History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Seat belt enforcement grates on a great many

"Buckling up" is no longer a decision left to citizens of Morris.
 
There was a time when law enforcement people acted like general caretakers of a community. They might scold or give advice on occasions. They would put you in the right direction with a stern directive about something. You'd listen too.
Today it's more likely they'll just ask to see your driver's license, get on their car radio and process a citation. The creative mind behind "Beetle Bailey" noticed this once. It was no longer sufficient for Sarge to berate someone by hollering using expletives. That's old school. Today there's punishment with a tangible outcome - a fine or demotion or whatever.
What do you prefer? Such was the blue nature of Sarge's language, it would be represented by those "squiggles" that you get hitting the top row of keys (upper case).
I think we'd all prefer a combination. There are times when a stern warning ought to do the job fine. And then there are infractions where the more formal punishment is called for.
Many good citizens have been getting humiliated by getting seat belt tickets here of late. A friend from my church told me the other day the "sting" has not abated. Be very careful when driving your car around Morris. Even if you slip into the driver's seat after dropping someone off, and your intent is to just find a parking spot a block away, wrap yourself in, no matter how ridiculous it seems. All it takes is being spotted by that young guy in a uniform for a split second. You'll see the flashing lights and go through the whole routine.
Police officers of a generation ago would be surprised. We employed more common sense in an earlier time. We all knew the role of police - to provide essential protection and order. Police knew who the real troublemakers were in a community and the people who might just be absent-minded or stupid.
I think most intelligent people in Morris are flabbergasted at this crackdown with seat belts. So one wonders: Where is the mandate coming from, if it seems to fly in the face of public will?
There appears to be a combination of factors at work.
There was a national tug-of-war between automakers and the Federal bureaucracy that set the stage for much of this. Automakers were concerned about being required to install air bags. The concern was that the price of cars might be pushed too high. The bureaucrats offered a deal: If seat belt legislation could be enacted to a certain degree across the states, the requirement would be suspended. Let's name names. Elizabeth Dole was the bureaucrat pulling the strings. That's a big Republican name. I thought Republicans fought "regulations."
The automakers established a lobbying arm to push seat belts. The public wasn't accepting of seat belt use as absolutely mandatory. The forces on the other side, scratching heads, came up with a tactic: Promote the seat belt offense as "secondary" so people wouldn't have to worry about being pulled over just for seat belt. Inroads were made. Beware of scheming bureaucrats and politicians. The camel's nose had gotten in the proverbial tent.
Pretty soon there were "awareness campaigns" which my friends around Morris would call "stings." Technically they aren't stings because stings induce people into breaking the law. Seat belt enforcement campaigns are just overzealous law enforcement. Of course, if we were really concerned with protecting public safety, we'd outlaw motorcycles completely. Also, all these contraptions sort of like golf carts, which in my youth we called "swamp buggies." Those three-wheel motorcycles are getting more common.
Getting rear-ended in a glorified golf cart has to be bad news. So why is it such a cardinal sin to be caught not wearing a seat belt in a nice sturdy automobile? Because the lawmakers in their detached world, away from regular day-to-day life and bombarded with lobbyists' missives, have decreed it so. They realize at the same time that the law and the aggressive enforcement mandate don't pass the smell test. They know that because they used to be normal people.
If you want to see a remedy for this, you might want to vote for more Democrats than Republicans. You see, Republicans recoil from "raising taxes" so much, like it's an awful disease, they fall back on "fees and fines" to get revenue in. It's an onerous process. Along with fees and fines, there is a greater dependence on gambling, which in my youth was highly taboo, not to be weighed seriously for public purposes. Back then if we as the public wanted something, we were more receptive to the idea of simply paying for it via the orderly and equitable system of taxation.
Today rich people absolutely scream they cannot pay more taxes. At the Federal level, officeholders do things without paying for them at all, sort of.
We rely on electronic pulltabs to pay for a new Vikings stadium in Minnesota, which, if you look at the obvious adequacy of the Metrodome, is nothing but foolish. It's like Sodom and Gomorrah. We're deluded. There are so many other infrastructure projects we could undertake.
