Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.
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STEWARTVILLE, Minn. - From Stewartville to Austin and from St. Cloud to Target Field, Cannon Falls had its road to state literally mapped out. With a road map hanging in the dugout, the Bombers' idea was "different route, same Target" as they looked to build for a second-straight trip to state. But the Bombers had to make an immediate detour back to Cannon Falls after being eliminated from the Section 1AA-West playoffs Saturday in Stewartville.
CANNON FALLS - If Zumbrota-Mazeppa hopes to get back to the state tournament, the Cougars first have to solve the Kasson-Mantorville conundrum. Through four innings in Friday's Section 1AA-West final, the second-seeded and top-ranked Cougars were able to get out of every jam the No. 1-seeded and fifth-ranked KoMets could put in their way. But with its back against the wall, K-M flourished, getting eight of the team's nine hits with two outs in a 2-1 victory at Cannon Falls High School.
After shelling Randolph 16-3 on Sunday, Red Wing was ready to keep that momentum rolling against Spring Valley (Wis.) on Wednesday. So it was an initial shock for the Aces when they could only muster two hits through the first five innings. But with Brady Schroeder throwing six solid innings on the mound, Red Wing kept up its winning ways with a 4-1 victory over the Hawks at the Red Wing Athletic Field. The game was called in the bottom of the seventh due to rain. Schroeder held Spring Valley to four hits in six innings, striking out six for his third victory of the season.
Playing at their home course, the Red Wing boys golf team was hoping to use Red Wing Golf Club to its advantage in Monday's Missota Conference championship meet. "We were pretty confident coming in (playing at Red Wing GC)," said Wingers sophomore Dylan Goggin. "We usually played at Mississippi National (Golf Links), and not many of the other golfers have played here." But the great equalizer came from the weather, where occasional rain and wind gusts proved to be a challenge. Ultimately, Red Wing battled through the elements to finish in fourth place with a team score of 328.
ELLSWORTH - Even in the first game of the Division 2 Section 1 playoffs, Ellsworth head softball coach Ryan Casper was still tinkering with his lineup. With a condensed season due to a stormy spring, the Panthers are still searching for that perfect lineup. And in Thursday's first-round game against sixth-seeded Somerset, third-seeded Ellsworth played a new lineup for the first time this season. "(Freshman) Abby Giese, today was the first time she's played (at third base)...
SHAKOPEE - If things start to get away from the Red Wing boys golf team, they have one simple plan. Grind it out. "That's (assistant coach Kris) Hager's famous term," said Wingers senior Jack Gorman. "No matter how things are going out there, you have to just grind it out." Battling shorter pins at the par-71 Stonebrooke Golf Club for a Missota Conference meet Wednesday, Red Wing's golfers were able to grind out the course and come away with a fourth-place finish by shooting a 320. "It was good to have our guys play like that," said Red Wing senior Taylor Hanson.
Trying to snap a four-game slump, Red Wing had to rely on a pair of first-time starters on the mound. And what junior Cody Leitner and senior Marcus Leach lacked in starting experience, they more than made up for in results on Tuesday as the pair helped the Wingers to a Missota Conference sweep of New Prague at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Red Wing (5-7, 5-6 Missota) opened the set with a 6-3 victory in Game 1, followed by a 12-5 win in the night cap.
ZUMBROTA - After a solid outing against Farmington on Friday, Zumbrota-Mazeppa junior Michael Wicks was thrust back on the mound on Monday against Byron. "He looked good and we won 3-2 (against Farmington)," said Cougars head coach Chuck Ohm. "We wanted to give him another start and see if he could go back-to-back. ... I'll tell you what: he might be my No.
Red Wing's pitching and defense kept the team in the hunt in a pair of games against Northfield and Hastings on Saturday. But when the Wingers had runners in scoring position and needed an offensive boost, the clutch hits never showed up.
Red Wing is searching for its next boys hockey coach as Mike Belisle was ousted as the Wingers' head coach last week. "All coaching positions are year-to-year contracts, and we've opened the position," Red Wing Athletic Director Matt Schultz said. In three seasons, Belisle led Red Wing to a 28-51-3 record, getting as far as the Section 1A semifinals in 2010-11.