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).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lou Brock homered right away with St. Cloud Rox

Fans in1961 watch the Rox. (WJON image)
Lou Brock homered on the very first pitch he saw as a member of the St. Cloud Rox. The great Lou Brock, playing in St. Cloud? Can you believe it? It surely was true, or a dream come true for the Central Minnesota city.
The Rox were a rich asset for the Granite City. They played in an impressive-looking facility. The old Rox must be distinguished from today's Rox. The Rox name came back after six years in which the college summer league team was known as the "River Bats." Maybe the team's promoters felt that "Rox" would have legacy value. Personally I wish the Rox would stay in their original incarnation in our collective memory.
Lou Brock won the batting title with a .361 average in his season at St. Cloud. The Rox were the Chicago Cubs' Northern League affiliate. Brock led the league in runs scored with 117, doubles with 33, hits with 181 and putouts with 277. He also gave signs of what was to become his prime trademark in the bigs: speed on the basepaths. He stole 38 bases.
This kind of quality was not going to keep him in St. Cloud for a long time. That's the heartbreak of being a minor league fan. Ted Williams was not going to be remembered as a member of the Minneapolis Millers, nor Willie Mays. Their minor league time ends up as an asterisk.
On to the Chicago Cubs
The conclusion of Brock's exciting summer with St. Cloud saw him get called up by the Cubs in September. Brock played in four games but managed just one hit. Everyone saw Brock's innate ability. He was fast but he had power.
In the next spring he hit a 480-foot home run. His speed on a drag bunt was overwhelming. He had rough edges which is why he was assigned his stint with St. Cloud. Night games dominated his time with the St. Cloud Rox. So when he made his next big step to the bigs, he lacked proficiency with sunglasses!
He was still in development as a member of the Cubs. That's why he isn't remembered today as a Cub. Oh, but I still remember his baseball card for 1964 when he was photographed as a Cub, even though he was destined to be a key player with St. Louis that season.
David Halberstam wrote a book about the 1964 baseball season. I bought it and read it. As I recall, Halberstam saw symbolism in the season: the decline of the Yankees of that era, and the rise of St. Louis with its many players of color and stress on speed. I really don't know about the symbolism.
Weren't the Yankees bought by CBS at that time? I recall a syndicated cartoon that had a Yankee being interviewed post-game and giving a plug for the "Munsters" comedy sitcom (a satire on monster movies).
All dynasties come to an end. The fact the Yankees lost the World Series to Brock's Cardinals in 1964 did not mean the Bronx crew was suddenly mediocre. Journalists can simplify things. Oh wait, that's me! The Yankees probably fell from their pedestal midway in '65 when Harmon Killebrew hit a game-winning home run at Met Stadium that really seemed like a knockout punch, it really did.
Lou Brock had inconsistency on defense early in his big league career. He had an intense attitude which normally would be seen as a plus, but in Brock's case it seemed to be a hindrance. He could "press." In the long run that intensity was probably a nugget for his greatness. Different coaches were influencing him in different directions. Hit to the opposite field? There was uncertainty. His power meant he probably should pull the ball.
A mammoth home run in NYC
Let's focus on June 17, 1962, when the Cubs played the new and mediocre New York Mets at the old Polo Grounds in New York City. It was a doubleheader. There were two outs in the first inning. Brock stepped up to bat against Al Jackson. Jackson (BTW an African-American) delivered a slider that Brock had all figured out. There's a deep drive to center. Richie Ashburn of the Mets raced back. Ashburn was a 1950s baseball icon who played his last year with those forlorn Mets (but he batted over .300). Brock initially thought he'd get a triple from this blast. Around second base, he saw an umpire make a sign that seemed to indicate "home run." Or, was umpire Stan Landes just indicating that this was a potential inside-the-park home run? Brock kept accelerating. He crossed home plate still thinking this was an inside-the-park job.
The Polo Grounds were a cavernous place with fences way out there. A teammate informed Brock that the ball had cleared the fence. Why was this significant? Brock was now only the third player to hit a ball out of the Polo Grounds to center in a major league game. Babe Ruth did it in 1921. Joe Adcock performed the feat in 1953, and Luke Easter did it in a Negro League game in 1948.
