Kevin Vollendorf gets help bringing down Cumberland’s Devon Williams. – Photo by Scott Hoffman
Big offensive output topped by outstanding defense
Grantsburg 43, Cumberland 0
Scott Hoffman|Staff writer
GRANTSBURG – It began like a game of hot potato as the Pirates opened the season with a win over Cumberland Friday, Aug. 22. Grantsburg first fumbled a completed pass reception and then it was Cumberland’s turn on a literal takeaway by Pirate Cody Hoffman, who stole the ball from Cumberland’s carrier Brad Froehlich and was off for the end zone. Hoffman was later ruled to have a knee down.
Grantsburg drove down the field and scored on that drive to give the Pirates an early lead.
Coach Adam Hale was certainly happy about the Pirates performance and was pleased with the team’s ability to thrash a Heart O’ North Conference opponent that usually has their way with Grantsburg.
“It was a great way to start off the season. I was happy to see us have a strong second half on both sides of the ball after a shaky start offensively. The defense really came up with some big stops in the first half to keep the momentum on our side. Tony Britton had an outstanding game all around and really made some big runs after the catch. On defense, Mason McEvers, Avery Buggert and Cody Hoffman were in all tackles all night. I thought as a team, we tackled solid and did a great job on special teams as well. We’re anxious to get back to work and prepare for a very good Maple-Northwestern team.”
Tristan Brewer had a big night for Grantsburg at quarterback, going 15 of 27 for 271 yards, with two touchdowns, but was picked off twice. Both teams combined for five turnovers. Tony Britton had a career night, gaining over 260 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Pirates will host Maple-Northwestern Friday, Aug. 29, beginning at 7 p.m.
8/27/14 Dragons pile points on the Bobcats
Nate Martin had a solid performance, rushing for five touchdowns against Birchwood in Siren’s season opener held in Rice Lake on Saturday, Aug. 23. – Photo
by Josh Johnson
Nathan Martin scores five TDs in Siren win
Siren 62, Birchwood 20
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
RICE LAKE – Siren senior Nathan Martin rushed for 163 yards on 19 carries and five touchdowns in a 62-20 thumping of the Birchwood Bobcats Saturday, Aug. 23, in Rice Lake. The eight-player jamboree was held throughout the day with the rest of the Lakeland eight-man teams, and the Dragons got off to a good start for the season.
Junior Josiah Wegner added to the ground attack with 108 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns, and senior John Dalsveen had 37 yards on eight carries.
On the defensive side, Bryce Highstrom had four tackles for a loss and Michael Kosloski had the Dragons only sack in the game. Dalsveen was in on 10 total tackles, and Kosloski and Martin were in on nine tackles. Eric Bruss recorded six tackles, and Bailey Mangen had five, including an interception and fumble recovery.
Football practices begin for area high-schoolers
Frederic Vikings head football coach Ken Belanger instructs his athletes on offense during the team’s first day of practice Tuesday, Aug. 5. This is Belanger’s 14th season with the Vikings and 49th season as a head high school football coach. – Photos by Marty Seeger
With another season comes change
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
FREDERIC – There’s still four weeks left of summer vacation for many students before they get back in the groove of school, but on Tuesday, Aug. 5, area high school football players were already busy tearing up the turf on their first day of football practice. For Ken Belanger, there’s always a sense of enthusiasm on the first day of practice, something he’s been familiar with for the past 57 consecutive years.
“We didn’t have junior high football so since the ninth grade, I’ve been going to football practice every fall,” said Belanger, who coached 35 years in Minnesota for Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School, and was inducted into the Minnesota High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001. This will be his 14th season with the Vikings, since he retired from teaching and moved to the Frederic area. All together Belanger has been a head football coach for the past 49 years, and through the course of time there have been many changes implemented to the game, including the earlier than usual start to the season. Belanger recalled the year he married his wife during his college football playing years, getting hitched on Aug. 14.
“Went on a honeymoon and came back and we still hadn’t started football,” Belanger said, adding that for many, football didn’t start until after Labor Day.
Other changes include the use of game film that is nothing like it is today.
“I’m not into the fancy stuff. That in itself is so different,” Belanger said.
And with another year of football ahead, area coaches were once again presented with a few more challenges, abiding a handful of new WIAA rules meant to protect the safety of the players.
The practice time allowed has shortened, as in previous years practices could run from 7:30 a.m., to noon. Now practice can be two hours long with a half hour break, followed by one more hour of practice before it ends. That’s considered a short day. Coaches also have an option of doing a long day, but there’s a mandatory three-hour break in between the morning and afternoon or evening practice.
“It’s too much to have kids come back twice. So we’re not doing that,” Belanger said.
