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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Five days since its last game, there was some pause as to how Red Wing would open the Section 1AAA playoffs. “You get into a routine in the spring season, playing every other day or third day,” said Wingers' head coach Paul Hartmann. “With that many days off, you wonder what kind of performance you'll get out of your guys.” The way Teddy Tauer was throwing in Saturday's opening-round game against eight-seeded Byron, concern dissipated rather quickly for top-seeded Red Wing.
CANNON FALLS — Even after taking a 4-0 loss to Rochester Lourdes in the Section 1AA-West championship game, Zumbrota-Mazeppa wasn't about to go into the off-season quietly. In an elimination game against Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland, the mood was high. The Cougars weren't ready to hand in their uniforms quite yet. Neither was GMLOK, which eliminated Pine Island with a 6-4 victory earlier in the day.
The Red Wing girls' golf team remains atop the Big Nine Conference perch Since re-entering the Big Nine in 2014-15, the Wingers have been conference champions. And with a team score of 310 in Tuesday's conference championship at Mississippi National Golf Links, Red Wing was once again christened as the Big Nine's best. “It's always fun to win the conference, especially since it was at our home course,” said senior Stephanie Herzog, who wrapped up her third straight Big Nine individual championship with a score of 70. “It was nice not having to drive anywhere.”
STILLWATER – Between eight other teams and a crippling cold weather forecast, the Red Wing girls' track and field team had plenty to compete with on Saturday. With temperatures in the 40s with steady rain and wind beating down on Pony Stadium in Stillwater, the Wingers were able to battle both the teams and the elements for a third-place finish at the Class 2A state True Team championship.
ZUMBROTA — Coming off the field following a 5-4 Hiawatha Valley League win over Lake City Thursday, Zumbrota-Mazeppa softball coach Kevin Nelson was greeted with five yellow balloons and five packages of Twizzlers from his daughter Megan. After becoming the eighth softball coach in Minnesota history to reach 500 career wins, Thursday was as good a time to enjoy a celebratory licorice rope.
DUNDAS – With three games in three days, there was some legit concern that the Red Wing baseball team would be burnt out Saturday against Northfield. “That was definitely a talk on the bus ride over about how we're going to respond from two straight games, including an emotional senior night on Friday,” said Red Wing head coach Paul Hartmann. Hartmann was able to follow that statement up rather quickly. “We squashed all that in the third inning.”
Thursday was a rare moment for the Red Wing boys’ golf team. Shooting a team score of 314, the Wingers were behind Big Nine Conference rival Northfield in the five-team Red Wing Invitational after the Raiders shot a 307. It was a tougher day than what Red Wing is used to. But there was plenty of perspective in that statement.
Seven of the top 10 girls' golf teams in Minnesota, and the top six golfers in the state, all came down to Mississippi National Golf Links on Tuesday. And when the final scores were added up, the Wingers were queens of their home course, winning the Winger Invitational for the first time since 2011.
CANNON FALLS — When Brady Braaten bears down, few pitchers in the Hiawatha Valley League are harder to bat around. Days after throwing a no-hitter against St. Charles, the Pine Island right-hander took to the mound again Thursday to lead the 16th-ranked Panthers against ninth-ranked Cannon Falls.
RANDOLPH – When eighth-grade pitcher Morgyn Otte takes to the rubber for Randolph, there's another eighth-grader in front of her in catcher Megan Erickson. Behind her in the infield is freshman Mackenna Otte and sophomore Andrea Splichal. In center field, a junior in Skyler Turek. There is plenty of age discrepancies on the Rockets' softball team. But success and a desire to help the school win a fifth straight Southeast Conference title has a way to erase the age gaps.