Fast-forward to 1964: Brock wasn't setting the world on fire as a Cub. He became trade bait. It ended up as a rather famous trade for its one-sidedness. Brock for Ernie Broglio? Broglio had been impressive but he was a pitcher - pitchers are susceptible to sore arms, and this was an especially big problem in the age before the pitch count. Broglio had a sore arm at the time of the trade. The Cubs were desperate for pitching. Broglio did not recover. Meanwhile, "the rest was history," as they say, with Brock and his talents with the Cardinals.
Becoming a star with St. Louis
In his first World Series at-bat, Brock lined a single to right off Whitey Ford. Dick Groat singled to right. (I love typing some of these old names.) Brock took advantage of an aging Mickey Mantle in right field and took third on Groat's hit. Brock scored on Ken Boyer's sacrifice fly. The second inning saw Brock throw out Ford at the plate. The Cardinals won the game 9-5. Yes, the complexion of this game showed the Cards as a quicker and more aggressive team, which was not lost on author Halberstam.
Game 5 saw Brock get two hits. Brock's bat produced three hits in Game 6 but the Yankees won, evening the Series. In Game 7, with St. Louis up 3-0, Brock ignited a three-run fifth with a tremendous home run off Al Downing. The blast cleared the right field pavilion and landed on Grand Boulevard! The Cardinals won 7-5 and took the Series. Brock hit .300 for the Series with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. He was now a guaranteed-not-to-tarnish star. His year of development in St. Cloud produced dividends.
St. Cloud! It's almost hard to believe today, that St. Cloud had such an important baseball team once. The decline of that institution may have come about because of the creation of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins captured the attention of everyone in Minny. The Rox and any other team below major league probably seemed passe, and that's too bad.
Brock ended up with a spectacular major league career, and he most certainly became proficient with sunglasses! I had a fondness for the Cardinals in the 1960s. Former Rox player Orlando Cepeda played for St. Louis in 1967 and '68. Ah, the days before player strikes! If we could only erase the Viet Nam war from that era.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MACA softball splits with BOLD, readies for 3AA-North

We're talking about the post-season already. Our Tigers have the top seed in softball. It's no surprise, given all the strengths shown by the orange and black all spring. We're in Section 3AA-North. We stand to do well in the North. The big question in springtime is: how will we fare against teams from the South, teams that have an almost mystical superior air sometimes. Is there something in the drinking water in southern Minnesota?
Well, maybe MACA can break through this year and make state. Our fans are primed to find out. Our first order of business is a home game set on Tuesday against either New London-Spicer or Minneota. Leading up to this, we split the doubleheader against BOLD on Thursday, here at the friendly home field.
Tigers 14, BOLD 4
The win in game 1 gave us the conference championship. We have a skein of winning the conference title four years out of five. Nice work, coach Mary Holmberg.
The fourth inning was huge in that 14-4 win over the Warriors. Piper Gibson connected for a three-run home run. In all we plated eight runs in the fourth. We polished things off with a four-run fifth. Our line score was 14 runs, seven hits and three errors, while the BOLD numbers were 4-7-2.
Brooke Gillespie pitched the whole way. She issued no walks and struck out two batters. Two of the runs she allowed were unearned, and she allowed seven hits.
Becca Holland had two hits in four at-bats. Bailey Marty had a hit in her only at-bat. Gillespie powered the ball, following her usual habit, and she hit two doubles. Lexi Mahoney contributed a hit. Gibson thrilled with that three-run homer.
Threee BOLD players each went two-for-three: Taylor Sagedahl, Else Skeie and Peyton Weis. Morgan Flann and Sierra Weis also hit safely.
BOLD 6, Tigers 5
MACA fortunes weren't so rosy in game 2 of the twin bill. We were stopped by the Warriors 6-5. We were out-fielded as BOLD had zero errors, the Tigers three. We were also out-hit 6-4. Four different Tigers had our hits: Becca Holland (a double), Brooke Gillespie, Piper Gibson and Nicole Solvie.