Rules of contact during practices have also changed. By this Friday, Aug. 8, players were usually in full pads, but now can only wear a helmet and shoulder pads, and need to wait until the following Monday to don full pads. During the first week contact is not allowed except for use with a bag, shield or pad. During the second week of practice, full contact is limited to just 75 minutes for the week, excluding the scrimmages, which take place across the area Aug. 15. During week three and for the rest of the season, full contact is limited to 60 minutes per week, which excludes games.
“We used to have six days of contact before scrimmage, now we’ve got four,” Belanger said.
Football has certainly changed over the years, from equipment to playmaking, practices and conference alignments and everything in between. But no matter what the WIAA changes might bring to each passing season athletes will continue to gather on the field in anticipation for the season ahead, and coaches will continue to teach and coach their kids toward what they will hope to be a winning season ahead.
Webster’s Cliff Benjamin plays all-star game in Oshkosh
Raises big money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
South 33, North 13
Marty Seeger|Staff writer OSHKOSH – It was more than just a football game for Webster’s Cliff Benjamin, who competed in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Senior All-Star charity football game at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Titan Stadium on Saturday, July 19. Benjamin played alongside about 46 other football players picked from Divisions 4-7 to play for the North small squad, which was defeated 33-13 by the South. Despite the loss, it’s an experience Benjamin won’t soon forget.
“It was really fun. Just the atmosphere, being pretty much there and taking it all in,” Benjamin said. “We did everything from movie nights at the movie theater, pizza, swimming it was a lot of fun.”Along with meeting new friends, Benjamin also hooked up with some of the teammates he’ll be playing with at UW-River Falls, where he’s expected to play linebacker. During the all-star game, Benjamin played right guard on the offensive line. He was hoping to play linebacker, where he excelled as a four-year starter. He was also a standout offensive lineman, and that’s where the North needed him. Despite getting in some nice blocks for his teammates, the game didn’t go as planned for the North.
“We just had an off day. Had a whole good week of practice and the game wasn’t what we wanted. We had a bunch of penalties and little stuff that shouldn’t have happened,” Benjamin said.
The North had a 7-0 lead after the first quarter as Ethan Young of Black River Falls connected with Jason Balts of Barron for a 67-yard touchdown, but the South went on to score the next 30 points. Isaac Tuttle of Glenwood City, who also scored near the end of the game for the North, also played in the game. Osceola’s Mark Johnson-Trice played on the defensive line for the North, and Clayton running back James Hoffman was another area local on the all-star roster.
Along with the many activities throughout the week, the players were also asked to raise a minimum of $750 for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, one of the many sponsors of the event. In total, the North and South small schools altogether raised $420,000, and Benjamin was one of the top four in fundraising with his $6,000 contribution.
“It was a lot of work, but it was worth it,” Benjamin said, adding that he had a lot of small banquets and fundraisers, while also asking for donations from local businesses. He also did yard work and other activities around the community.
“I just wanted to help out the children’s hospital and had the opportunity to raise a lot of money and that’s what I did,” Benjamin said. As part of being one of the top fundraisers, Benjamin received passes to attend a Green Bay Packers practice, adding even more to the experience.
“It’s something I’ll never forget. Something that I’ll remember forever.”
Along with working construction, Benjamin has been lifting weights and getting in shape for his freshman football season at the collegiate level with UW-River Falls. He said former Tigers teammate Mike Johnson also hopes to try out for a tight end position.
Frederic senior Zach Williamson takes down the
Elmwood/Plum City quarterback during Friday’s game at Elmwood. – Photo by Marty Seeger
Frederic loses tough opener on the road
Elmwood-Plum City 15, Frederic 6
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
ELMWOOD – It wasn’t a pretty opener for the Vikings on Friday, Aug. 22, as seven fumbles in the first half alone were enough to tip the scales and give Elmwood/Plum City the edge. Three of those seven fumbles were recovered by the Wolves, and despite an outstanding effort by the Vikings defense in the first half, the Wolves capitalized on the most costly fumble and scored with just 1.9 seconds to go in the first half to take an 8-0 lead.
Offensively, the Vikings were able to move the ball to start the game with a great catch and run by Zach Schmidt and a first-down carry from Peter Chenal, who had 185 yards on 25 carries, and the Vikings only touchdown of the game. But the momentum quickly shifted as the Wolves recovered the first fumble of the game, only to run into a great effort by the Vikings defense. The Vikings fumbled twice more in the first quarter including one inside the 20-yard line in Wolves territory to end the quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, E-PC junior Hogan Kernstock took it 54 yards to the Vikings 5-yard line, but the Frederic defense stepped up, forcing the Wolves to turn the ball over on downs, and Frederic began their first drive of the second quarter on their own 13-yard line.
Frederic would eventually work their way to the Wolves 30-yard line but fumbled three different times on the drive, and the Wolves eventually took over on downs on the Vikings 30-yard line with 3:27 left in the half.
