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When I realized there would be no Roger Wiltz column this week, I felt it was my duty as a regular outdoors enthusiast to serve his weekly readers in his absence. I was married on Sept. 27, 2008, so my one-year anniversary is coming up quickly. Even though I knew it could be an annual issue between my wife and I -- she promised it wouldn't -- duck opener looks to fall on the same weekend this year. I'm not too excited to tell her.
Some say a tie is worse than losing. For Scotland and Tabor Legion baseball players, they wouldn't agree. Playing under the bright lights of the Metrodome in Minneapolis Tuesday night, the two teams' two-hour time limit expired after seven innings, forcing the game to end at 3-3. "Our kids really enjoyed it," Scotland co-head coach Brian Vaith said. "They said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Scotland coaches Brian Vaith and Dennis Kronazil, along with their wives, helped orchestrate the planning for the trip about three to four weeks ago.
Along with teams from 10 different states and two different Canadian provinces, the Mitchell Post 18 Legion baseball team starts the Jim Hanus Gopher Classic today. The 48-team, eight-pool tournament is held at eight different sites around the Twin Cities. Post 18 is in Pool 3 and plays Osseo, Minn., in its first game at 2:30 p.m. today at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington, Minn., which is where all of Pool 3 will be played. Mitchell ace Brett Young will take the mound in the team's first game for the first time since a game played Saturday, June 27, at the Fargo-Moorhead tournament.
With Legion baseball, change is inevitable. Players cycle through their years of eligibility, then some move on to bigger, better things. For five players, the next few weeks are the last under Post 18 head coach Luke Norden. Those next few weeks are enough, they say, to get ready for their final goal as a group. Seniors Jordan Piper, Brett Young, Steve Jackson, Alex Loes and Cade Hearnen have -- in their own way -- helped lead Mitchell to the state high school championship during the spring, but that was just the first leg of the season goal.
Wyatte Hantan has been shooting carp with a bow and arrow for about four years. On one occasion, he and his brother stacked up about 350 pounds of carp in one day near Huron. So when he and friend Michael McPeek went out shooting to the James River June 30, he didn't expect to shoot an abnormal species. The 16-year-old Hantan walked alongside a road near Hanson Wheels and Wagon and shot a 15.25-pound Asian Bighead Carp. The fish, which was longer than 24 inches, is a species that has a relatively low number in the James River.
KIMBALL -- The 10-foot putt was lined up on a soft path of smooth sand. Harold Bickner, who has golfed for more than 40 years at Lake 16 Golf Course, rocked his club back, tapped the ball and watched as it created a noticeable trail on its way to the cup. The ball stopped dead in the sand, 8 inches from Bickner's anticipated destination. On Lake 16's sand greens, that's close enough for a birdie. "It's a gimme if it's within a club's length," Bickner said. "But now the rest of the course isn't going to go as well.
One bad play in one big inning kept Mitchell Post 18 from a doubleheader sweep against Pierre Thursday. Post 8 scored eight runs in the top of the third inning in Game 2, which was sparked by a first-and-third situation where Mitchell threw the ball all around the diamond. The play tied the game at 2, eventually helping Post 8 win the nightcap 9-7 after Mitchell handily won the first game 10-2. Cade Hearnen started the second game for Mitchell, and after working through the first two innings unharmed, he walked the No. 9 hitter -- a cardinal sin in baseball. The No.
One early, powerful swing of the bat from Huron didn't get Mitchell down. Instead, the three-run homer from Mike DeLauries helped Post 18's offense fire up. After stranding 12 runners in an 11-7 loss to Brookings Monday night, Mitchell scored in all but the first inning in a 17-6 rout of Huron that lasted only 6½ innings Tuesday at Cadwell Park. Steve Jackson started for Mitchell. In the first inning, he gave up singles to the No. 2 and 3 hitters. Then DeLauries stepped to the plate.
Now that I have my first year of South Dakota high school sports under my belt with a good understanding of the area's sports, I want to take the left side of today's sports section to recognize one school that stood out in 2008-'09. Sure, almost every area school has some type of sports moment I could mention, but this school deserves an extra bit of credit. The first time I made the trip to Wagner High School, it was during early season football practice and I strolled up to a group of hard-working kids getting ready for the upcoming season.
Fresh off a spring state championship and rolling into the Legion season with a 9-3 record, the Mitchell Post 18 team is at a midseason crossroads. Since the hot start, head coach Luke Norden's team is 4-6 in its last 10 games, including a couple very disappointing losses. A fresh start is what the team could use, and starting today, Mitchell will be at the Fargo-Moorhead tournament -- possibly the perfect place to jumpstart the season.