The seat belt ticket I received was on May 31. It was a distraction for about a third of the summer. The Barney Fife showed me a website address I could visit to ascertain my fine and perhaps pay it online. The fine amount wasn't made known to me immediately - very strange. I can't pay online because I don't have a credit card. The Fife showed me an 800 phone number I could call to accomplish the same purpose. This is the route I would use, and what an adventure this would become.
I called the number three or four times over a period of three weeks. Initially I was told through a mechanical system (no live human voice) that no information was available on my ticket. The menu eventually allowed me to speak to a person. These people - women - were friendly enough. They weren't able to help me with my ticket, which was now hovering over my whole summer.
Finally one of these receptionists, after I had taken up much of their time, suggested I call the local court administrator's office. I did. The person on the other end said she'd look into it and get back to me. A few minutes later the phone rang. I was informed there was some sort of paperwork slip-up, presumably at the local police office, and that my fine would be $110. I had two passengers in my car so I suppose it could have been worse.
I asked if I could pay the damn fine in person. The 30-day deadline for paying the fine was days away. I was told yes, I could pay in person, but it would have to be "cash" - yes, bills. Desperate to get the process over with, I went ahead and did it this way. But I found it strange.
The standard procedure is to mail payment to a collection office in Willmar. Presumably checks would be fine for that. But in person, here, it would have to be some dead presidents.
The Willmar office signals to me that we're seeing more consolidation and centralizing of these government processes. I suppose that's good but what troubles me is we had such an opulent new courthouse built here. Is it actually becoming obsolete? I for one felt our existing courthouse was just fine. Heck, I actually think our 19th Century courthouse might be good enough today.
Everything is being streamlined and made more efficient. The importance of sprawling infrastructure is diminishing. That very old courthouse was in fact very charming. It would be a striking landmark today. But our county commissioners wanted all the bells and whistles, even a 40-bed jail until the community finally said "wait a minute" and had to practically organize in mobs to get that canceled.
Can we get some mobs to try to cut out this overzealous seat belt enforcement? All these $110 fines are taking money out of the pockets of people who'd normally be spending it locally. It's a Chamber of Commerce issue. But the government needs funds and Republicans won't "raise taxes."
So we're paying the piper and being humiliated in the process. Let's try to resolve this unreasonable and unjust state of affairs. Let's make Morris a more pleasant place in which to live.
Chief Beauregard, maybe you have your shorts on a little too tight. 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Eagles' 9-7 win makes state berth official

The Morris Eagles met the Cards of Clinton during their busy weekend of August 11-12. The outcome was a 9-7 win on Saturday which spelled advancement to state.
This game was the final in the elimination phase for Region 9C. There would be two more games for the resilient Eagle crew to play on the weekend, as the final jockeying for state was completed.
The Eagles outhit the Cards 14-10. It was a sloppily fielded game as Morris committed five errors and the Cards four.
Morris came out of the starting gate with three runs scored in the top of the first. Leadoff man Dusty Sauter singled, then sped over to third on Kirby Marquart's double. An error allowed Sauter to score. The next run came on an Eric Asche single. And the third came home when Craig Knochenmus sent a fly ball deep enough to serve as a sacrifice.
Jacob Torgerson went out to the mound as starting pitcher. He had a rough start as Clinton got to him for four runs. He would settle down to allow no runs in the second and third.
The Morris half of the third saw Knochenmus drive in a run with a single, getting the score tied four-all. Morris asserted itself in the fourth with another four-run rally, finally creating some breathing room. Power was the ticket. First there was a Dusty Sauter single with one out. There were two outs when fans heard the ringing bats of Ryan Beyer, Asche and Knochenmus, all of whom doubled. The latter two Eagles each drove in two runs with their two-baggers.
Torgerson completed his hurling after three innings. On came veteran Matthew Carrington in the pitching role. Carrington allowed one run in the fourth, then slammed the door until the eighth when he again allowed one run. With the ninth inning beckoning, Morris owned eight runs but hardly had this game put away. Knochenmus did his part making sure Morris would keep its edge. He socked his fourth hit of the game leading off the ninth. It was his second double. He sped home on a single off Carrington's bat.
A state tournament bid was on the line as Knochenmus strode out to the mound, psyched for his "closer" role. He's accustomed to wearing this mantle. It was hardly routine on this day. A single and two walks spelled trouble for "Knochy." It was up to Jacob Torgerson to come to the fore defensively to keep the Eagles' fortunes solid. Torgerson was poised at shortstop. He made a memorable catch with his back to the infield. A run did score on the catch via sacrifice but the damage was minimized. Morris kept its lead at two. The next Card to bat sent a grounder toward the hole at shortstop. Torgerson's glove would be tested again. He was up to the task, snaring the ball and flipping it to Carrington at third. It was now official: the Eagles are headed to state!
Carrington was the pitcher of record, picking up his eighth win of the summer. Knochenmus may have struggled but he'll happily take his fourth save.
Marquart was an Eagle rookie when the Eagles made their previous appearance in state (in 2004). Van Kempen was a second year Eagle. And of course, Carrington was in the fold in his usual steadying way. Carrington picked up the pitching win with five innings pitched. He fanned two batters, walked two and allowed five hits and two runs (earned). Torgerson struck out two batters in his three innings.
Knochenmus with his four hits was followed by Asche with three. Sauter and Marquart each had two hits.
 
Morris 7, Madison 2
The Eagles took to the diamond for two more games on August 12. At stake was the coveted No. 1 seed for state which would bring a bye at the start - no small advantage.
The Morris town team went to work for a 7-2 win, thus they forced the second game which would grow into a marathon affair later in the day at Ortonville.
Brett Anderson spanked a run-scoring single in the second to get Morris started. Brett's hit followed a Tanner Picht double. The Mallards of Madison struck with two unearned runs in the bottom of the third. But the damage could have been worse as Madison left the bases full. The Eagles wrested the lead back in the fourth when Jacob Torgerson connected for a two-run single to right. From there, Morris cruised.
A run came home on an error in the fifth. There were fireworks in the seventh thanks to a home run deep to left off Ryan Beyer's bat. The homer was Beyer's fifth of the campaign. Beyer is the team's pace-setter in homers and RBIs. The Eagles scored their seventh and final run in the ninth on Tanner Picht's sacrifice fly.
It was a big day for Eagle Sam Mattson, making the transition from prep ball to the amateur (town team) level. He's a recent MAHS graduate. He looked at home on the pitching mound for Motown. He overcame some control difficulties to get the win, working five innings and striking out four batters. The two runs he allowed were unearned.
Nathan Gades had his arm put to work with the bases full in the sixth. He worked out of the jam and hurled a total of four innings, getting the save.
Three Eagles had two hits in the boxscore: Ryan Beyer, Tanner Picht and Jacob Torgerson. The Eagles outhit Madison 11-8. Each team committed three errors. Beyer scored three runs.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Will Todd Akin cause political winds to change?

(Image from Wikipedia)
 
The clock ticks as I write this, watched in an anxious way as we see if Todd Akin bows out by 5 p.m. It's like seeing if the mega-computer can be disarmed in time in "War Games." That was Matthew Broderick at his best, wasn't it? Ally Sheedy too?
It's 1:37 p.m. and cable news is fixated in its predictable way. Akin is the Senate hopeful in Missouri who said things that would make smoke come out of women's ears. I'm not surprised a conservative Republican would say these things. These are things I don't even wish to quote.
What all Republicans realize is that Akin came forward like a bear with boxing gloves and stepped over a line - leaped really - with the words he chose. His fundamental ideas would bring no objection from conservative Republicans or even many mainstream ones.
Let's remember the mainstream in America has shifted to the right. It's a long way from Nelson Rockefeller or even Gerald Ford. The question I'm weighing now is: Is this the tipping point?
It's hard sometimes to conjure up a crystal ball image of where political sentiment is heading. We can feel certain at a given time, that a particular ideology is dug in and has momentum. I can remember the Democrats flexing their muscles in the 1970s. Republicans seemed marginalized in many cases. It was as if we didn't want to give up on the Great Society.