Morgan Flann had two hits for the Warriors. Allison Krause, Sierra Weis and Lauren Kopel each had a hit for the winner.
The MACA pitching duties were shared by Ashley Solvie and Gillespie. Gillespie took the loss. Each pitcher had one strikeout. The winning pitcher was Taylor Sagedahl. BOLD got started quickly with a four-run first inning. The Tigers took the lead in the sixth with a three-run rally, so we're up 5-4, but BOLD plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Baseball: Melrose 6, Tigers 2
The Tigers succumbed to Melrose and pitcher Colton Meyer Thursday. Meyer pitched the whole way, striking out four batters, walking none and allowing five hits. The MACA pitching was shared by Toby Sayles who took the loss, and Ryan Bowman.
We were outhit 9-5. Melrose fielded flawlessly while we had three errors. This quality Melrose unit came out of the day at 14-3. The Dutchmen pulled away with a four-run sixth inning. We answered with two in the seventh but it wasn't enough.
Five different Tigers had our five hits: Brady Jergenson, Ryan Dietz, Toby Sayles, Robert Rohloff and Philip Anderson. Dietz scored a run, and Rohloff and Philip Anderson each drove in a run.
Levi Feldewerd went two-for-two for Melrose, scoring a run and driving in one. Tyler Moscho doubled. Hunter Rademacher went two-for-four with a run scored. Meyer hit a sacrifice fly. Adam Van Beck went two-for-four with two ribbies. Anthony Revermann doubled. Jordan Klaphake added a hit to the mix.
Click on the permalink below to read about the following: The 8-1 win by MACA baseball over ACGC, and the 12-5 triumph by the Tigers of softball over Minnewaska Area. This post is on my primary website, "I Love Morris," and thank you for reading. - B.W.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rodney Hanley, we hardly knew ye

Rodney Hanley, a no-show at UMM
The University was having a rough enough week dealing with more athletic department revelations. Money flows like from a faucet in U of M athletics. We the public are just so addicted to seeing these young men run back and forth on a basketball court or football field. We indulge that. The embarrassing stuff just blows over, time and again.
On Thursday another U subject emerged that might cause some squirming. It wasn't as important as athletics - it had to do with the sudden withdrawal of our new chancellor here in Morris. You could have knocked me over with a feather Thursday afternoon. It was an announcement out of nowhere.
Maura Lerner of the Star Tribune did the best reporting on this, and I hope there's more to come. Lerner wrote an article for the state news section of the Strib. The subhead for the article stated that Rodney Hanley withdrew for "personal, family reasons."
Pesonal reasons? Any decision is a "personal reason." Remember when George W. Bush was talking up "personal accounts" as a replacement for Social Security? How much illumination does the word "personal" give in these usages? University President Eric Kaler said the new guy withdrew "after considerable thought and reflection." Kaler suggested the decision was "best for (Hanley) and his family at this time."
There is zero chance that any respectable journalist is going to accept an explanation like this. It was rude to the Morris community to imply we would accept such a ridiculously shallow, generic explanation. I realize we aren't as important as the U's athletics, not that we haven't made news in Morris with athletics, like with the goalpost incident in 2005 that took the life of a student, merely from an act of silliness.
Lerner wrote that "Hanley could not be reached for comment Thursday." So we have an empty explanation from Kaler and evasive action by Hanley. Don't bet on the Morris community newspaper to try to dig and find out more. 
Hanley is now provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fisk University, a fascinating institution in Nashville TN. Nashville is where I turn to get my original songs recorded.
Puzzlement, certainly
Why couldn't Hanley have devoted his "considerable thought and reflection" before actually accepting the appointment? He did want it, didn't he?
Since the U isn't sharing anything substantive about Hanley's decision, we in Morris are forced to guess, speculate and gossip. We have no choice. This was bombshell news. An email I received just before typing this reported that a prevailing belief in Morris is that "Hanley's wife didn't care for Morris."
It's sad to admit that this is not implausible.
