said. “When he came off the mat in the finals after winning a state title, I smiled and looked at him and all I could say was welcome to the club and you deserve it.”

 Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports