On Thursday, June 2, most Maple Lake students were in school taking their end of the year finals, but the Irish golf team was in St. Michael at the Fox Hollow golf course, busy with a completely different kind of final. It was Sections, the final meet of the year for many of the golfers. This was what the entire season had come down to. Every golfer on the course was wondering the same questions. Would they move on to the second day? Could they make it to State? “Sections is so much more intense and involves a lot more concentration,” said Tabitha Latzig.
On Tuesday, May 31, the Maple Lake Irish baseball team began their playoff season, hosting Becker. The game was a battle throughout, going into extra innings, but the Irish found a way to win by a score of 6-5.
“It was a hard-fought victory,” said Coach Tony Smith. “We left a lot of guys on base, but we were able to get that run across in the ninth. We advanced!”
The Irish traveled to Watertown for the Section 5AA semi-finals game on Tuesday, May 31, where they were up against the Park Center Pirates, a school more than five times the size of Maple Lake High School.
The Irish were the underdogs in this game since Park Center was the defending 2010 state champ and they had only lost one player from the past year.
Nevertheless, the Irish put up a fight, winning the game 7-1.
After ending the Memorial weekend with a West Division record of 1-1, the Lakers resume action on Wednesday, June 1, hosting non-division Elk River in a 7:30 p.m. game. Home 7:30 p.m. games with Minneapolis Cobras on June 3 and Victoria on June 4 continue exhibition play before Rockford comes to Irish Stadium on Sunday, June 5, for a 2 p.m. game. Mark June 10 on your calendars when Buffalo comes to Maple Lake for an important division game rescheduled from the May 22 rain out. This game is a replacement for Albert’s Gators that you see on your schedules.
Fired up and ready, the Irish track teams headed to Dassel-Cokato on Tuesday, May 24, for the meet they’ve been preparing for since the start of the season, sub-sections. Here, the Irish faced off against teams such as Howard Lake, Annandale and Rockford. In the end the girls finished third and the boys placed second.
“Our goal was to send as many kids as possible to the section meet, and I think we have achieved this objective,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs.
On Monday, May 23, the Irish baseball team traveled to Eden Valley-Watkins to wrap up conference play. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Maple Lake but due to the weather, the field was too wet to be played on. The Irish struggled again to string any offense together, losing the game 9-0. Throughout the entire game, the team managed to only get three hits.
“Our second trip to Watkins wasn’t very good,” said Coach Tony Smith. “We were only able to collect three hits. Against EV-W that isn’t going to be enough.”
The 2011 Irish softball team, along with parents and coaches, all gathered on Thursday, August 4, to celebrate a successful season.
Head Coach Tim Knudsen opened the banquet by thanking many people that contributed to the season such as his wife, Mary, athletic director, Dave Schroeder, bus driver, Marilyn Blizil, and scoreboard keeper, Linsey Rachel.
As the heat goes on, so do the Lakers. With one loss and one win on Saturday, July 30, against the Dassel-Cokato Saints in the divisional round of playoffs, the team continues to advance and are now in the regional tournament.
Lakers vs. D-C, game 1
Going undefeated in tournament play leading up to Saturday’s games, the Lakers were in need of only one win over D-C to advance to the next round.