My inquiring mind seized on one theory right away: Someone may have tipped off Hanley to some can of worms he'd be stepping into here. It might be something he'd have limited authority to straighten out. College professors have tenure of course. Is there messy politics in the running of a college? Is the Pope Catholic?
I developed another theory: Maybe the state is planning to shut down UMM for a year or two while the state re-purposes the place. Maybe this whole model of a small public liberal arts college has run its course.
Liberal arts is under siege everywhere. It's not that the liberal arts have questionable value. It's just that maybe the state needn't fund such education to a large degree. Maybe it isn't necessary for young people to walk into classrooms and listen to professors. All the intellectual enrichment in the world is available online 24/7 in our new world which is so drastically different from the one in which I grew up.
Grip of liberal arts
Liberal arts is so entrenched at UMM, like it's some sort of bulwark, the place might have to be temporarily closed for another mission to be established, a mission with a more direct connection to how young people are going to make a living after college. What I'm saying is enough to get me shot, figuratively speaking, in this community. The liberal arts mantra has ruled at UMM since its inception. Maybe Hanley actually had a problem with this.
The liberal arts are a tough sell. That's not because of any ignorance in the world outside of UMM. It has been said UMM is "unique" as a small public liberal arts college. If it's such a super concept, why are we unique? Maybe we should have a school of nursing here.
This quick escape by Hanley with such a boilerplate explanation, comes after he has already done media interviews here. He talked to the person who writes for the U's "Profile" publication. The University Register devoted its whole front page to profiling the guy. A huge color photo of him adorns the top half of the Register. I assume that's the last Register publication of the year. Graduation is today (Saturday). No chance for a follow-up to try to find out what the heck is going on.
I communicated with the person who writes for Profile. She too has a theory - we have no choice but to come up with theories. She suggested that maybe a "red flag" suddenly popped up from Hanley's background. Good grief, don't we all have red flags in our background? We're all human.
Prior to this weird departure, Hanley said of coming to UMM: "My family and I are excited to return to an area for which we have deep roots and for which we have great love." This too is a boilerplate type of quote. Then something happened and we have the quick exit and escape, accompanied by quotes that tell us nothing.
When first learning of Hanley, I wondered if he was the type of administrator who would have allowed the "NorthStar" publication to get established on campus. Or would his hands be tied on that? I wonder if he had heard about the "gay devil worshipers" club. Would he have had the authority to try to establish more of a tone of civility on campus? Or would his hands be tied on that too?
Hanley had worked in the northern U.S. before. The weather would not have shocked him. He has even worked in "The Great White North": Winnipeg, Canada.
A default conclusion?
If we receive no further explanation on Hanley's abrupt withdrawal, many of us will assume that some sort of uncomfortable issue arose, something embarrassing or untoward, either involving Hanley himself or his perception of what goes on at UMM. Am I wrong? Well OK then, just tell us the real reason he withdrew. "Personal decision" does not quality. I know that, even though I'm not as smart as all the people who work and study at UMM.
I knew at the age of seven that I existed in a dimension separate from UMM. I really don't know what I do, to alienate UMM people so much. The spouse of a professor once walked up to me and said "Brian, the only thing I have to say to you is that I think your mother is a terrific person." And me? I have never served any jail time. I have quoted Judy Riley before in my blogs. She was at an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. I probably lost my job in the local media because of the goalpost incident. Mike Busian was prompted to write a bizarre letter to the editor in which he said "the First Amendment" allowed us to report on the incident. He's deceased now.
The Morris newspaper is now less than half as big as when I was there. Mostly it's a superfluous pile of ads for Alexandria-based businesses. Congratulations Morris on continuing to support this product, where you can get your gossip urges fueled by reading the "district court news." You can read the obituaries for which the poor grieving families have to pay to get in the paper. Like we're real enthused about reporting the death of a family member.
The chancellor search at the University of Minnesota-Morris presumably cost a lot of money, I'm sure. And now we'll probably have an interim chancellor while everything starts over again. The U treats money like it's play money, as demonstrated by the stuff that goes on in athletics. Maybe it's time we push away from the table and stop supporting all that sports. Many of those young athletes, tough guys who come here with academics as a low priority, get their bodies beaten up terribly.