Frederic got the ball back quickly after another impressive defensive stance, forcing the Wolves to punt with 1:58 to go in the half. But a Vikings fumble on the first play of the drive put the Wolves in position to try for the end zone, and eventually did on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1.9 seconds, ending the half, 8-0.
Near the start of the second half the momentum seemed to shift in the Vikings favor, as Schmidt put the Vikings on the Wolves 17-yard line on an impressive 46-yard punt return, igniting the Frederic crowd and players. With 9:56 to go in the third quarter, Peter Chenal eventually ran it in from 5 yards out, and despite the failed two-point attempt, the Vikings were on the board.
After forcing the Wolves to punt once again, the Vikings mounted another big offensive drive capped off by a 25-yard grab by Schmidt, and 36-yard gain by Chenal. From inside the 10-yard line, Vikings quarterback Austin Ennis connected with Austin Kurkowski in the end zone, but the play was ruled incomplete. A Vikings penalty and failed running attempt quickly brought up fourth down, and a Frederic field goal try was blocked, handing the ball back to the Wolves.
The score remained 8-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Wolves scored again early with a 30-yard touchdown run by Ryan Asher. Despite the score, the Vikings remained in the game but couldn’t get their offensive going again.
Defensively Ennis led with 10 total tackles while Peter Chenal had seven, Zach Williamson, six, John Chenal, 5.5 and Eric Chenal, Kurkowski and Schmidt each had three. Williamson had the team’s only sack and Erickson, Williamson, Greg Peterson, Eric Chenal and Cole Britton were each in on a tackle for loss.
The Vikings can get back on track again this week with their first home game of the season against Glenwood City, starting at 7 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 29.
8/27/14 Bears rip Tigers in opener
Clayton 33, Webster 7
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
CLAYTON – The Tigers football team got off to a rocky start in a loss to Clayton Friday, Aug. 22, as Clayton freshman quarterback Kobe Berghammer completed 17 of 21 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns. While the Tigers were able to record two interceptions it was a rough night on both sides of the ball according to coach Jovin Kroll.
“We failed to execute on both sides of the football, unfortunately. Our first rule is to protect the football, and we clearly didn’t do that with four or five turnovers. Secondly, we want to play aggressive, solid defense, and there were plays where we missed five or six tackles, and the Clayton player looked like Tony Canadeo slicing through us,” Kroll said.
Ryan Curtis scored the lone Tiger touchdown midway through the second quarter on a 3-yard run. Curtis had 77 yards on 20 carries, while Vinny Larson rushed for 28 yards on nine carries. Paul Sargent completed two of four passes for 32 yards and one interception.
“I expect a big improvement by our guys this week. Very few of our starters had extensive varsity experience, so this was new to them tonight. We will get better. There’s too much talent on this team to have consistent results like tonight. As coaches, we’ll get better, too. We have one more week to get things right before conference games begin,” said Kroll.
North eight-man football wins big in Middleton
Luck head coach Don Kendzior talks to players who competed in the senior eight-man all-star game in Middleton on Friday, July 18. Luck had three players competing while Siren had five players on the all-star roster to represent the north. – Photos by Lisa Rosemore/Grand Rapids Herald-Review
All-star game well represented by Luck, Siren athletes
North 40, South 0
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
MIDDLETON – Local graduated seniors capped off their eight-man football careers in a big way in Middleton Friday, July 18, with a game between a mix of the best talent from the north and from teams in the south. On the North team were players from Siren, Luck, Prairie Farm, New Auburn, Northwood and Bruce.
“It was a great game to watch, and the North definitely did well,” said Luck head coach Don Kendzior, who had three athletes from Luck playing in the game, including Karsten Petersen, Connor McGinnity and Logan Hamack. Siren had five athletes, David St. John, Jared Emery, Triston Alden, John D’Jock and Devan Pavlicek.
The game also featured several different coaches with locals including Kendzior, who helped handle the administrative duties, while Joel Wells, Matt Dunlap and Ryan Humpal helped out along with several others. Humpal was responsible for the defensive side of the ball and proved valuable in the shutout win for the North.
It was a close game to start, with the North leading 8-0 after the first quarter, but from that point forward the game wasn’t close. Kendzior said Prairie Farm quarterback Josh Siebert took the game over on several plays to keep the game rolling along while the North racked up a pair of interceptions, with one resulting in a touchdown by Hamack. Petersen also had a big catch for 30-plus yards and Emery took the helm at quarterback as well and also scored.
“It was a great experience, seeing these kids, that for two or three hours on a Friday night hate each other, but then come together as a team,” Kendzior said, which, at its core, is what the all-star games are all about.
Practices for the athletes began a week before the game and North athletes met up in Rice Lake on a Wednesday to scrimmage together on their own. After another practice on Thursday morning, the North team headed to Wisconsin Dells to enjoy the water park. The group then moved on to Madison where the team took some time to tour State Street before heading to play the game.
“The bonding that these kids developed will be a lifetime thing,” Kendzior said.
