Joe Brown is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Prior to becoming regional editor, he was the sports editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle from 2012-2018. He also worked as the sports editor for the Marshall Independent (2010-2012) and as a sports/news clerk for the St. Cloud Times (2008-2009). He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.
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CANNON FALLS – Lake City's girls' golf team has found the perfect time to peak. A day after knocking off Red Wing at The Jewel, the Tiger girls brought home some hardware after winning the Hiawatha Valley League tournament in convincing fashion at the Cannon Golf Club. “It's a lot of pressure to play well and play our best each time as a team,” said junior Lexi Geolat. “And we've done really well all season doing just that. … We all get along really well and we're friends on and off the course. We all just work hard and are passionate about the game. We all care a lot.
LAKE CITY – Playing against the hottest team in the Hiawatha Valley League Saturday, Cannon Falls needed the right mental makeup to pull off the doubleheader sweep against Lake City. The first game went swimmingly with an 11-0 five-inning victory to snap the Tigers' seven-game win streak. Game 2 saw Lake City jump out to a 7-1 lead after the top of the fifth inning, making a split seem imminent.
Red Wing was one pitch away from going into the bottom of the fifth inning tied 0-0 with Rochester Mayo. With two outs and a 3-2 count, the Spartans' Ashley Wandler reached for an outside pitch from Hannah Rodgers. And, Wandler connected, bringing home two runs in the process. And from that point, Mayo was finally able to put some distance between itself and the Wingers. With a three-run fifth and an eight-run seventh inning, the Spartans raced by Red Wing for an 11-0 Big Nine Conference victory at Red Wing High School.
For the second time in four days, Red Wing has an idea about how they stack up against Class 3A's best. Hosting the Winger Invitational Tuesday at Mississippi National Golf Links, Red Wing and Edina were on the same course again after playing against one another Saturday at Rosemount. “It's been interesting,” said Red Wing junior Stephanie Herzog. “These don't really matter unless we get to state, but it's nice to see how we stack up against each other and know who's really good, where their weaknesses are, that kind of thing.”
PINE ISLAND – A week ago, Pine Island head coach Craig Anderson said his team came off the field humbled. Taking a 7-1 loss against Cannon Falls, there was plenty the Panthers needed to fix, and one of the key points was coming out with a more aggressive plan of attack. “The other day we thought we were a little tentative, a lot of times watching strike one,” Anderson said. “We said every hitter has got to be going up there and before the pitch, you got to be saying, 'Yes, yes, yes.' I'm not sure we were saying 'Yes' last week.”
Thursday was a gut-check moment for Red Wing baseball. After taking a 6-2 loss to Big Nine Conference foe Winona at the Red Wing Athletic Field, players and coaches agreed the team's energy was lacking. On the field, that resulted in the Wingers getting just two hits over the first six innings before putting together a three-hit, two-run frame in the seventh.
With plenty to replace in 2016, the Red Wing Aces’ season opener on Sunday provided a good deal of promise. Going off for 15 hits in a 5-2 non-league win over Bay City, the offensive surge was a surprise for Red Wing since pitchers usually dominate the early portion of the amateur baseball season. “It was a good game as far as our new guys went. We had our new guys playing and I think they all had multiple hits,” said Aces manager Jimmy Bohmbach. “Typically pitching is ahead of hitting at this point of the year, so it was a surprise to put the ball in play that often.”
ZUMBROTA – Kevin Nelson admits to being a little relieved when Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s softball field new name was unveiled. “I was glad when they unveiled it that it didn’t say ‘the Kevin Nelson Memorial Field’ or something like that,” Nelson said in a dry tone. Prior to the start of Monday’s game against Hiawatha Valley League rival Pine Island, the Cougars’ field was christened Kevin Nelson Field, complete with a sign below the scoreboard commemorating the honor.
ZUMBROTA – Against top-ranked Zumbrota-Mazeppa, any mistake will be magnified. With an All-State pitcher and a lineup that seems to sport power one-through-nine every year, the Cougars are a hard enough out on an equal playing field. Pine Island managed to play five innings of strong softball, but it was the first two innings where errors and misplayed balls haunted the Panthers as Class 2A's top team picked up a 4-1 Hiawatha Valley League home win on Monday.
Not even the power of pancakes were going to keep Red Wing's mind off a victory. Prior to Saturday's top-10 Class 3A matchup with No. 5 Rocori, members of the Wingers baseball team went out for breakfast. But, the team had an appetite for victory, not necessarily breakfast. “We went out to Perkins and all we were thinking about was today's game. Couldn't think about anything else,” said Red Wing starting pitcher Teddy Tauer. “Maybe when the server brought the food out, that's exciting. But this game was huge.”