On Thursday, July 19, the Maple Lake American Legion Baseball team hosted their first playoff game against Howard Lake. Jake Johnson stepped onto the mound for Maple Lake and kept Howard Lake scoreless. On offense, Landon Caughey took first base after he was hit by the pitch. One out later, Brian Redemske hit a double and Derek Rachel put the ball in play to advance the runners. At the end of the first, the score was 2-0 in favor of Maple Lake. In the second, two Howard Lake batters were allowed first base when they were hit by the pitch. They were put into scoring position when the top of the lineup came around. Fortunately, Maple Lake was able to hold them off with strong defense, but could not score in their half of the inning. Both the third and fourth innings were scoreless. For Howard Lake, the fifth was similar to the fourth as they sent four hitters to the batter’s box resulting in one hit and three outs.
The top-seeded Maple Lake Lakers face the Cokato Kings on Thursday, July 26, at Dassel Stadium, 7:30 p.m., to open Region 12C double-elimination action. By edging Mound 8-7 on Saturday and Buffalo 2-1 on Sunday, the Kings won the play-in for the eighth seed. Mound and Buffalo were eliminated. The winner of Thursday’s game will play on Thursday, August 2, at 7:30. The loser will fight to stay alive on Sunday, July 29, at 2 p.m. All region games will be played at Dassel. To see the complete region schedule, go to the league website: northstarleague.org
by Jake Johnson The 2012 Maple Lake Irish baseball team closed their season with an awards banquet on Tuesday night, June 26th. The night began with a long list of thank-you's to everybody that contributed to this year's season from Head Coach Dave Schroeder, followed by a summary of the year, and finishing with the awards. A few highlights for the boys included winning the first Central Minnestota Conference Championship title in school history with a record of 13-1, as well as having the most total season wins in school history with an overall record of 16-5. Up next were the letter winners: Cal Redemske, Zach Johnson, Tony Goelz, Landon Caughey, Matt Strub, Donnie Mavencamp, Dylan Kotilinek, Bosten Fieldseth, Hunter Thiel, Zach Stokman, Dedrek Berndtson, Jake Johnson, Brian Redemske, and Derek Rachel. Following the letters were the team voted awards and then the All-Conference selections.
With a loss to Howard Lake, the Lakers drop to third in North Star League rankings. At the conclusion of the league games on July 8, the teams stacked up like this: Howard Lake 13-4 in first place, Loretto second at 12-4, Maple Lake third 12-5, and the D-C Saints, who lost 9-7 to Cokato on Sunday, in fourth place at 12-6. On Wednesday, July 11, the Lakers travel to Cokato to take on the Kings at Brooks Lake Park at 7:30 p.m. On July 13 the Lakers host Hutchinson at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, July 15, Buffalo comes to Irish Stadium for a 2 p.m. game to end the Lakers’ league schedule. On Saturday, July 14, the Lakers hold their annual Portside Open along with Delano to raise funds to prepare for the 2013 State Tournament. Interested golfers should contact Chad Raiche to see if registration for this event is still possible. Howard Lake 5, Lakers 3
Manager Chad Raiche is optimistic about the Maple Lake Lakers’ chances going into their 23rd year of competing in the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. In the first round the team will take on Region 2C runner-up New Ulm Brewers of the Tomahawk League at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud on Saturday, August 18, at 11 a.m. The Lakers enter the tournament as the third-place team from Region 12C after dropping a heart-breaker to Loretto on August 11 at Dassel. Maple Lake also played last year in the State Tournament. Hampered by a shoulder injury suffered against D-C, Raiche expects to be “one hundred percent” for the Brewers game. Graham Brown, who missed the last two games because of a hamstring problem, should be ready to play also, Raiche said. “Keeping the team healthy is one of the keys to a successful tournament.” He said the Laker pitching has been strong, and the defense generally good.