Some of the athletes also used it as an opportunity to get tuned up to play football in college. Luck’s Petersen plans to play at River Falls this fall as well as athletes from Bruce and Prairie Farm who are moving on to the college level as. The South also has athletes moving on to the next level and were actually without a couple of their all-star wide receivers. One has a commitment to play college basketball, while the other is moving on to play baseball in college.
Eight-man football seems to be growing in popularity and in the amount of participating teams. Right now there are about 25 teams, and the hope is to have 32 by next season. The Wisconsin High School Football Association is also taking over the eight-man all-star game so that it can be hosted in Oshkosh next summer alongside the 11-man teams, which would be another boost of exposure for eight-man football.
The official start of the season for all area high school football teams is Monday, Aug. 4.
The Grantsburg Pirates softball team eyes their sectional championship trophy after a 1-0 win over Neillsville on Thursday, June 5. – Photo by Scott Hoffman
6/6/14 Sectional champion Pirates headed to state
Grantsburg 1, Neillsville 0
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
DURAND – The Grantsburg fastpitch softball team is headed to state for the seventh time in school history after a 1-0 win over Neillsville on Thursday, June 5. The Pirates and Warriors were both No. 1 seeds entering the WIAA tournament. Grantsburg will play No. 1 seeded Arcadia in the state semifinal game on Friday, June 3, at Goodman Diamond in Madison. The Arcadia Raiders are Coulee Conference champions and defeated Poynette 2-1 in the sectional final. The Raiders are 25-0. The state semifinal is scheduled to begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. See next week's Inter-County Leader print edition for photos and game story.
Luck/Frederic baseball playing for regional title
6/6/14 Luck/Frederic 8, Unity 4
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
LUCK – Luck/Frederic baseball will play for a Division 3 regional championship this evening, Friday, June 6, at Cumberland. Luck/Frederic defeated Unity on Wednesday, June 4, during the regional semifinals to earn a chance for a regional title. Cumberland is the No. 1 seed and Luck/Frederic is the No. 2 seed. Game starts at 5 p.m. Last season Luck/Frederic and Cumberland met in the opening round of the WIAA playoffs but Luck/Frederic lost in six innings, 15-5.
Two teams remain in softball playoffs
5-23-14 Luck/Frederic to play Pirates in regional semifinals
Marty Seeger|Staff writer FREDERIC – The Division 3 fast-pitch softball playoffs were held Thursday, May 22, and only two area teams remain out of the seven teams in the Leader Land coverage area. The Unity Eagles lost 5-2 against Luck/Frederic on Thursday, and with the win, Luck/Frederic will play at Grantsburg on Tuesday, May 27 in the regional semifinal game. Webster/Siren saw their season come to an end Thursday against Turtle Lake/Clayton in a 19-3 loss, and St. Croix Falls was shutout by Cumberland 13-0 in five innings.
Saints pitching does it again against Grantsburg
5/21/14St. Croix Falls 3, Grantsburg 2
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
GRANTSBURG – Brady Leahy's pitching and the Saints defense held the Grantsburg Pirates to just two hits on Tuesday, May 20, during a 3-2 conference win.
Trenton Dockendorf provided the go ahead run for the Saints to snap a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth inning, and Leahy went a strong seven innings with four walks, four strikeouts and two runs, both unearned.
The Pirates pitching was just as strong as the Saints mustered three hits. Austin Handy was the starter and went six innings with only two hits allowed earned two earned runs. Brody Bonneville pitched one inning with one hit and two strikeouts.
"I was pleased with the product we put on the field tonight. We played pretty decent ball, and SCF played one run better than us," said Pirates coach Pete Johnson, adding that both teams came up with some quality defensive plays.
"We've been on a dreadful streak the last week and a half, and even though we lost tonight, I thought my boys started playing Pirate Ball again...laying out for some defensive plays, a little more zip. It's good to see," Johnson said.
Austin Swenson recorded the lone RBI for the Pirates and Austin Handy went 1 for 4 with a double. Gus Johnson had the other hit, while the Saints three hits came from Jacob Jacobson, Alex Johnson and Dockendorf.
Turtle Lake/Clayton 3, Unity 2
Unity 9, Turtle Lake/Clayton 4
CLAYTON – The Eagles baseball team split a pair of five-inning games on Tuesday, May 20, with Turtle Lake/Clayton. Riley Carnes pitched five innings allowing five hits and one earned run with eight strikeouts and no walks. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning when TL/C scored a pair of runs. Unity got one run back in the top of the fifth but it wasn't enough.
Tevin Anderson went 1 for 3 with an RBI and Cash Hickethier, Brett Nelson and Phillip Sorensen each had hits.
During the second game the Unity bats came alive for 10 hits. Anderson went 3 for 3 and Sorensen went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Hunter Fjorden went 1 for 2 and drove in a pair of runs and scored twice, and Nelson, Hickethier Carnes and Connor Olson each had hits.
