The Maple Lake Legion team hosted the Howard Lake Lakers on Monday, June 17. Looking to gain another win the Irish knew it would be a hard-fought battle to get it. Pitching for Maple Lake was Jake Johnson, who up to this game was nearly un-hittable, but pitching well can only get a team so far. The Irish offense had been stagnant lately and had to turn things around quickly to have a chance. But things seemed to turn from bad to worse, the offense could not get anything going and the defense couldn’t catch or throw a ball to save their lives. Going into the fourth inning down quite a few runs, Maple Lake could have chosen to give up, but they didn’t. Donnie Mavencamp started things in the fifth inning with a well hit fly ball that hit the wall in deep center field, and with that momentum they stayed focused and were able to put up a few runs. But, in the end it turned out to be too little too late.
In the grand scheme of things with three straight nights of stormy weather damaging property, uprooting trees, and causing massive power outages, baseball might not seem so important. But to area town team managers and players, game postponements create lots of trouble. Make-up games have to be crammed into already busy schedules, and the pitching rotation is thrown into confusion. During the past week, the Maple Lake Lakers picked up league wins against Hutchinson and Montrose-Waverly, but wet fields at Maple Plain on Saturday and Irish Stadium on Sunday meant cancellation of two more games. At the end of the weekend, the Lakers stood on top of the North Star League with a record of 9-1, 12-2 overall. The Lakers are only half through their schedule of North Star League games which began May 5. Howard Lake is second in the league at 10-3. Upcoming Games June 26 Rockford 7:30 p.m. June 28 D-C Saints at Dassel Stadium 7:30 p.m. June 30 at Cokato Kings, Brooks Lake Park 2 p.m.
The Lakers put together 19 hits along with four bases on balls, a hit batter, and two Mound errors to win its second straight over the Mallards at Irish Stadium on Fathers’ Day. The brutal game lasted three hours. In the tradition of big Laker innings, 10 batters came to the plate in the fifth inning and scored six runs on five hits, a walk, and a Mallards' error. In the eighth, the Lakers scored seven more runs on seven hits, a walk, and hit batter to give the Lakers a 17-4 lead, and it looked as though the game would end on the 10-run rule. However, the Mallards were the home team for the day and came back with five runs to narrow the gap 17-9 in their half of the eighth. Included in the eighth scoring was a two-run homer by shortstop Ed Kutz, his second of the day. He blasted one in the fourth for two runs. Ben Jungers started on the mound for the Lakers and lasted until the seventh to take the win and improve his record to 2-1.
With a double-header win over Delano in front of a large crowd at Irish Stadium on Sunday, July 14, the Lakers won first place in the North Star League with a record of 18-3 with one regular season game left. With the No. 1 seed, the Lakers will open 12C Region action at Howard Lake against the No. 8 team. Before the region, Manager Chad Raiche is looking forward to honing the Lakers’ skills with tough competition against Victoria on July 19 and Moorhead on June 21. He said those games would help get the team get ready in hopes of returning to the State Tournament. Raiche also said the rare opportunity for practice time would give the team a chance to work on fundamentals and hitting. In the mean time, Cokato, Rockford, Mound, Buffalo, and Montrose will battle it out for the final playoff spot in what will be an eight-team double- elimination regional tournament with all games at Howard Lake. The play-in and region schedules are on the league website: northstarleague.org.
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.