Have a drink at Tootsie's
Maybe Rodney Hanley will just stay in Nashville where he can always go to Broadway and sip a beer at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I'd love to do it myself, again.
Addendum: Here's an email I just received: "I asked the shoeshine guy about the chancellor deal. He didn't know that had happened, nor did he care. There just isn't much concern over UMM administration in the town, nor concern with much of anything UMM because of the Great Wall of Apathy. Maybe the chancellor-elect got wind of the Queer Satan Worshipers for a better future."
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Middle brother" Matty Alou played for St. Cloud Rox

The "old days" of the Rox - Stearns History Museum image
"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."
- George Santayana
Forrest Witt was the middle brother of the famous Witt family of Morris. Three Witt boys graced the various sports venues. They had such innate skills. Matty Alou was the middle of the Alou brothers. Such was the talent of those three Alou boys, along with Moises of the next generation, we might be talking about the first family of baseball. Had they not come here from a foreign country, they might well have such status.
Baseball has Norman Rockwell-esque origins. Mickey Mantle fits the mold that we expected in the middle 20th Century. There was in fact a famous Rockwell painting that showed three umpires, one of whom had a hand extended to feel for raindrops coming down. "Can we get the game in today?"
The Alou boys gave us a glimpse of what major league baseball would become. It would become a rainbow proposition in terms of national origin and skin color. We think nothing of it today. When I was a kid, we might snicker at a non-Anglo-sounding name. We can feel shame about how we made light of Bombo Rivera's name that way. Rivera was a 1970s Minnesota Twin. The '70s were still in the Dark Ages of sorts, as demonstrated by a Star Tribune headline: "Bombo, Twins bomb Seattle."
We have come light years in terms of enlightenment. I read a book that sought levity from the name "Scipio Spinks." The proper respect is today established. Now we need to get past the North Carolina "bathroom law."
I fondly remember the three Alou boys from my youth. Matty Alou's first name was not Matthew. It was Mateo. "Matty" was a means of Anglicizing. He was part of the first wave of Dominicans who helped change the very culture of American baseball in the 1960s. Mateo was born not far from Santo Domingo on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Showing his talents here in MN
I'm focusing on Mateo in this post because of a Minnesota element in his career. This hitting whiz spent part of his development in St. Cloud MN. As a kid I heard about the St. Cloud "Rox." They were a big deal for quite some time. They played in a rather impressive ballpark for this level. And let's emphasize it was not the lowest level of minor league ball. Matty Alou was "promoted" to St. Cloud of the Northern League, after first playing in Michigan City. "Promoted!"
Congrats to St. Cloud for having such an impressive vehicle for our national pastime. I wonder why that old incarnation of the Rox had to fade away. Today there is a "Rox" team in St. Cloud but it's no different from the other summer college teams like in Alexandria and Willmar. The current team started out as the "River Bats." I wonder if there was some resistance in the granite city to reviving the old "sacred" Rox name. Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry and Lou Brock also played for the Rox.
The mother of the Alou boys, Virginia, was white. This mattered not at all, to anyone. The boys simply thought of themselves as Dominicans. What an ideal. Coming to the U.S. would force them to watch their backs in terms of racism. Jim Crow laws, while an abomination on the face of it, were doomed to being phased out because, how could they be enforced when the old dichotomy of white/black broke down? Southerners thought of "black" as being descendants of slaves. The Alou boys were dark-skinned but not black, but who cares?
Matty played for the Dominican Air Force baseball team in 1956. The team was sponsored by General Ramfis Trujillo, son of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Matty played with Juan Marichal and Manny Mota. Remember the scene from the movie "Airplane" where the character imagines the P.A. announcer saying "pinch-hitting for Pedro Borbon, Manny Mota?" This was another example of how we once made light of non-Anglo names, though it's not as bad as the Star Tribune headline I cited earlier.
The San Francisco Giants got an early advantage recruiting players from the Caribbean. All three Alou boys donned Giants caps along with Marichal and Mota. Matty was lucky: he spent most of his minor league career outside of the Deep South. In St. Cloud there was no threat of pernicious racism. St. Cloud in those days was a bastion of Germans and Catholics. That old image lives today but I think it's largely stereotype.
