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.
by Lexi Pingel The Maple Lake cross country boys’ and girls’ teams have set their sights on becoming the 2012 Central Minnesota Conference champions. In hopes of reaching this goal, seniors Nick Feikema, Danny Becker, Greg Dorow, Hannah Haegele, and Baylyn Riviere, who make up a small portion of the 54 participants, will provide strong leadership. “Greg Dorow is definitely the leader for the boys’ team,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs. “He is the number one runner and everyone looks up to him already. He works hard and runs a lot during the summer, which is what we need from the team. “For the girls, we will look to Hannah. But given the circumstances of her injury, we hope she can at least come back and give a moral boost to the team.” As always for Maple Lake sports, standards are set high for both cross country teams. Youngs said the boys’ team is looking for a conference championship. “It will be tough because Royalton has most of their team back and they have a lot of good kids.
At 7:30 a.m. on Monday, August 13, all of the volleyball girls dug out their running shoes and were on the track to run the mile to kick off their first practice of the 2012 season. A typical two-a-day practice does not only involve running the mile, but also a series of hard drills, doing boards (pushing a piece of carpeted wood up and down the court), some playing time, and finishes off with lanes, dots, and ropes. Much preparation has been done by the team and coaches to get to where the volleyball program is today. Over the summer, many of the athletes have participated in Breakfast Club, Delano League, Augsburg team camp, Paul Moore camps, and the weight room. “Many hours were put in to prepare us for the start of the pre-season practices,” said Head Coach Marty Kiebel.
Irish vs. Milaca Not letting the early season jitters get to them, the team started off their first official match together as a team against Milaca. The Irish did very well against this team, bringing high energy levels into the gym during each and every play. Maple Lake ended match one, winning with a score of 25-8. The Irish started off the second match just as strong as the first one until the ball hit the floor on Milaca’s side at point 25 in match two. The final score was 25-13, with another Irish win. “I thought the team did a great job for the first real competition of the season,” said Coach Marty Kiebel. “There are usually a lot of nerves those first few games, but we worked through them very well.” Irish vs. Rocori
With a dramatic 7-run tenth inning and Mitch Wurm’s clutch relief pitching, the Lakers defeated the Stewartville-Racine Sharks 14-7 on Saturday at Putz Stadium in St. Cloud to advance to the third round of the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. Maple Lake will face Blue Earth on Saturday, September 1, at Faber Field in St. Cloud at 7:30 p.m. The Pirates of the 13/60 League and Region 4C champs received a first round bye and knocked off Detroit Lakes 11-4, also on Saturday. Blue Earth has appeared in every state tournament since 2003. Saturday winners go on to play Sunday with the losers eliminated. Sunday is a test of the surviving teams’ pitching depth. To win the state championship, a team must win a second game on Sunday and then the final on Labor Day. The entire tournament this year is single elimination. It was a nail-biter for the large and vocal Maple Lake crowd who are certainly some of the best fans around.
by Zach Johnson The Maple Lake Irish took on a feisty Rockford Rockets team at Irish Stadium on Friday night, Sept. 21. The Rockets came to town with a chip on their shoulder and were determined to upset the high-flying Irish. The game was a slugfest with neither team able to establish dominance for three and a half quarters. The Irish took the opening kickoff on their own 19-yard line and were able to move the ball down the field behind excellent blocking by the offensive line led by seniors Isaac Kotila and Ben Hudek, who keyed the power running attack. Senior slot back Drew Hanson streaked around the left end for the final nine yards and the score behind the block of junior wide-out Zach Johnson. Sophomore kicker Charlie Stejskal kicked the extra point. Stejskal again proved an invaluable asset as he was five-for-five on extra points. The Rockets took the kickoff and moved methodically down the field with a series of runs up the middle of the Irish defense.