On Monday, July 8, the Maple Lake American Legion baseball team traveled to Mound to take on the White Hawks. Maple Lake has struggled during the second half of the season and found itself mired in a three-game losing streak. The visiting Irish jumped on top, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Maple Lake was happy to take an early lead, which was something they hadn't done for quite some time. Zach Johnson started on the mound for the Irish but quickly ran into trouble against a stout White Hawk lineup. Johnson had no trouble throwing strikes, but the Mound hitters were able to connect consistently and sprayed the ball all over the field, scoring six runs. More information appears in this week's Messenger.
by Don Gadow Correspondent With wins over Rockford and Loretto, the Lakers retain their hold on first place in the North Star League but will be tested Wednesday, July 10, in a 7:30 p.m. road game against the second-place Howard Lake Orphans. With league losses only to the DC Saints and Cokato Kings, the Lakers’ record stands at 15-2, 18-3 overall. Howard Lake is close behind at 13-3 for second place. For the remainder of the week, the Lakers host Albertville on Friday, July 12, in a 7:30 p.m. nonleague match up. On Saturday, the Lakers travel to Maple Plain to take on the Diamond Devils at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the Lakers host a double header against Delano at 2 and 6 p.m., with one of those games making up for a previous rainout. All Star Game On July 3, Irish Stadium played host to the North Star All Star Game, with three Lakers participating on the West team. Jeremy Schmidt was the starting pitcher and threw two scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
The Maple Lake American Legion baseball team took to the road to play against a very tough Dassel-Cokato team. The Irish have been going through a little bit of a rough streak. After starting out the season 3-1, they have dropped the past two games. Starting on the hill for Maple Lake was Tony Goelz, who finished the school ball schedule with some strong outings. But yet again things got off to a shaky start for the Irish who allowed four runs in the first two innings. The Maple Lake hitters once again couldn’t seem to get much going failing to score any runs through the first four innings. In the top of the fourth inning, Jake Johnson came in to pitch. Johnson went on to shut down Dassel Cokato completely, allowing only one hit in three innings.
The No. 1 seeded Maple Lake Lakers begin their march toward the state tournament on Wednesday, July 31, at Howard Lake, in the first round of Region 12C action against the Mound Mallards, the No. 8 team. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Mound gained entry to the double-elimination tournament by defeating Rockford 11-0 on Sunday in the finals of a play-in that saw the Mallards knocking off Montrose-Waverly and Cokato. The winner of Wednesday’s game will play on Saturday at 4 p.m. in a state- qualifying game. The loser plays Sunday at 2 p.m. Howard Lake is the site of all 12C games. The complete tournament schedule is available through the league website: northstarleague.org. The State Tournament begins Friday, August 16, at Maple Lake and Delano. It is said pitching is the name of the game, and if that’s the case, it’s easy to see why the Lakers ended up with a record of 25-4 and won the league championship.
The members of the Maple Lake Irish boys and girls golf teams have put another season under their belts. Though the season was harsh, with the abnormal weather and tense rivalries, the teams pulled through; walking away with several All-Conference winners and other awards. For the girls, the season was especially tough, with below average temperatures and precipitation for most of their meets. The girls stuck through it, however, and produced some of the best scores their coach, Steve Fuchs, had seen for their team. “Our season went well,” Fuchs said. “We finished in second behind Osakis and every girl on the team lowered their average from last season.” The girls finished with a total score of 1,316 strokes, placing them second behind Osakis, who had a total score of 1,214 strokes. Tabitha Latzig placed third in All-Conference and won the award of Most Valued Player. When asked how she thought the season went for her, Latzig responded: “It went pretty well.
Over the weekend, the Lakers polished off two powerful Class B teams, including last year’s Class B state champions, the Victoria Vics. With a revenge win over Maple Plain on July 17, the Lakers finished their league season with a 19-3 record, 25-4 overall. With the final North Star standings complete, the No. 1 seed Lakers know they will open Region 12C competition at 7:30 p.m. July 31 at Howard Lake, against the No. 8 seed, but that opponent is yet to be determined by a playoff of the bottom five league teams: Cokato Kings, Rockford, Buffalo, Mound, Montrose-Waverly. The top seven finishers automatically qualify for region play: 1. Maple Lake 19-3 2. Howard Lake 16-6 3. Maple Plain 15-7 4. Loretto 14-8 5. Hutchinson 14-8 6. Delano 14-8 7. D-C Saints 14-8 Seedings of teams 4 through 7 were determined through a tie-breaker formula agreed on by the league teams. All games in the eight-team, double elimination regional tournament will be played in Howard Lake.
With the loss to Loretto on Saturday, Aug. 10, the Lakers ended their Region 12C tournament action at Howard Lake after dropping a 4-1 decision to Howard Lake on Friday night. With a third-place finish, the defending state champion Lakers still advance to the state tournament but have lost the advantage of playing their opening game at Irish Stadium. Instead, the Lakers will play Roseau at noon Sunday, in Delano. Howard Lake, the undefeated champions of the region tournament, earns a bye in the first round of the tournament by virtue of defeating Loretto 6-4. For the state tournament, the Lakers drafted pitchers Tyler Zweibohmer from the D-C Saints and Tyler Gruenhagen from the Waverly/Montrose Stingers. Two more North Star League teams have qualified for state. Hutchinson plays Bluffton in Maple Lake at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Loretto takes on Elrosa at Delano, co-host of the tournament, at 7 p.m.
Kelsie Kelm goes up for a block in a scrimmage against her teammates in a showcase for the girls’ parents before the season begins. The Irish girls were scheduled to play Albany on Friday and have their first home game coming up on Tuesday.
The Maple Lake Irish cross country teams took a step toward starting their seasons when they held time trials recently to determine who would run varsity for the first meet. “The time trial was encouraging,” coach Ben Youngs said. “The girls’ times were, on average, improved from last year, as were the boys. The boys are very deep and it will be competitive to stay on varsity.” More information and stats appear in this week's Messenger.