Matty had batted only .247 for Michigan City. St. Cloud was good for him. In the granite city he batted .321 in 1958. The Rox took first place. Matty made the post-season all-star team as an outfielder.
In '59 this up-and-comer played for Class A Springfield, Massachusetts. Marichal and Mota were there too, along with catcher Tom Haller. Alou batted .288. He always had a gift for a good batting average. He batted left-handed unlike his brothers. He got a lot of bunt singles and infield hits.
Alou played with Tacoma in 1960. He manned center field and batted .306. September saw him get a shot at the majors. The stage was set for a distinguished major league career. He singled in his first major league at-bat, off Larry Sherry. In '61 he had impact, batting .310 in 81 games.
Distinguishing himself in the clutch
In '62 he batted .292 in 195 at-bats. But he was a major player in the stretch drive, specifically at the very end: the last seven games. Matty had 14 hits in 27 at-bats. The Giants had a playoff series with the Dodgers. In the deciding game 3, things looked bleak with San Francisco trailing 4-2 in the ninth. Alou led off with a pinch-hit single. The game-winning rally developed from that. He went on to get four hits in the World Series.
The Giants trailed the Yankees 1-0 in the ninth inning of the last game. Alou led off with a pinch-hit bunt single. Willie Mays doubled. But Alou only got as far as third. Willie McCovey lined out for the last out. The hot stove league saw much discussion over whether Whitey Lockman, the Giants' third base coach, should have had Matty attempt to score on Mays' double. This is an excruciating decision. Alou himself felt there was a good chance he'd be thrown out. My view? You have to consider there were two outs. No chance of a sacrifice fly or run-scoring grounder. McCovey would have to hit safely. Teams often screw up trying to execute a throw from the outfield to retire a baserunner who would have to be tagged. I would say: "go for it." You look bad if the defensive team makes the play. But the odds are more than negligible that the defensive team could not pull it off. I'd have sent Matty careening around third base. We'll never know.
Matty went through all the common highs and lows as his big league career developed. Mostly it was highs. Most fans associate him with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was an awesome hitter.
Here's a novelty: On August 26 of 1965 at Forbes Field, Matty pitched two innings, allowing no runs and striking out three. He struck out Willie Stargell twice! "I just threw him a slow curve," Matty would say.
Pirates manager Harry Walker brought Matty along nicely. Walker worked to get Matty to pull the ball less. Matty was given a heavier bat to swing. He was spectacular in 1966. And in '69 he was a full-time player and responded with a .331 average at the top of the Pirates' order. He was a leadoff hitter who did not walk much. He had a staggering 698 at-bats.
Avoiding needless risks with body
One purported negative was his reputation for not wanting to crash into fences when playing defense. I say "hats off" to Matty for that tic. He preserved his body.
Matty kept on excelling even as he switched teams. He would have looked terrific as a Minnesota Twin. Eventually Matty took his baseball to Japan.
He had a lifelong marriage to Teresa. They raised three children. Matty left us for that baseball diamond in the sky in 2011 in Santo Domingo. We hope he never forgot that development year here in Minnesota, in St. Cloud, where he certainly didn't have to deal with Jim Crow. Although you get some favoritism if you're Catholic!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gillespie, Wevley both go three-for-three in home win

Tigers 13, Minnewaska Area 1
The Tigers took care of business in five innings as they beat Minnewaska Area on Tuesday, May 3. Win No. 9 for the orange and black crew came by a 13-1 score, here. We sit at 9-2 as the month of May develops. A home game is on the slate for today (Thursday) with Montevideo as the foe.
Minnewaska hurt itself with six errors Tuesday. The Tigers played errorless ball. The big inning was the fourth in which we plated eight runs. We outhit the Lakers 12-6.
Brooke Gillespie had a double as part of going three-for-three. Madison Wevley had three hits in three at-bats. Becca Holland rapped two hits in four at-bats. Lindsey Dierks' bat resonated with a double. Nicole Solvie and Lexi Mahoney each added a hit to the mix. Add up the hits and you get eleven, but the line score in the Willmar paper had 12. Erratum.
