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Opening day should be interesting for high school football games around the state on Saturday, Aug. 22, including the Pine River-Backus Tigers traveling to the Red Lake County Rebels at 11 a.m., and the Pequot Lakes Patriots hosting the Staples-Motley Cardinals at 7 p.m. That's because an early start to the football season since the high school football championship games will need to be played two weeks earlier than normal (Nov.
Jason Roepke drove in six runs as the Nisswa Lightning claimed their first Region 8C title and also earned a first-round bye for the Class C state tournament with a 14-8 win over Sobieski in an amateur baseball slugfest that featured a combined 38 hits on Saturday, Aug. 15. In earning its seventh straight win and 14th victory in 15 games, Nisswa improved to 30-3 overall, and will next play in the second round of state on Saturday, Aug. 29, in Cold Spring against the first-round winner between Long Prairie and Loretto. Sobieski will be playing in the opening round of state on Saturday, Aug.
Aaron Jenkins' two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning helped the Nisswa Lightning amateur baseball team edge the Sobieski Skis 5-3 in the Region 8C playoffs on Saturday, Aug. 8, in Sobieski. Both the Lightning and Skis entered the game as the only unbeaten teams in the region playoffs. Sobieski did bounce back with a 17-0 win over Lastrup on Sunday, Aug. 9, to earn a rematch against Nisswa at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, in Sobieski.
Mike Birge made the right decision after graduating from Pine River-Backus High School in 1993. Birge, who earned all-state honors as a senior football player with the Tigers, had to choose between joining the home-state Minnesota Gophers Division I football team or the smaller MidAmerica Nazarene University (Olathe, Kansas) National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) program. "The Gophers' coach at the time was Jim Wacker, and he said I could work hard for a couple years and maybe play my junior and senior years," Birge recalled.
Sid Osterman is right on schedule with his drag racing career. The Pequot Lakes man developed a plan of success when he began competing in the sport five years ago after inheriting a 1968 Chevrolet El Camino. His goal was to steadily move up the levels of bracket racing in National Hot Rod Assocation's West Central Division 5 that covers the midwest states.
The Nisswa Lightning amateur baseball team clinched a spot in the Class C state tournament with a 7-2 victory over the Avon Lakers in the Region 8C playoffs on Sunday, Aug. 2, in Pierz. The Lightning, 28-3 overall, will face the Sobieski Skis at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, in Sobieski. The winner will advance to the region championship game. "We're 2-0 overall and in a better position than we were last year when we lost the second game of the (region) playoffs," said Nisswa player/manager Aaron Jenkins, whose team finished second in the region last season.
The top two women's teams in Brainerd's Upper Division slow-pitch league faced off on a warm night at the Mill Avenue softball fields on Monday, July 27. In the end, the Schroeder's Appliance team held on for a 15-10 victory over Shep's Bar.
The Nisswa Lightning defeated the visiting Fort Ripley Rebels twice on Sunday, July 26, to win the Victory League North Division playoff title. Nisswa rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the first game 5-4, and force an extra game to decide the league playoff champion and a better seed for the Region 8C tournament. The Lightning then edged the Rebels 6-5 in the second game. Nisswa, 26-3 overall, will play the Pierz Brewers in the eight-team region tournament at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, in Pierz. "We haven't played Pierz this season," said Lightning coach Aaron Jenkins.
Cassie Carey is a perfect fit for her job as coordinator of Crow Wing Energized. First, Carey is back home working in the lakes area where she is familiar as a 1999 Pequot Lakes High School graduate. Second, her role with Crow Wing Energized allows her to promote health and wellness, which is something she has been passionate about as a former Patriot athlete and current Central Lakes College women's basketball coach. "It's fun to come back home and run into a lot of educators and coaches who are still (at Pequot Lakes)," said Carey, who moved away for college and later coached in Alaska.
The Crosslake/Fifty Lakes/Pequot Lakes American Legion baseball team will be heading to the District 6, Division II tournament after rallying past defending subdistrict champion Pierz 11-5 on Thursday, July 16. Austin Mesenbrink was 4-for-4 with 4 RBI in Thursday's subdistict final to help Crosslake/FL/PL advance to the district tournament Thursday through Saturday, July 23-25, in Park Rapids. "This was one of the most exciting games that I've been apart of ...