Three Eagle pitchers including Nate Heimstead, Carnes and Olson combined for three strikeouts, three walks and only one earned run.
L/F softball falls at Cameron
A Cameron baseruner is tagged out during the Luck/Frederic softball team's final game of the regular season before playoffs begin May 22. – Photo by Becky Amundson
5/21/14 Cameron 11, Luck/Frederic 6
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
CAMERON – The Luck/Frederic softball team dropped a conference game against Cameron on Tuesday, May 20, during the final game of the regular season, before playoffs begin this Thursday, May 22.
Luck/Frederic totaled 11 hits in the game with Lara Harlander going 3 for 3, Abbie Otlo went 3 for 4 and Camille Marsten was 2 for 3. Jillian Klatt pitched just over one inning allowing six earned runs with four walks and one strikeout before Otlo came in to pitch. She gave up 11 hits with two strikeouts and three walks and five earned runs.
Luck/Frederic will be playing their next game as host to the Unity Eagles for the first round of regional playoff action, beginning at 5 p.m., in Frederic.
Turtle Lake/Clayton 12, Unity 0
TURTLE LAKE – The Unity softball team was shut out by Turtle Lake/Clayton Tuesday, May 20 during their final game of the regular season. The Eagles had just two hits from Carly Ince and Jessica Grams.
The Eagles will play regionals Thursday, May 22, at Frederic starting at 5 p.m.
Lara Harlander hits the sweet spot on the bat during a game against Cameron on Tuesday, May 20. – Photo by Becky Amundson
Pirate golfers win conference crown
Jordan Lowe of Unity takes a practice swing at the Luck Golf Course Tuesday, May 20, during the final league match of the season for area golfers. – Photo submitted
5/21/14 Marty Seeger |Staff writer
LUCK – With a match win during a league game held at the Luck Golf Course on Tuesday, May 20, the Grantsburg boys golf team came away with sole possession of the regular season West Lakeland Conference championship.
Grantsburg finished with a team score of 179, with Jordan Knutson leading the overall standings and the Pirates with a 39. Nathaniel Krause scored a 44, Chandler Witzany, 47, and Drew Alderman finished with a 49.
After a spirited chase to the conference title the Unity Eagles finished second overall but only seven strokes behind as Ben Traynor led with a 43, Cole Hanson, 46, Tanner Amrhien, 50, and Eric Smith, 52. The Eagles posted an overall score of 186.
"We put ourselves in a great opportunity to win conference," said coach Larry Stencil. "Golf is a sport in which things happen that are not in your control. Once the ball leaves the club, you lose control. What should be taken out of yesterday's match is that we can compete with the top teams in the area"
St. Croix Falls finished with a score of 216 with Brett Johnson leading the Saints with a 49. Nick Lunde shot 53, Levi Ward, 55, Dalton Kloos, 59.
The Siren Dragons followed with a score of 229, as Neil Oustigoff and Alexi Gloodt finished with scores of 52. Jade Merril had a 59 and Emily Howe scored a 66.
Luck/Frederic finished with a score of 230, with Casey Ekholm, 52, Kyle Knauber, 55, Jordan Erickson, 59, Kody Menke, 64, and Luke Wiltz, 65.
Golfers will compete at the Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake Thursday, May 22, for the Lakeland Conference Tournament, with tee times starting at 8:30 a.m.
Regionals begin on Tuesday, May 27. St. Croix Falls is in the Division 2 regional and traveling to the Somerset's Bristol Ridge Golf Course. Grantsburg, Luck/Frederic, Siren and Unity are playing in the Unity regional, which will be hosted at the Luck Golf Course.
Luck/Frederic softball gets in the win column
5/7/14 Luck/Frederic 15, Webster/Siren 0
Luck/Frederic 17, Webster/Siren 7
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
FREDERIC – The Luck/Frederic softball team broke into the win column twice on Tuesday, May 6, with a pair of wins over the Webster/Siren Storm. Jillian Klatt pitched a one-hitter during a 15-0 win in the first game, as L/F piled on 15 runs on 15 hits. Lara Harlander went 3 for 3 in the game with three RBIs, and Camille Marsten drove in three runs going 1 for 3. Emily Amundson and Klatt both had two hits with Amundson driving in two runs and Klatt with one RBI. Carly Gustafson and Katie Pfaff each had hits. Jenna Curtis had the lone run for the Storm, while Klatt had four strikeouts. In the second game, Pfaff and Julia Buck pitched for L/F in a 17-7 game that had the Storm racking up six hits. Pfaff, Marsten and Gustafson each had a pair of hits for L/F in the win.