We seemed unapologetic about depending on the government or government guarantees of certain things. We had mixed feelings about unions. Your average person on the street would say teachers unions were bad, but would shrug and in the next breath say "nothing can be done about it." Today people can speak openly about proposals trimming teacher seniority etc. and not have Howitzers pointed at them. Teachers still have unions but I think they've been forced into more accountability. That's good: Unions can accomplish laudable things but they shouldn't be a fortress in which sullen and ossified people are holed up.
Ted Kennedy was to the left of Jimmy Carter. I remember many people in academia gravitating to Jerry Brown when he wasn't bald. They liked Mo Udall too. Had the term existed then, they would have branded President Carter a DINO - "Democrat in name only."
Kennedy's insurgency vs. Carter in 1980 came up just shy, leaving the Democrats less than unified vs. Ronald Reagan. The conventional wisdom today is that Reagan's election in 1980 was absolutely necessary. History so often oversimplifies. We probably needed a dose of genuine conservatism in 1980. We needed a steady leader who was practical, realistic and inclined toward conservative economic principles. Reagan had the proper qualities. But could "the Gipper" have survived the kind of primary season we have today?
In 2012 the people pulling the strings among Republicans aren't just economically conservative. They have a full menu of so-called "conservative" stances on social issues. These are not meat and potatoes issues. These people fail to acknowledge the real world in which all perceived ideals cannot be affirmed. This isn't a fairy tale world in which everyone home schools their kids, women are submissive, abortions are banned and voting is treated as a privilege rather than a right.
My atomic clock tells me it's 2:01 and Todd Akin hasn't yet withdrawn from his race. The tide of conservatism that has seemed to progress so far, so often defying logic, may be about to retreat. We'll see after 5 p.m. when Neanderthal Mr. Akin with his cloak of ignorance and chutzpah may well be "alive." It's his right to stay in the race. His race may then become a referendum on whether the prevailing Republicans of today, those who ruled in the primary process, can continue crowing. And if they can, then maybe I for one am ready to throw in the towel.
The wild card is the women. Women who may have been inclined to join the hard-edged Republican element might say "wait a minute." Perhaps Akin will have given them the sudden jolt that prompts them, perhaps overnight, to come out of their trance. Women represent half the population lest you underestimate their clout. Akin's comments could register on such a highly sensitive, personal level, there will be no acceptable adjustments his compatriots can make.
There is an absolutely pained tone to the way Republicans are voicing objections to Akin's provocative comments, "provocative" being one of the tamer adjectives I could apply. Republicans are a crowd that really likes to stick together. They like to sing off the same page. So often they successfully cover for each other. That knee-jerk habit is so often evident, it's a yawner.
This time with Akin it's different and it's like seeing an animal out of its element. It won't adapt. Republicans usually don't use blunt or coarse language to articulate their most regressive ideas. They try to dance lightly around those ideas while continuing to adhere to them. Todd Akin stripped the veneer away in just a few seconds.
Can you imagine the alarm bells in the minds of Republican party leaders in the hours immediately following? The late-night or early-morning phone calls? "Houston, we have a problem."
Now it's breath-holding time for people on the right to see if they can keep some reasonable cohesion even when they should disown one of their own. Mitt Romney failed his leadership test, when all he could bring himself to say was he "disagreed" with Akin. He sharpened his comments a little later. But it was all too darn "poll tested."
Reagan would take the bull by the horns. He knew when to moderate - to inject reason. He didn't wear blinders. He knew when to assert pure conservatism and when to back off on the more edgy conservative stuff - the fringe issues. He wanted America to be happy.
If Romney were to just share that same ideal, he might have a ticket in to power.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The grand New York World's Fair, UMM's presence

(Image of the fair's "Unisphere" from Wikipedia)
 
One of the better-known photos of Mitt Romney as a young man was taken at the New York World's Fair. He's with his father George. George is gesturing toward something outside the photo that was probably magnificent. Mitt looks in a rapt way.
All kinds of magnificent things were on the grounds of the New York World's Fair. The years were 1964 and 1965. It has been called a "touchstone" for the boomers in the New York City area. World's fairs by definition look to the future. We see marvels that might be just getting off the drawing board. Because the fairs are future-oriented, they are optimistic. Too bad those wonderful visions at the New York World's Fair ended up not prescient, at least for the years immediately ahead.
