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The Cleat Fits

Fri, Jun 7th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

By Paul Trende

No one would’ve expected it, or seen it coming. As it was occurring, people were skeptical that it would continue. Yet somehow, the Fillmore Central/Lanesboro baseball team made a post-season pilgrimage that included stops in Rushford, Winona twice (for three games), and finally Austin. Most would’ve probably not batted an eyelash if FC/L’s post-season included just one stop and then the summer. The Falcons weren’t wearing Cinderella slippers. There wore Cinderella cleats.

After a first week of play-off action that saw 5-seed FC/L take down 4-seed Rushford-Peterson 11 to 3, lose to top-ranked Wabasha-Kellogg 10 to 0, and then upset 2-seed Chatfield 7 to 3, the Falcons (4-11) got 3-seed Lewiston-Altura (10-7) in the Sub-Section 1A 2nd place game. Like the contest with the Gophers, FC/L got the Cardinals immediately following a loss (to W-K 9 to 1) and, the Falcons jumped on L-A right away. After an out, an Andy Love walk, and then another out, FC/L’s next four batters reached, three (Clay Olson, Cal Larson, Jake Tammel) by hit, one (Nick Powell) by walk. Larson’s RBI single plated Love to make it 1-0. Tammel then smacked the most important hit of the game, burning L-A left-fielder Storm Seefeldt for a huge, bases clearing 3-run double. After half an inning, the Falcons led 4-0.

But Lewiston-Altura did what Chatfield couldn’t do days earlier. They got back into the game. Hunter Matzke smacked a 2-run double in the second inning making it 4-2. FC/L got those runs back a ½ inning later. Powell answered with a 2-run double of his own, his first hit of the post-season no less, and the Falcons again led by four (6-2). L-A then got a run in the 3rd and 4th innings. In the bottom of the 5th, Ryan Gnadt got in on the 2-run action with a 2-run single and, suddenly, with two full innings to go, the teams were back to square one, tied at 6 apiece. They didn’t stay tied long.

In FC/L’s half of the 6th, Niko Anderson led off with a single. A pitch then hit Andy Love. Dan Gatzke followed with an infield hit, filling the bases with Falcons runners. Clean-up man Clay Olson, on a 0-2 count no less, then got one run in via sacrifice fly. Senior Cal Larson got a second courtesy of an off-the-pitchers-glove infield hit. On the play, Gatzke was gunned down at home trying to expand FC/L’s lead, but with 6 outs to go, the Falcons led 8-6. Senior pitcher Nick Ebner (who recorded the win) saw four batters and set down three in the 6th. Josh Jones, the hero pitcher from the Chatfield game, did the same in the 7th, giving up a walk, but striking out the final two Cardinal batters to get the save. By a final of 8-6, FC/L grabbed the Sub-Section 1A runner-up trophy and, improbably, booked themselves a trip to Austin for the Section final four. Four players had two or more hits for the Falcons, Larson (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R), Gatzke (2-4, 2B), Olson (2-3, RBI), and Powell (2-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI). Tammel was 1 for 3, but his 3-run double was the tone setter. Matzke (2-4, 2 2B’s, 3 RBI) and Gnadt (2-3, 3 RBI) drove in all six L-A runs.

In Austin, the dream post-season run finally was halted. FC/L faced off with Sub-Section 1A West runner-up Hayfield (9-13). The Vikings sort of did to FC/L what FC/L had done to Chatfield and L-A. Courtesy of three first inning hits, Hayfield jumped ahead 2-0. They added to the lead in the third inning making the score 3-0. FC/L finally got on the board in the top of the 5th. Devin Block singled. Garrett Boggs sacrificed him to second. Niko Anderson then drove him in, but Block would be the only Falcon to cross home plate. Hayfield added an insurance run in the 6th and prevailed 4-1. FC/L had a couple opportunities snuffed out before they could even get off the ground. Viking catcher Connor Nelson picked FC/L runners off first base in the 2nd and 5th innings. He also threw Anderson out trying to steal second in the 3rd. That, combined with Hayfield’s ultra-aggressiveness at the plate (they had 11 one-pitch at bats and another five two-pitch at bats), and the mound work of Viking sophomore pitcher Blake Risius (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) combined to spell the Falcons demise. FC/L’s whirlwind season, their first under head coach Keith Larson, ends at 5-12. It was the deepest play-off run of any FC/L baseball team in the program’s history (which dates back to 1993-1994).

Dissimilar Track and Field Duo Shines

Chatfield’s Jayme LaPlante and Maddy Kammer are pretty much physical opposites of each other. Jayme is male. Maddy is not. LaPlante is 6’3” and 210-plus pounds of athletic burly bigness. Kammer is 5’9” tall of an indeterminate weight, though one much less than 210 pounds. She is probably best described as long and limby (all limbs). LaPlante can run, but specializes in the ‘throw’ portion of the ‘field’ events. Kammer is a ‘track’ runner all the way. They are both blondes. Each used their respective physical tools (besides the blond hair) to earn multiple trips to the state Class A track meet.