Unity 8, St. Croix Falls 3
BALSAM LAKE – The Eagles softball team outscored St. Croix Falls in a high scoring conference game. This is the second time the Eagles have beaten St. Croix Falls this season, but both teams hit the ball well as Unity piled on 17 hits, while St. Croix Falls had 14. The Saints scored six runs in the second inning to take a 6-5 lead into the third but couldn't get much home from that point on. Carly Ince led the Eagles going 4 for 5 with four RBIs, and scored four times. Whitney Rock, and Cass Hanson each had three hits and Hannah Wagner had two. Rock and Hanson both drove in two runs.
Grantsburg 10, Cameron 0
Grantsburg 17, Cameron 1
GRANTSBURG – The Pirates piled on the runs and nearly shut out Cameron in both games of a doubleheader at Grantsburg on Tuesday, May 6. The Pirates had a big inning in the first game with eight runs and seven hits. Macy Hanson had two hits in the inning and struck out six batters through four innings. The Pirates totaled 12 hits with one walk. Wendy Roberts led the Pirates with five hits on the night, and in the second win, the Pirates had 12 hits and held Cameron to one hit with Livi Tucker on the mound.
Siren National hosts conference golf meet
Unity's Jordan Lowe eyes a shot at Siren National Golf Course on Tuesday, May 6. Lowe led the Eagles with a score of 41. Overall medalist honors went to Jordan Knutson of Grantsburg with a score of 34. – Photo submitted
5/7/14 Marty Seeger|Staff writer
SIREN – Area golf teams are finally getting some time on the course over the past week and traveled to Siren on Tuesday, May 6, for nine holes of competition. The Grantsburg Pirates led the field with a score of 163, followed by Unity, 177, St. Croix Falls, 217, Frederic/Luck, 218, and Siren, 235. Grantsburg's Jordan Knutson and the rest of the Pirates shined on Tuesday. Knutson shot a 34 for first place overall and teammate Lars Thorseson shot a 39. Drew Alderman and Chandler Witzany each scored a 45 and Nathaniel Krause hit a 49. Unity was led by Jordan Lowe with a 41, Ben Traynor, 43, Cole Hanson, 46, Eric Smith, 47 and Tanner Amrhien, 58. "Very happy with the play. Everyone's scores were lower than last week," said Unity coach Larry Stencil. St. Croix Falls was led by Brett Johnson with a score of 50, Luke Woltz led Frederic/Luck with a score of 50, and Neil Oustigoff shot a 52 for the Dragons.
Siren/Webster baseball moves to 4-0
Siren/Webster's Dade McCarthy fires the ball to first as teammate Alex Hopkins looks on during a win over Unity on Monday, May 5, at Unity. Siren/Webster won again Tuesday, May 6, against Luck/Frederic. – Photo by Marty Seeger
St. Croix Falls now 5-1 in win over Eagles
Siren/Webster 12, Luck/Frederic 9
Marty Seeger|Staff writer SIREN – The Siren/Webster baseball team improved their record to 4-0 in the conference with a 12-9 win over Luck/Frederic Tuesday, May 6. Despite errors and poor defense for both teams it was a good night of hitting for Siren/Webster according to coach Jarrod Washburn. "Our bats finally woke up tonight with us getting 13 hits as a team. It was a good thing because we made some mistakes in the field that cost us quite a few runs," said Wasburn. Shawn Stevens was the starting pitcher for S/W and went three innings with three strikeouts four walks, and allowed two hits, two earned runs. Paul Sargent was the winning pitcher as he too went three innings, allowing five runs on four hits, with three strikeouts and one walk. Taran Wols was the closer, with a strikeout and a walk. Aaron Dietmeier went 3 for 5 on the night, driving in three runs, while Ryan Curtis had a pair of hits with three RBIs. Alex Spafford and Dade McCarthy each had a pair of hits. "With the conference being so evenly matched top to bottom all of these games are huge so this was another great win for our ball club. I'm very proud of these young men with how far they've come in the last year. They continue to improve each time out and you can see the confidence growing as the season progresses," Washburn said. For Luck/Frederic it was a tough loss that saw them take a 4-0 lead after the first inning, but errors led to three runs for Siren/Webster. "This was a game where it was see-saw on the scoreboard the entire night," said coach Ryan Humpal. Luck/Frederic climbed back into the game and had a 7-5 lead after four innings, but Humpal said that's when "the wheels fell off for us." Siren/Webster scored five runs in the seventh but Luck/Frederic wasn't out of it completely, with a tying run at home plate in the seventh inning. "Nice evidence of high character kids, and the fight that is in them," Humpal said. Trent Strapon was 3 for 4 with a run scored and five RBIs, and Zach Schmidt pitched a solid game despite the six defensive errors. "Ultimately this was a game of momentum swings and S/W had the final one. One thing that is fun this year in our conference, is every night, you have no idea what team is going to win," said Humpal.