The boomers see it as a touchstone because it preceded the uncomfortable years marked by the Viet Nam War, protests against it, and other issues sometimes rising to incendiary levels.
George Romney was a presidential hopeful at one time. Don't most of us view him now, in retrospect, as a more mature and wise person than his son? Yes, George famously claimed he had been "brainwashed" about the war. But did anyone really come out a winner in regard to that war?
We probably had advisers in Viet Nam at the time my family visited the New York World's Fair. I'm not sure to what extent troops had dug in there yet. I know the peak for U.S. casualties was in 1967.
In 1964 people flowed into the New York World's Fair in a quite contented way. The University of Minnesota-Morris was represented there. The men's chorus wearing those maroon jackets carried the UMM banner. The institution seemed still in its infancy then.
We traveled out east by train. I remember enjoying the "vista dome car." I remember the African-American "porters" who gave me my first meaningful interaction with non-white people. Morris was a white bread town in those days.
The UMM men's chorus made this trip in June of 1964. This was the same year UMM ushered its first graduating class into the world. The institution was getting its feet planted firmly on the ground. Music was the first order of business for the party I was in. But there was plenty of extracurricular fun to be had at an event like the fair. I wonder if we brushed shoulders with the Romneys and didn't know it.
I would like to see the New York World's Fair represented in a new motion picture. It deserves to be remembered better than it is. What made it different or special? A lot of the futuristic stuff was certainly special. Computers! Just think of the fledgling state of development computers were in. They bedazzled us but seemed distant and exotic - contraptions to be managed by others. Many fairgoers got their first interaction with computer equipment. Such stuff was generally kept in back offices away from the public then. We can assume it was incredibly primitive and bulky. It would have been hard imagining how ubiquitous they are today.
"Futurism" is surely a shot in the dark. When the "Back to the Future" movie series tried portraying a future time, what we saw was really just a jazzed-up version of what existed when the movie was made. These realities hardly prevent us from trying to celebrate the future. Chalk it up to the indomitable human spirit. And, the World's Fair of 1964-65 showcased that unbridled determination to leap into the future. It would be nice to close one's eyes and imagine that spirit guiding our destiny instead of the tragedy and distractions of the transformative 1960s (mid to late).
The boomers, many of whom held hands with their watchful parents as they crossed the fair grounds, were encouraged to think of a future so much more uplifting.
Many of the attractions were called "pavilions." The Ford Motor Company introduced the Mustang at its pavilion in April of 1964. Talk about another touchstone! Our family attended the "It's a Small World" show at the Pepsi pavilion. We figured the workers there might go crazy listening to that theme song all day.
"It's a Small World" was one of four shows put on by the Walt Disney Company. We saw the array of animated dolls and animals frolic. For some reason I remember the show especially well. But we saw so much fascinating stuff including the Sinclair Oil Corporation "Dinoland." It had nine dinosaur replicas, all life-size! We saw them from high up when riding the neighboring Uniroyal ferris wheel (constructed like a giant tire).
It's ironic to remember the fair's theme: "Peace Through Understanding." The ideal could have guided us through a more peaceful decade. The Cold War seemed to warp the thoughts of our national leaders. How many politicians of today would admit to being "brainwashed" on anything, the way the elder Romney eventually did? The Cold War cast a pall the likes of which the young people of today cannot understand.
The New York World's Fair ran for two six-month seasons: April through October in 1964 and the same months in '65. My goodness, the admission price was two dollars! Ron Paul would have thoughts on that (how our currency has taken a precarious course). Oh, the price was a dollar for kids.
A total of 51 million people attended the fair, actually less than had been hoped for. Try as we did, the UMM men's chorus couldn't give the decisive push! But surely these young men in maroon jackets represented our college on the prairie with class and enthusiasm. My father Ralph E. Williams was chorus director. Many people became aware for the first time of UMM.
Why might the fair have stumbled a little with attendance? There is a popular theory: lack of a standard "midway." While this may have hurt, I think the midway-less fair rose to a higher and classier atmosphere. This showcase for mid-20th Century U.S. culture and technology could have been tainted some by a "honky tonk" type of midway. Not that I can't enjoy a good midway like anyone.