Laker Erin Edmunds doubled and drove in a run as part of going two-for-three. Mason Schlief had two hits in three at-bats. Abby VerSteeg and Alisha Vigil each hit safely.
Ashley Solvie was showcased on the pitching rubber for MACA. She struck out two batters and walked two in her five innings. She gave up six hits. Rachel Eickson was the Minnewaska Area pitcher.
The Tigers climbed to 6-0 in their conference fortunes. As promising as these won-lost numbers are, we have to wonder if MACA can get past those southern Minnesota teams in the post-season.
Baseball: Minnewaska 1, Tigers 0
Austin VerSteeg is a nemesis for MACA in baseball just like in basketball. On Tuesday (5/3) this talented Minnewaska Area Laker tossed a two-hitter at our Tigers. The MACA defense was stubborn too, holding the host Lakers to zero runs over the first five innings.
The difference came in the sixth. Michael Gruber of the Lakers scored the game's only run in the bottom of the sixth. The 1-0 loss for MACA was our first in conference play. Neither team committed an error in this game played at 'Waska. The Lakers outhit our Tigers 5-2. The two Morris Area Chokio Alberta hits were off the bats of Sean Amundson and Denner Dougherty.
Gruber had one hit for the Lakers. VerSteeg, always a thorn in the Tigers' side, went two-for-three. Colin Richards had a one-for-three line, and Ryder Lyuk had a double.
Brady Jergenson was the hard-luck losing pitcher. Brady struck out seven batters, walked two and allowed five hits. The 'Waska run was earned. VerSteeg's two-hitter gem saw him strike out six batters and walk one.
Softball: New London-Spicer 11, Tigers 10
New London-Spicer is always a tough nut to crack for Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls athletics. On Monday we saw a renewal of the rivalry at the Morris diamond. It's classified non-conference. An air of suspense prevailed. A high-scoring complexion developed.
For a time, we looked to be in control. We had a most promising 6-1 lead after three innings. Shea Oman of the Wildcats connected for a three-run homer in the fourth. The Tigers fought back, plating two runs in the bottom of that inning. So we're up by four. A huge turning point in the game came when Mya Rohman hit a grand slam homer for New London-Spicer. The big blow tied the score. Another run for NL-Spicer in that inning pushed the Wildcats into the lead, 9-8. Bring on the seventh inning!
Olivia Christopherson worked the MACA pitcher for a walk. Olivia sprinted home on Rohman's double. Up to bat comes Alyssa Fredrick who rapped a single to drive in a run. As the home team we had a chance to overcome the Wildcats in the bottom of the seventh. We answered the call with three hits. Doubles resonated off the bats of Piper Gibson and Lexi Mahoney. Madi Wevley delivered a hit to drive in a run. Madi got stranded at second. Alas, the game ended with the Wildcats as the 11-10 winner.
NL-Spicer had the hitting edge 12-8. The error totals were three for NL-Spicer and four for MACA.
Wevley had a fine three-for-four boxscore line and drove in a run. Lexi Mahoney was a force at two-for-four including a double, and this Tiger drove in three runs. Piper Gibson was a perfect two-for-two. Brooke Gillespie added a hit to the mix. Gillespie and Ashley Solvie shared the pitching. Gillespie pitched five innings, struck out three batters and walked one, and allowed seven hits and five runs. Solvie was tagged with the loss. She walked one batter and allowed five hits in her two innings.
The winning pitcher was Olivia Christopherson who fanned ten batters. Three of the runs she allowed were unearned. She walked five batters and allowed eight hits.
The NL-Spicer offensive numbers show Mya Rohman was a big force with a three-for-five line including a home run and double, and this Wildcat drove in five runs. Shea Oman's homer was part of a two-for-four showing, and she drove in three runs. Alyssa Fredrick went two-for-five with an RBI. Other Wildcats hitting safely were Espi Austvold, Kara Jacobson, Christopherson and Megan Thorson.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com