St. Croix Falls 7, Unity 4
ST. CROIX FALLS – The Unity Eagles baseball team dropped another tight game on Tuesday, May 6, while the Saints moved into first-place in the West Lakeland – at least for now. St. Croix Falls is now 5-1 in a very even conference but they've proven that their group of young players is capable of staying competitive with anyone in the conference. The Eagles are itching to get back into contention as they’ve seen a handful of games that could have easily went one way or the other. "One of these tight games, we are going to catch some breaks and we will put another one in the win column," said coach Matt Humpal. St. Croix Falls scored one run in the first inning and both teams scored three runs in the third. Tevin Anderson hit an RBI double and Riley Carnes drove in a pair of runs on a single. The Saints pitching staff was led by Jacob Jacobson who went 5-1/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks, with seven hits. Mitchell Gjovig finished out the game striking out one, with no walks and no hits allowed. Unity had a chance to come back late in the game, scoring two runs in the sixth, but couldn't score in the seventh. "I am proud of the way the boys battled back tonight. We made some mistakes early but we didn't let the game get away from us. In the last two innings we had a chance to tie or take the lead. That is all you can ask for in a game like this," said Humpal. Unity totaled seven hits with Carnes going 1 for 4 with two RBIs. Austin onahue also drove in a run. The Saints had nine hits as Jacobson went 2 for 3, and Alex Johnson was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Gjovig was 1 for 4 with an RBI.
Grantsburg 8, Cameron 2
Grantsburg 12, Cameron 7
GRANTSBURG – The Pirates baseball team pulled out a pair of wins over Cameron on Tuesday, May 6, during a doubleheader held in Grantsburg. During an 8-2 win in the first game, Tristan Brewer had a solid performance on the mound striking out 11 batters in the five inning game. He held the Comets scoreless in the first three innings before Cameron picked up a pair of runs in the fourth. The Pirates totaled seven hits in the first game and scored two runs in the first inning, and three more in both the third and fourth inning. Austin Thoreen, Gus Johnson and Josh Glover each had two hits in the game, including Johnson's double in the first inning. Andrew Coy also recorded a single. "We made enough good plays to keep a lid on the game," said Pirates coach Pete Johnson. Game two was a bit different for the Pirates as Cameron came out swinging with eight hits and built a 5-1 lead heading into the third inning. "I've been at this coaching thing for more than two decades, and I'm still making mistakes. Some of my managing tonight stunk, but my players found a way to win in spite of me," Johnson said. "Cameron did a good job of jumping out early and keeping us chasing our own tails." Both games were five-inning games but with a 6-6 tie after five innings the game went into extras. The Pirates piled on six runs in the sixth inning to help pad the win. "I was very pleased when we were down to our last two outs and we pulled ahead. Then did it again in the sixth inning," Johnson said. Austin Handy had a three-run triple in the sixth and Corey Sandberg and Damon Roberts each had a pair of hits. Thoreen, Glover, Brody Bonneville, Austin Swenson and Carter Lee each had hits.
L/F baseball falls short against Grantsburg
Luck/Frederic's Zach Schmidt slides head first into second base during a conference game at Luck. Grantsburg pulled out the 6-5 win late in the game. – Photo by Marty Seeger
4/23/14 Unity picks up first win of the season
Grantsburg 6, Luck/Frederic 5
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
LUCK – The Luck/Frederic baseball team let a 5-2 lead get away on Tuesday, April 22, as Grantsburg scored four runs in the top of seventh to pull out the conference win.
"We were fortunate to eek this one out," said Pirates coach Pete Johnson.
Logan Hamack worked through three scoreless innings on the mound for L/F before he got some run support in the bottom of the third. A walk and hit batter put two on with nobody out and Roman Poirier hit an RBI single. A wild pitch put runners in scoring position and Zach Schmidt towered a sacrifice fly to right-center field for the second run of the inning.
Grantsburg tied the game in the top of the fourth with help from an RBI single by Richard Schneider, but L/F scored again in the fourth off two Pirate errors and an two RBI single by Connor McGinnity. Trevor Dexter singled for an RBI in the fifth to give L/F a 5-2 lead, but in the final inning Grantsburg delivered.
"I'm glad they scheduled this game for seven innings, because we were in big trouble after the first six," Johnson said.
After three walks to load the bases Brody Bonneville drove in two runs on a single and Tristan Brewer and Austin Swenson drove in runs as well.
The Pirates had six hits with Austin Handy and Schneider going 2 for 4. Bonneville led with two RBIs on the big single in the seventh.
Brewer got the start on the mound for Grantsburg going three innings. The lefty had four strikeouts and two walks with only one hit allowed and two earned runs. Swenson went three innings for the win, with three strikeouts, four hits and one earned run. Schneider earned the save with a 1-2-3 seventh inning with one strikeout.
L/F had five hits with Porier, Schmidt, Dexter, McGinnity and Ben Kurkowski each getting hits.