I wish more good photos had been taken of the Morris party at the fair. Our family had a "box" camera but took mostly family-type photos. I think that to photograph a chorus in an inside setting would have required better equipment. Remember, good photography equipment was rare and expensive back then. I have been told that even expensive cameras then had flash units that didn't project very well. By the end of the decade we got those "Kodak Instamatics" that everyone had. Ron Howard promoted that nostalgia with a scene in "Apollo 13." Everyone was poised with their "Instamatic." The quality, frankly, was not very good.
Digital photography wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eyes. Ah, the things today's youth take for granted!
Perhaps we can fish up some photos from that fair trip in the next month as alumni from that trip prepare for the reunion in conjunction with the 2012 UMM Homecoming. I have told organizer Gary Sethney he should put out the word in search of photos. Maybe as if by magic, some will materialize. Wouldn't it be neat to have a digitized archive?
I am trying to make sure Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson is knowledgable about this aspect of UMM's past.
The reunion is set for September 22-23. Oh, I should mention the reunion will also include alumni who made the trip to Seattle for the 1962 World's Fair. Wow! UMM was really a fledgling institution then. The reunion was planned for this year as the 50th anniversary of the Seattle trip. I wasn't along for that one. I was a mere seven years of age and learning penmanship at Longfellow Elementary School (west Morris).
What a grand affair this upcoming reunion is going to be! The alums are invited to sing with the UMM concert choir on Sunday, Sept. 23, at the HFA. It will be a time to feel optimism toward the future, in a manner that was nurtured by the spectacular New York World's Fair of 1964.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Two runs in ninth spell win for Eagles, hurler Vien

Eagles 5, Dumont 4
The Region 9C playoffs began unfolding in a most upbeat way for our Morris nine. Playing at Rosen - where is Rosen? - our Morris town team edged the Dumont Saints in a very dramatic way. The Eagles plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth to edge Dumont 5-4.
It's odd to see Colton Vien's name in the Eagles boxscore. but this is what happens in the post-season: "Draftees" come on board. Pitcher Vien who is typically a rival of Morris is on board, and he pitched the full nine in the win. The Thunder Hawk (from Montevideo) struck out three batters. He walked three and gave up six hits and four runs (two earned).
Vien had a spell of trouble in the sixth but he survived that. Not only did he survive, he clamped down to retire the final nine consecutive Dumont batters. He retired to the dugout after the top of the ninth knowing his mates would have to rally to come from behind. Rally they did.
Jamie Van Kempen got things going by drawing a walk. Leadoff batter Tanner Picht got ahold of a Saint delivery and drove the ball off the wall in left. (That's an opposite field hit for the lefty batting Picht.) Team spokesman Matthew Carrington noted that the left field fence is 15 feet high there. Picht got parked at second  base.
There were no outs and Eagles perched at second and third. Then the bases became loaded thanks to an intentional walk to Kirby Marquart. Now the batter is Ryan Beyer. Beyer too was able to toss his bat aside and trot over to first on a walk. but this was an unintentional walk. The score is tied!
Vien is probably at the edge of his dugout seat at this point. Eric Asche now waves his bat in the batters box, eager to see if he can get this game over. He got ahold of a Saint delivery and sent the ball out to deep center field. The winning run scored easily.
Let's backtrack to game's start and review the other Morris scoring. Carrington picked up an RBI on a ground ball scoring Picht in the first. Dumont gained the lead 2-1 in the second, but that lead was short-lived as Morris rallied in the third. Kirby Marquart singled and Ryan Beyer took advantage of an error to reach. Marquart would score on a mishandled ball by the third baseman. Carrington hit a liner to center that got Beyer in via sacrifice. So the Eagles now lead 3-2.
Vien eventually had that shaky sixth inning in which he had control difficulties for a spell. Walks haunted him as Dumont was able to capitalize with two singles. Morris is now down 4-3 and would need that clutch rally in the bottom of the ninth. In the meantime, Thunder Hawk Vien became rock-solid with his pitching.
