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After a wild weekend of baseball in Maple Lake it’s kind of difficult to get back on track with this weekly column. Anyway, the Maple Lake Lakers’ battle with Watkins was the featured game of Friday evening which attracted the largest crowd yet when the official count was given as 1,003 paid and approximately 1,500 total fans. Maple Lake’s Irish Stadium has seating for 900 and those who didn’t get a seat lined both sides of the field from the bleachers to the outfield fence. Fans were lined up in the bullpen areas and made room for the pitchers who were warming up in the later innings. Maple Lake won their game with Watkins decisively, 9-2, but the scuttlebutt was the fans to the west outdid the ML fans hands down in the beer count. One Watkins fan, after the game, remarked they were trying to drown their sorrows. And so the battle continues for the defending champion Lakers who meet Luverne Saturday in a 5 p.m. game. Maple Lake has a great selection of baseball games on Saturday with teams that have a good following of fans. The games start at 11 a.m. with the final game of the day at 7:30 p.m. My purpose in dwelling on the state tournament is two-fold. One is to keep fans informed, and two, to acknowledge the great response from the volunteers who have been showing up at appointed times which helps keep the tournament running smoothly. This Saturday’s fans are expected to outnumber the previou,s 1003 paid fans last week and there is a definite need for additional volunteer assistance on Saturday. Dale and Vicki Decker are in charge of volunteers and anyone who can lend them a hand can call them at 963-5835. It takes a lot of volunteers to fill the numerous concession, food, souvenir and refreshment stands. This is the final weekend of the tournament when the championship games will be played on Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 2.
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On Sunday one of the fans who came through the pass gate was toting a camera and shooting quite a lot of volunteers, fan pictures, members of the tournament committee and some of the Lakers. Curiosity finally got the best of me and I asked the gentleman who he was taking photos for. It turns out he’s putting together a history book of amateur baseball in Minnesota. He said he’s learning a lot about baseball in the earlier days and was already familiar with Pearl Lake and Marty when that team played on a baseball diamond without an outfield fence. Another team he mentioned was the Midway Snurdbirds which isn’t from a town, but is located someplace north of Menagha. Incidentally, the Snurdbirds were in this year’s tournament and played at the Delano site defeating Upsala and then losing to Luverne. . . He didn’t give me a definitive answer when his book will be out, but I suspect it won’t be in the immediate future. Hopefully, he’ll keep baseball fans posted. . . Tournament chairman Daryl Hennen and his host of lieutenants have all been doing Yeoman’s duty at each game and they honored him with a message on the scoreboard, “Daryl is awesome”, prior to Sunday’s game. He pays a lot of attention to detail and that helps keep the tournament running smoothly.
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I managed to fish on Maple Lake Thursday morning with Mike Muller and one of his grandsons, Harrison, for sunfish. Harrison was looking for keepers and soon learned it took quite a bit of sorting. We were using leeches for bait and he was a little squeamish about handing them to Mike when it came time to rebait his hook. We had eleven keepers in the live-well, not necessarily a good day, but he had some keepers and was happy. We were in the 12-15 foot range where the sunfish were feeding.
Vanna gave me a point on a pheasant last Tuesday and when I walked into the weeds the hen flushed as did six chicks. They were quite small and didn’t fly very far. I suspect it will be late October before they get any color in their feathers. . . I’m trying to zero in on a good pheasant spot and asked a fellow from Springfield if they had any birds. He said yes, and when I asked them if there were enough to hunt, he smiled and said “no, we hunt the Pipestone area”. My apologies to Cole Trager for referring to him as Taylor in last week’s paper about goose hunting out west. That’s the second mistake I’ve made this year. Fortunately I can’t remember the first one.
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