Athletes move from spring into summer
Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:39 AM
Spring sports have concluded for most Spring Grove and Caledonia athletes while summer league action has begun.
The baseball approaches the glove of Tanner Langen ahead of the La Crescent base runner. Caledonia and La Crescent split the American Legion season-opening double header. JOHN SPELTZ/SPRING GROVE HERALD
SG/C B-TEAM SOFTBALL
The SG/C softball B-team (14-0) concluded another campaign with extraordinary undefeated success.
"Obviously, when a team finishes undefeated for a second consecutive season, there is much to be said in reflection," said coach Tory-Kale Schulz. "But more important than just the successful record, the outstanding girls who played on the Spring Grove/Caledonia B-squad have a winning, team-first attitude and are learning the finer skills and in-depth fundamentals that will make then successful at the next level.
The scores of our games this year suggest that we did all aspects of the game of softball correctly and with a high degree of excellence. I am very proud of my girls.
"We finished the year 14-0, and for the outgoing 10th graders who have played with me the last two seasons, we have won 27 consecutive games."
There were only three of the 14 games that could be termed competitive. The other 11 games were decided by double digit margins. The girls averaged 14.1 runs per game while giving up only 2.5.
SG/C won the Dover-Eyota Tournament with 17-1 and 14-0 run-rule-shortened five-inning routs. Vanquished opponents included Chatfield (16-0 and 18-5), Fillmore Central/Lanesboro (10-0 and 13-3), GMLOK (15-0 and 19-5), Houston (14-4), Southland (21-3, 8-4 and 17-1), P-E-M (20-1), Dover-Eyota (14-0), La Crescent (8-7) and St. Charles (4-2).
The limited roster included five sophomores and six freshmen.
C/SG B-TEAM BASEBALL
The C/SG junior varsity boys had challenging numbers with only one sophomore and seven freshmen. Already a young squad, they needed a three-player rotation of eighth graders to play B-team games.
C/SG closed with a 2-7 record after dropping the first five games. The Warriors won two of their final four outscoring Fillmore Central/Lanesboro 12-10 and blanking Wabasha-Kellogg 5-0.
Describing that final shutout, coach Tom Schulz said, "easily our best total game of the season." He noted Austin Werner tossing a 2-hitter and Mason Ashbacher contributing a 2-run double.
C/SG EIGHTH GRADE BASEBALL
These C/SG junior high guys had a winning 7-4-1 record. Nine of the 12 games were close - decided by margins of three or fewer runs.
Wins came against St. Charles (5-4 and 10-2), P-E-M (8-0), Rushford-Peterson (5-2), Fillmore Central/Lanesboro (8-7) and La Crescent (6-3 along with a 5-5 tie).
The boys split with G-E-T (3-0 and 3-5). Other losses came against Chatfield (0-6), GMLOK (7-8) and Houston (5-6).
C/SG SEVENTH GRADE BASEBALL
These youngest junior high boys forged a 9-3 record. C/SG defeated Chatfield (8-3 and 4-3), St. Charles (11-1), Fillmore Central/Lanesboro (6-2), Houston (9-1), Rushford-Peterson (7-2) and P-E-M (3-1).
The Warriors split with G-E-T (5-2 and 4-6) and La Crescent. They were edged out by GMLOK (11-12).
VARSITY BOYS BASKETBALL
The Lion boys opened the summer season last Saturday with an impressive three-game sweep and eight-team tournament championship hosted by Cotter.
It was impressive being accomplished with an injury-depleted lineup. Point guard Chase Grinde was not in uniform with a previous injury. Another starter, forward Brady Schuttemeier, was injured in the first game and did not play in the last two.
SG stayed a step ahead all game finally holding off the WINONA BLAZERS 46-43. Overall free throw shooting was weak (5 for 16), but Schuttemeier hit a crucial pair to put SG ahead by 3 points with 3 seconds to play.
In the semi-finals, SG limited WAUKON to 5 first-half points (23-5) and coasted to a 43-29 win.
The Lions never trailed all evening, but the score was tied a few times in the championship game 43-34 victory over HAMPTON-DUMONT, a Class AA Iowa program. The Lions broke away from a 27-all second-half tie with a game-deciding 12-2 run.
In addition to Schuttemeier, strong performances came from point guard Dustin Vickerman, Alex Engelhardt, Elliott Cross, Dylan Kampschroer, Tanner Sanness and Gabe Solum. Providing bench support for the varsity, three players stayed after playing three B-team games - Brock Schuttemeier, Jordan Jaster and Devon Nerstad.
B-TEAM BOYS BASKETBALL
Like their varsity counterparts, the B-boys never trailed all day; SG swept all three games by double-digit margins.
The Lions whipped the WAUKON freshmen 58-36, overwhelmed the WINONA BLAZERS 33-19 and dispensed with TOMAH 55-39.
Joining aforementioned Nerstad, Brock Schuttemeier and Jaster were Noah Myrah and eighth grade point guard Alex Folz along with Adin Solum, Zach Rains, Cullen Patterson, and eighth grader Kai Bjerke.
AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
By Joel Lidstrom
La Crescent 2, Caledonia 0
Caledonia 3, La Crescent 1
On the mound in the first game for Caledonia was southpaw Drew Elvik. Elvik had pitched in a limited role for the Caledonia varsity team this spring and was tapped by coach Brian Langen with the expectation that he could help fill the shoes of pitchers lost to summer basketball.
Despite lively La Crescent bats throughout the game, Elvik kept the game close by staying in the strike zone and relying on his defense. He allowed a run in each of the first two innings, but got timely strikeouts and pop-ups to minimize damage.
In the final two innings platooning catcher/first-baseman Harrison Speltz, who had not pitched in several years, came on to relieve Elvik. His fastball was dominant as La Crescent batters went hitless the remainder of the game.
Unfortunately while Elvik and Speltz kept the game close, La Crescent's pitcher kept the Caledonia bats silent. Caledonia managed only four hits including a double and single by Speltz who continues his hot hitting from spring ball. Despite a late rally, Caledonia could not push a run across.
Coach Langen had entered this match-up intending it as a get-your-feet-wet game for his players and to discover how he might best integrate his new, young players into the lineup. But losing the first game got his competitive juices going, and he called on veteran Kai Lidstrom to start the second game.
Lidstrom was in good form, giving up only one run in a rocky second inning, after which he cruised with successive one-two-three innings. But it was not Kai's arm that had the Caledonia players and fans exchanging high-fives; it was Joe Pettit's, who robbed La Crescent of critical rallying opportunities.
Already we had seen Pettit in the first game make a diving catch of a squibbed pop-up down the first base line, then throwing a strike to double up a La Crescent base runner.
In the second game, Pettit erased two threats. He gunned down La Crescent leadoff batter after he was safely aboard after Lidstrom mishandled a "swinging bunt." And in the third inning after a leadoff walk, Pettit bolted down the first base line to back up an errant throw and threw the base runner out as he tried to return to first.
Highlighting the Caledonia offense was the aggressive base running of T. J. Schultz. After leading-off the third inning with a single, he stole second and third before loping home on a single by Pettit securing a well-deserved 3-1 victory.