Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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GOODHUE – The Midas Touch. Scott Christianson has it, and he couldn't be happier. “I like it,” Christianson said after his Goodhue Wildcats eliminated Schaeffer Academy from the Sub-section 1A East playoffs on Thursday by a 13-1 margin. The first round of the tournament is an elimination round. And it can cause chaos. Christianson and the Wildcats know that well, having been the tornado that swept through the bracket last year as the No. 8 seed. This year Goodhue is the No. 4 seed, but against the fifth-seeded Lions on Thursday, the Wildcats were world-beaters.
Less than a week ago, Pine Island an Cannon Falls met in the regular season finale. That game ended 6-0 in favor of the Panthers, yet it was only a glimpse of what Pine Island was capable of. On Monday, with a storm looming on the horizon, the Panthers hosted the Bombers for the second time in four days, and promptly sent the Bombers home for the summer with a 21-0 decision in the first round of the Sub-section 1AA West tournament.
PINE ISLAND – Craig Anderson is retiring from coaching. Unlike the recent trend of being pushed out by an administration because of a lack of wins, or fleeing his post because of angry parents, Anderson is stepping down as Pine Island's baseball coach because his wife likes retirement. And, Anderson concluded, he might like it, too.
Red Wing head football coach Rickey Foggie has taken the same position with Eagan. Red Wing Athletics Director Matt Schultz confirmed on Friday morning that Foggie, who was 6-4 and 3-7 in his two seasons at the helm of Red Wing, was leaving for the Wildcats. “He called me late last night,” Schultz said. “He lives in Eagan, so I'm sure that played a huge role to take that job. And I'm sure just being around, especially in a sport like football where you're recruiting numbers all the time, that helps.”
It took Dave Muelken about a month to decide to step down as head girls' basketball coach at Red Wing High School, and it took about the same amount of time for Athletics Director Matt Schultz to find a replacement. On Thursday, Schultz confirmed that Jesse Nelson, an assistant to Muelken for nearly a half-decade, would be the new head coach.
The timing was perfect for those not playing for a win. Minutes after the final out of Tuesday's game between Red Wing and Austin, the skies darkened and a heavy rain soaked anyone not able to scramble to their car. But the Wingers were hoping to play through the downpour. Instead, Red Wing was set down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning, taking a 10-6 loss in the process.
WAMAMINGO – One of the best regular season matchups in the Hiawatha Valley League was Monday with Cannon Falls visiting Kenyon-Wanamingo. Both teams entered the contest with one loss, but the Bombers took the life out of the game early with four runs in the top of the first inning, and another in the second to take a commanding 5-1 lead. But the Knights responded with a four-spot in the fifth, and then walked off with a 6-5 win when Jake Whipple lined a ball to left field and scored Blake Jacobson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
For the first time in 12 years, Red Wing's boys basketball head coaching position was open. Doug Toivonen stepped down after the Wingers took third place in the Class 3A state tournament this season, leaving a huge hole at the top of the program. Tasked with the hire, Red Wing Activities Director Matt Schultz chose a name familiar to area basketball fans: Drew Olinger.
As the first batter of the game for Red Wing, it was up to Tait Kelly to set the tone for the offense. The Winger senior center fielder did just that, reaching on an infield hit that the Rochester John Marshall third baseman could not get to first base in time. Kelly would advance to third on a one-out error that put Seth Morem on first. Teddy Tauer then grounded out to second, earning an RBI in the process when Kelly crossed the plate. Another groundout ended the inning, and Red Wing had a 1-0 lead in Game 1 of a Big Nine Conference doubleheader.
RANDOLPH – The pitching mound in Randolph was not a good place to be on Tuesday. Randolph put up seven runs in the bottom of the second, and Blooming Prairie came back with five in the third. Both teams scored three times in the fourth, and more runs followed over the next three innings. But the Rockets were finally able to calm things down on the hill, clinching a 14-9 nonconference victory over the Awesome Blossoms.