On Wednesday, July 25, the Maple Lake High School auditoruim was filled with the 2012 varsity softball team, parents and coaches celebrating another successul season. Head Coach Tim Knudsen started off the softball banquet with thank yous. “First to my wife for putting up with me, Dave Schroeder for coming up with the toughest schedule we could have because that’s what we need as a program, to the coaching staff, Julie Rachel and Leah Davis--we couldn’t do what we do without you, Linsey Rachel for keeping score the past two years, and our bus driver, Marilyn Blizil.” Knudsen also gave thanks to the seniors for their hard work and dedication saying that over the multiple years in the softball program, the seniors have racked up a list of accomplishments during their high school careers which include being state runners-up, multiple conference championships, the longest winning streak in the conference in the entire state of Minnesota, and much more.
With a 9-2 win over the Cokato Kings, the Lakers advance to the second round of the Region 12C tournament and will face the D-C Saints on August 2 in Dassel at 7:30. The winner of this game will advance to the State Tournament, the loser will have another chance in the double-elimination tournament. The winner of this game will play on Sunday, August 5, at 2 p.m. The losing team will play Loretto on Friday, August 4, at 7:30. Dassel is the host for all 12C Region games. Starter and winner Jeremy Schmidt pitched his A level game against the Kings. The tall right-hander struck out 12 and limited Cokato to four hits and two walks. Brian Russell pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts. Cokato’s offense was unable to successfully bunch key hits to pull ahead of the Lakers. Quinn Impola doubled and scored on two infield ground-outs in the third. Cody Benson led off the sixth with a base hit and eventually scored on an infield ground-out.
Jeremy Schmidt’s power pitching and Brian Redemske’s timely base hit combined to top the D-C Saints 2-0 on August 2 and put the Lakers in the State Tournament. On August 5 the Lakers squared off against the Howard Lake Orphans to begin play for first place seeding at State, and when it was all over the Orphans came out on top 10-5. With this loss, the Lakers have to beat Howard Lake on August 11 to continue the fight for first place in Region 12C. Game time is 7 p.m. in Dassel. An Orphan win would end the tournament. A Laker win would require a third and final game on August 12. Loretto eliminated D-C 7-2, and Maple Plain ended Hutchinson’s season with a 10-6 win in 10 innings. Both winners advance to State but still have to play to decide third and fourth places. The State Tournament begins August 17. All games will be played in St. Cloud at Putz and Faber Fields.
Laker ace Jeremy Schmidt pitched another gem in round one of the State Tournament to continue tournament play. The 6-1 winners over the New Ulm Brewers will face the Stewartville-Racine Sharks of the Twin River League on Saturday, August 25, at Dick Putz Stadium in St. Cloud at 5 p.m. As champions of Region 5, the Sharks earned a first round bye. Going the full nine on August 19 at Putz Stadium, Schmidt limited the New Ulm Brewers to one run on seven hits and a walk to go along with 10 strikeouts. After the third inning, the Brewers got only four runners on base and no one beyond first. Finishing strong, Schmidt struck out four in the last two innings and allowed only one runner, on a Laker error. Known for big innings, the Lakers packed all their scoring for the day in the fourth inning when 10 men came to the plate. With only four hits in the inning, the Lakers took advantage of two walks, two hit batters, and a New Ulm error.
The Lakers won 6-4 over the Fairmont Martins to take the Class C Minnesota State Amateur Baseball title on Labor Day at Faber Field in St. Cloud. The two teams had finished the game-ending handshake line. As the Lakers headed to their dugout, Graham Brown said it all with one of his patented back flips to the cheering of the large crowd of Laker fans. Then it was time for the awarding of the first- and second-place trophies, the individual medals to the Maple Lake team members, and the announcement of the all-tournament team. Lakers honored were pitcher Jeremy Schmidt, player manager Chad Raiche, catcher Graham Brown, second baseman Nate Johnson, and pitcher-infielder Mitch Wurm. Then came the awarding of the tournament Most Valuable Player to Jeremy Schmidt, who won three games in the tournament. While the 2008 Laker team was the most recent to place in State, taking third at Shakopee and Chaska, tournament archives show Maple Lake first-place wins in 1931 and 1939.