The Maple Lake Lakers’ game with St. Francis scheduled for Sunday, May 6, was called off due to Maple Lake's wet field. Friday night, May 11, is the first Lakers’ home game under the new lights, against St. Michael at 7:30 p.m. Since the Saints compete in the North Star League Class B North Division, the game will not count in the Lakers’ final league won-loss record that determines playoff seeding. On Sunday, May 13, the Lakers host St. Louis Park in a non-league contest at 2 p.m. Farther down the line, the Lakers host Albertville on Wednesday, May 16, at 7:30. The Villains were transferred by the state board over winter into Class B and will compete in the league's North Star Division along with St. Michael, Elk River, and Rogers. More information appears in this week's Messenger.
The Maple Lake Irish softball team competed in their second playoff game against Annandale at Becker on Tuesday, May 22. As the lower seed in the section, Maple Lake took to the plate as the away team in the first inning. Brooke Decker led the Irish off with a base hit. Unfortunately, she was thrown out at second base due to a fielder’s choice which allowed Hannah Klug to reach first. Two balls hit to the center-fielder resulted in three outs and sent the Irish to the field. Annandale’s leadoff hitter was able to reach first base by drawing a walk. But, things seemed to be turning around as the second batter was called out for stepping outside the batter’s box. A fly-out to center brought the inning to two outs, but Annandale wasn’t ready to end it and Bree Ahsenmacher hit a single. The next hitters got on base through error and a walk, which brought in one runner.
On Monday, May 21, the Irish hosted Dassel-Cokato for a non-conference game. It was a tough game, but due to the lack of offense and a few mistakes on Maple Lake’s part, the boys took their fourth loss of the year by a score of 3-4. On the mound for the Irish was senior Zach Stokman who threw six and one-third innings. He allowed four runs off of seven hits and three walks. In relief for the final two outs was senior Brian Redemske, who allowed no hits and two walks in finishing the contest. In the fifth inning the Irish were finally able to break the shutout by scoring two runs. This began when senior Dedrek Berndtson was hit by a pitch, followed by a single from sophomore Landon Caughey. After a couple outs, both runners were able to move into scoring position. Up next was B. Redemske who singled which allowed both runs to score. Maple Lake picked up one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning, starting with two consecutive singles from seniors Jake Johnson and Derek Rachel.
Coming off the very memorable True Team State meet, the Irish runners were at it again when they competed at the Sub-section meet held in Annandale on Tuesday, May 22. To advance to the Section meet, an athlete must place in the top four for an individual event, and the top two in a relay. There were also preliminary races for the 100, 200, and 100/110 meter hurdles. To advance to the finals, an athlete must place in the top eight. “The kids worked hard and ran with very tired legs coming off the state meet,” said Coach Ben Youngs. “There were times that I saw kids running as hard as they could, but the legs just didn't have the same pop as they'd had at other times this season. Still, they finished better than we've ever finished in the Sub-section, boys and girls combined. “We don't set our lineup to score team points for this meet, but they do keep score, and our boys won their first-ever Sub-section championship.
A few of the golf meets in past weeks were quite the blows for both Irish teams, but the week of May 7 through 11was definitely a change for the better. Almost every player on both the boys’ and girls’ teams improved their scores. The boys had a meet on both May 7 and May 11, and the girls had one on May 11. The girls’ team headed to Kimball on Friday to take on seven competitors. One of those competitors happened to be their rival: Osakis. “It felt good to come out on top of Osakis. It was a great sense of accomplishment,” said varsity golfer Tabitha Latzig. The weather in Kimball on Friday, May 11, was much like it was here in Maple Lake. It was chilly, rainy, and quite miserable. The girls were proud of their scores but were still able to pinpoint something they could improve on. “We need to focus on not stressing out so much about the course itself, but put our focus on the game of golf,” said Latzig.
On Monday, May 14, the Irish baseball team traveled to Rockford for a conference game. It was a battle but Maple Lake walked away with a win, 8-6. Throwing for the Irish was senior Zach Stokman who went six and two-thirds innings. He allowed six runs on nine hits and six walks, but also struck six men out. In relief of the final out was senior Brian Redemske who ended the game with a strikeout. The Irish began their rally in the sixth inning where they scored all eight runs of the game. It started when the boys found a way to load the bases, after a hit, a walk, and a couple Rockets’ errors, this would lead to four consecutive base hits by the top of the order and a crooked number which put the Irish in front.
On Monday, May 14, the Maple Lake Irish softball team faced their toughest competition in the conference, Rockford, in a home game and was able to pull off a 4-0 win. The Irish started off on defense and pitcher Brooke Decker began the first inning with a strikeout. The next batter got on base by error followed by a fly-out to right field and another strike-out. On offense, Decker started the Irish off with a base hit. After two strike-outs, Shelby Rachel stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI single, which gave the Irish a 1-0 lead. A strike-out brought the teams to the second inning. The second and third innings went quick for both teams as players struck out and grounded out. For Rockford, the fourth inning consisted of more ground-outs. However, the Irish got something going with a single hit by Courtney Couette.
With a record of 3-1, the Lakers head toward the Memorial Day weekend with a 7:30 p.m. game against the Kings at Cokato on Wednesday, May 23, and then host Loretto on Friday, May 25, at 7:30, before a 5-day break. Both are league games. This is the first night game for the Lakers at the Kings’ home field at Brooks Lake on the north side of Cokato. Wins last week over Maple Plain and Mound count toward league standings. Albertville is a Class B team, so that loss will not affect the Lakers’ league record.
Early Saturday morning, May 19, both the girls’ and boys’ Maple Lake track teams got on a bus to Stillwater High School to participate in the 2012 State True Team meet. The meet was run just like any other True Team meet, with two competitors from each team in an event. History was made that day with the boys’ team becoming the first-ever team in the history of Maple Lake High School to win a state championship. Not only was history made, but school records were broken, and many personal records were set. In the shot put, Isaac Kotila threw a 47’2” to beat out previous record holder and former coach, Brad Salveson, with a 45' 6.5" made in 2006. The boys’ 4x400, consisting of Matt Mooney, Drew Hanson, Forrest Coughlin, and Kevin Salveson, ran a 3:34.71, setting a new record by about two seconds. The previous record was held by Corey Salveson, Kent Hollencamp, Josh Pribyl, and Brad Salveson with a time of 3:36.06 back in 2006.
The Lakers combined good pitching and hard hitting to knock off Loretto 8-4 on Friday, May 25, at Irish Stadium. The one-two punch of Jeremy Schmidt and Mitch Wurm combined to hold off one of the league’s top teams. Starting on the mound, Schmidt cruised along for six innings, giving up only an unearned run, limiting the Larks to three hits and a walk. He had two stretches in which he retired six batters in a row. The seventh was his nemesis. Loretto loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk before Brandon Scanlon and Ryan Schaust delivered hits that drove in a total of three runs to put the Larks on top 4-3. With two runners on base and two out, Wurm entered the game, giving up a walk before ending the inning with a strikeout. He picked up three more strike-outs while finishing the game and recording his first win of the season. Both teams hit the ball hard on many occasions, but the Lakers out-hit Loretto 15-9.