Unity 8, Shell Lake 3
SHELL LAKE – The Unity baseball team picked up their first win of the year at Shell Lake on Tuesday, April 22.
"Both starting pitchers were outstanding in this one. It is fun to coach when both pitchers are throwing strikes and the defense is making plays behind them," said Eagles coach Matt Humpal.
Dylan Ruck got the start for Unity, going 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts. Connor Olson finished out the game on the mound with two strikeouts.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Unity scored three runs on two hits, including a double by Joey Schmitz. In the sixth inning the Eagles scored twice more with an RBI single from Tevin Anderson, an RBI triple by Cole Garvey. Unity scored three runs in the seventh as Olson, Riley Carnes, Brett Nelson, Schmitz Hunter Fjorden and Anderson each had hits. Shell Lake didn't score their three runs until the bottom of the seventh.
"Obviously, it is really nice to get our first win of the season. The thing I was really pleased with was the error-free game. After our defensive struggles in the first three games, this was encouraging to see," Humpal said.
The Eagles baseball team won their first game of the season against Shell Lake Tuesday, April 22. In this photo, a Lakers runner tries getting back to first as Unity first baseman, Cash Hickethier waits for the ball. – Photo by Larry Samson
Pirate golfers take first in match opener
4/23/14 Marty Seeger|Staff writer
GRANTSBURG – With many golf courses beginning to open area boys golf teams got their first match of the season out of the way at the Grantsburg Golf Course on Tuesday, April 22. The Pirate boys golf team took first place overall with Jordan Knutson leading the team with a score of 36, and earning medalist honors. As a team the Pirates scored a 153, with Lars Thoreson and Nathaniel Krause each scoring 37. Chandler Witzany and Drew Alderman each scored 43.
The Eagle boys placed second with a score of 169, with Ben Traynor leading the way with a 39 and Jordan Lowe shooting a 40. It was the first time the Eagles, and most other teams stepped out on the course.
"I thought we did a really nice job considering the circumstances," said Eagles coach Larry Stencil. "The course opened the same day and was in good condition. The staff should be commended. At the beginning of the season, the players are finding areas that need immediate attention. Whether it be skill-wise, staying in the present, or course management. These will all come around as the season progresses." Stencil added that as many as eight or nine players will be competing for the five varsity spots.
"We stress the importance of a depth in accomplishing our individual and team goals. Excited to see how it unfolds."
St. Croix Falls golfers finished with a score of 198 for third place. Brett Johnson led with a 47 and Brett Kuenkel shot a 48. The Siren Dragons and Luck/Frederic golfers both finished with a score of 207, with Jade Merrill scoring a 46 and Neil Oustigoff scoring 49 for the Dragons. Casey Eckholm shot a 46 for Frederic/Luck and Jordan Erickson shot a 52.
The next match for all teams is scheduled for the Luck Golf Course Thursday, April 24, at 4 p.m.
Pirate pitchers shut down Luck/Frederic softball
Wendy Roberts of Grantsburg eyes a pitch by Luck/Frederic pitcher Abbie Otlo during Tuesday's conference battle. The Pirates won 5-0. – Photo by Becky Amundson
4/23/14 Saints win over Webster/Siren Grantsburg 5, Luck/Frederic 0
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
FREDERIC – Grantsburg softball's 1-2 punch in the pitching department helped stop Luck/Frederic from what was a close game through six innings during L/F's season opener in Frederic on Monday, April 21. Pirate's senior Macy Hanson struck out nine consecutive batters before Olivia Tucker came in for the final four innings, and again held L/F without a hit, yet Abbie Otlo was equally impressive on the mound for L/F. She held the Pirates to just one run through six innings and the top three Pirate hitters 0 for 9, according to Grantsburg's softball web site.
In the fourth inning Jordyn Mckenzie hit an RBI single to give the Pirates the lead for good, and Grantsburg scored another four runs off three hits and three walks. Hope Tucker, Harlei Hennessey, Olivia Tucker, Katie Miller and Jordyn Mckenzie each had hits for the Pirates.
St. Croix Falls 14, Webster/Siren 4
ST. CROIX FALLS – The St. Croix Falls softball team ended a long losing drought with a 14-4 victory over the Webster/Siren Storm softball team.
Saints pitcher Katie Kopp had eight strikeouts and two walks. Sophie Aguilar went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Natalie Fisk was 2 for 3 with a double. McKenzie Christensen got on base all four plate appearances with two hits, a pair of walks and two RBIs.
"We played very well last night," said Saints coach Clayton Hanson. "The girls worked really hard to get this win, the first since 2012. Katie really pitched a great game and our defense played a stellar game. I am very proud of these girls, both varsity and JV, they have been working their tails off to get this first win."
Carly Ince tries to put a tag on a Shell Lake runner Tuesday, April 22. The Lakers, returning state qualifiers, defeated Unity 10-0. – Photo by Larry Samson
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