The Morris line score was five runs, eight hits and three errors. Dumont also had three errors.
Six Eagles had hits in the boxscore led by Picht and Marquart each with two. Carrington was tops in RBIs with two, and Picht led in runs scored with two. Picht had a stolen base.
All in all it was a savory win for our Motown crew and would set the stage for more success the next day, again in Rosen.
Coming up: Eagles vs. Madison at 1 p.m. Saturday, 8/11, in Ortonville. An August drive to Ortonville is pleasant. I used to go there for the Corn Fest 10K run back when my body cooperated with such things!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Morris Eagles win 9-4 to open "Canvas" playoffs

Eagles 9, Montevideo 4
The Morris Eagles succeeded with a come-from-behind flourish in their 7/21 home game.
The score stood 4-3 with Morris down after five innings. Morris owned the rest of this game, plating two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth, while blanking the Montevideo Spartans. The success was in the opening round of Canvas Division play in the Land O' Ducks post-season.
The Eagles began this game well enough as Dusty Sauter walked and made his way around the bases to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Leadoff man Dusty stole both second and third bases, then came home on a single off Kirby Marquart's bat.
The score became 2-0 in the second when Dusty was at the fore again, this time playing anything but "small ball." It's nice when a leadoff man demonstrates power. Dusty lined a solo homer to left. The Eagles climbed to a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Marquart connected for an RBI double.
Montevideo demonstrated power in the fifth to wipe out the Morris lead. Three Spartans crossed home plate on a long home run over the left field fence. Four runs total scored off Morris pitcher Nathan Gades, so this was a whole new ballgame with Morris now looking at a one-run deficit. Gades would hang in there to pitch a complete game. He'd need a little more offensive backing, and this was forthcoming in the sixth through eighth innings. Morris won this game 9-4.
Morris went to work in the sixth as Sauter socked an RBI triple and Marquart scored Sauter with a sacrifice fly. Morris, now in possession of the lead, added insurance with one swing of the bat in the seventh as Eric Asche homered to lead things off. The bottom of the eighth saw Marquart in his home run form. The brawny Marquart completed a memorable evening at bat (four-for-four) with a long home run to right center, good for adding three runs to the Morris total. Marquart had a double and six RBIs to go with that homer blast.
Sauter truly did the job of a leadoff man with three hits in four at-bats, two RBIs, three stolen bases and four runs scored. He kept pace with Marquart in the power department with a triple and home run.
At the bottom of the lineup, Jamie Van Kempen excelled with his two-for-three boxscore line with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Ryan Beyer and Eric Asche hit safely for the Eagles too. Morris had to survive five errors while Monte had none. The Morris hit total was eleven while Monte spanked seven hits. The Eagles were speed merchants on the basepaths with numerous stolen bases, led by Sauter.
Gades bore down after his shaky fifth inning on the mound. He got the "W" next to his name while fanning three batters, walking just one and allowing seven hits and the four Montevideo runs.
  
Humbled by the A's
The next day, July 22, saw Morris play one of its forgettable games, here, and it had a final score of 11-1 with Morris on the languishing end. Maybe they got some fielding lapses out of their system. Their fielding instincts seemed to desert them at times. Their line score showed six errors while the victor Appleton had zero.
The teams were pretty even in hitting.
Errors can spell unearned runs and this was certainly the case on this afternoon. Would you believe, ten unearned runs for Appleton? Hard-luck pitcher Matthew Carrington gave up all of these. He gave up just one earned run in his 6 2/3 innings of work. Kirby Marquart mopped up for the other 1/3 of an inning, and this game was mercifully over.
Carrington struck out four batters and walked two. The pitching loss was his first of the summer.
The top of the seventh was when the wind really got into Appleton's sails, with a little help from those Morris errors of course. Eagles fans winced when a pop fly was dropped with the bases loaded.
Eagles hitting safely in this game were Dusty Sauter, Ryan Beyer, Eric Asche, Craig Knochenmus, Brett Anderson and Jamie Van Kempen.
The Eagles would discover their winning personality subsequently. Viva Morris Eagles baseball for the summer of 2012!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com