Kammer, a sophomore, used her long legs to become the Section 1A 200-meter and 400-meter champion. Her 200-meter time was 26.62 seconds. It is Kammer’s second straight Section title at that distance. She did not qualify for last year’s state 200-meter state final (ran five races in two days, per her other inclusion on Chatfield’s state 4x100 and 4x200 teams). Coming in right behind her was not-yet-in-high-school Gopher teammate, 8th grader Mariah Bell. Bell snatched the coveted second state spot by a whopping .01 seconds from Byron’s Jillian Krier. In the 400, Kammer was a full second (58.68) faster than second place Elizabeth May of Southland (GMLOS). Maddy’s time garnered the highest seed (was the lowest) of 16 state participants (she’s one of only three entrants to run a sub-one-minute 400-meters). In addition to the individual 200 and 400-meter races, Kammer will run with teammates Ashley Baker (junior), Autum Erickson (freshmen), and Bell as the Section 1A champion entrant in the 4x200 relay. With a time of 1:46.32, they have the best seed (lowest time). The foursome continues the grand Gopher girl’s relay tradition. Chatfield sprint teams have made it to state each of the last seven years.

LaPlante, meanwhile, will make his first state track and field appearance, in two events. Jayme, a junior, won the Section 1A discus crown. His 147’9” tally was exactly a foot better than Stewartville’s Shane Curtis. LaPlante also finished third at the shot put (50’10”), behind Lewiston-Altura’s Evan Bain (53’2”) and Winona-Cotter’s Kenny Kirkvold (51’3 ½”). Per standard (50’9”), Jayme qualified for the state meet. Two other county athletes qualified for the trek to Hamline University. Lanesboro sophomore Olivia Haug (L/FC/M-C) won the girls Section 1A discus title with a throw of 114’11”. She bested Stewartville’s Sarah West (111’) by over three feet. Rushford-Peterson 8th grader Noah Carlson won the triple jump (42’1”) over Pine Island’s Ben Farrell (42’00 ¼”). It was one of three events Carlson competed in at Sectionals, and he isn’t even in high school yet. He also finished 5th at the 400-meter dash and was a part of R-P-H’s 4th place 4x200 team (with Tyler McLellan/Casey McClellan/Dan Thorson). It will be Haug and Carlson’s first state track and field meet.

A few other county athletes were within earshot of a state birth. Chatfield junior Ashley Baker finished 3rd in the 100-meters and was only .18 seconds out of second place (behind Byron’s Krier). L/FC/M-C 8th grader Kiera Olson was a part of a logjam photo finish in the 3,200-meter race. Olson wound up finishing third with a time of 11:54.87. La Crescent’s Sylvia Lechnir (11:54.52) and Rochester-Lourdes’ Shannon Strickland (11:54.64) finished 1-2, as all three were right there. R-P-H junior Austin O’Hare notched two third place finishes (1,600-meters, 3,200-meters). He was well back in the 3,200, but right behind (4:36.98) Lourdes’ Dakota Streit (1st, 4:35.88) and Faribault B.A.’s Drew Busch (2nd, 4:36.29) in the 1,600. The Chatfield girls 4x100 (Baker/Erickson/Maddie Talamantes/Bell) was also just off state pace. They finished 4th, but their time (0:51:41) was .41 seconds short (0:51:00) of that needed to qualify by standard. L/FC/M-C’s Gabe Decker and R-P-H’s Jordan Honken (Pole Vault) each had third place finishes, or just out of reach of state. For more Section 1A meet results, see below.

Bearson, Stensgard Qualify For State

There will just be two county athletes competing at state golf meets this season. Lanesboro senior Johanna Bearson (82), the Sub-Section 1A East runner-up (to Wabasha-Kellogg’s Courtney Sill), was again runner-up at the Section 1A meet. Her 81 was one shot behind Lewiston-Altura’s Elizabeth Hennessey. Bearson tied for second with GM/L-O’s Kaitlin King. The effort advanced Bearson to her 4th state golf meet. She finished 51st as an 8th grader, tied for 34th as a freshmen, and tied for 20th last year as a junior. A pair of Fillmore Central gal golfers, Katie Tammel (96, 8th place) and Laura Donney (97, 9th place) finished in the top ten. Kingsland’s Megan Back (98) finished 10th.

On the boy’s side of things, Rushford-Peterson junior Hudson Stensgard shot a 79, three off the pace (76) set by co-medallist’s Brady Becker (Hayfield) and Fletcher Blaschko (W-K). Stensgard finished tied for 4th with three other individuals (enough to move on to the state tournament). The Fillmore Central boys team finished 3rd (339) behind W-K (316) and Hayfield (335), but no Falcon qualified for state. Jordan Miller, the Sub-Section 1A co-champion, finished tied for 9th place (82). Teammate Trevor Barnes and Lanesboro’s Liam Dorn were the next best two county golfers. Each had 84’s and tied for 12th place. The state Class 1A golf tournaments are June 11th and 12th at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker.

> 05-28/30 Section 1A Track and Field Meet (Chatfield’s girls finished 2nd, L/FC/M-C tied for 14th, R-P-H 16th, and Kingsland 22nd (of 23). R-P-H’s boys finished 8th, Chatfield tied for 9th, L/FC/M-C 14th, Kingsland tied for 17th. Other notable high individual finishers: DeAngilo Funches/Kingsland (4th Triple Jump, 5th Long Jump), A. Erickson/Chatfield (4th 100), the L/FC/M-C boys 4x800 – Brandon Breitsprecher/Zach Case/Nathaniel Harrison/Erik Peterson (4th), Anna Sweet/R-P-H (5th 100), Kayla Woltz/Chatfield (5th 3200), Elizabeth Loken/R-P-H (5th Discus), Karen Gomez/Chatfield (6th 3200), M. Talamantes/Chatfield (6th 300-hurdles), Lacey Schwartz/Kingsland (6th 100), Christian Bance/Chatfield (6th 800), Quentin Case/L-FC-MC (6th 300-hurdles, 7th 100-hurdles), & Tyler Wondrow/Chatfield (6th High Jump))

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