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Plein column: Out with the old, in with the new

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This Friday evening the Red Wing Aces will open their 2009 home season by hosting the Minneapolis Angels at 7:30. The Angels have given the Aces some tough games in the past and this game should be none the different. With an extra innings defeat in 2008, Red Wing will try to improve on its 1-0 start and keep things moving in a positive direction.

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The Classic Cannon Valley League opener is Sunday, Mother's Day, as the Aces play host to long-time rival the Dundas Dukes. This is an early-season test for both teams, as it will be a very important game for section seedings.

Personal reactions from last Sunday's CCVL All-Stars versus the St. Paul Saints have to be nothing but positive. The host Miesville Mudhens did just a fantastic job of putting on a first-class event. The playing field was in immaculate condition with the overseeing of longtime Miesville backer Jim "Juice" Johnson.

There was a huge crowd announced at 1,505 and everybody involved should get a big pat on the back for providing a venue that was great for the players and the fans who attended the game.

Although the CCVL lost the game, it was a lot of fun to get to know the players from other teams on a different level and should make league games that much more interesting in 2009.

For the fans who will attend a game or two this upcoming weekend, you will see some changes both on and off the field at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Much work has been done by the RWABA in revising the concession stand and some great changes have been made. Also, there is a new group of young Aces to see playing for the Red Wing nine.

Former Wingers like Luke Halvorson, Hayden Flack, Jake Laffey and Chris Larson will be playing for the Aces this summer along with current Red Wing senior Blake Schammel. I enjoy getting to get to know these young players and see how the team comes together. I'm now in my 32nd year of coaching baseball in Red Wing and these guys keep all of us younger.

One long-time Ace who will not be back in 2009 will be Chad Krueger. Chad joined the Aces when I was still managing and I tell you all, if we had nine players like him at every game Red Wing would have won a lot more ball games. It will be sad not to see the familiar No. 3 making plays in the infield and scoring runs this season. Chad was the ultimate team player and always conducted himself with the utmost amount of class. I will miss him this season.

Let's make the 2009 Aces season another fun, family-friendly and affordable time at the yard. Hope to see you at the Ath this weekend and throughout the summer.

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