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Sportsline: Bemidji VFW state champion baseball team honored

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Bemidji's state champion VFW baseball team was honored this week at its Awards Night at the Legion Club.

The Vets went 30-5 this summer, going unbeaten (20-0) in District 9 conference play and winning all four starts at the state. Two were over perennial state power RanView including the winners' bracket final and the title game.

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VFW Commander Bruce Malterud praised the accomplishments of the team and praised its coaches Brad Johnson and Ryan Sullivan for their work in guiding the unit,

Bemidji will host next summer's state tournament for the first time.

Johnson praised his team for its chemistry, "one that worked hard and had fun doing it."

Factors in its success included a .354 team batting average and 4.10 ERA, limiting opponents to a .235 batting average and fanning 172 in 177 innings.

It marked the second state title for Bemidji, the first since 1985 under Frank Pelawa.

In contrast to that team, Bemidji stands a good chance of repeating in 2011.

The former champs were almost all 16 and went on to form a Legion B Team the following summer when a limited number of 15-16 players prevented Bemidji from fielding a VFW team for the only time in history.

Nine of this year's team were 15 or younger and should be back for next summer. Among the group is 14 year old Ryan Hirt.

Johnson will return for his sixth year next summer.

All Conference

Northland Conference champion Cass Lake-Bena gained five berths on the All Conference team this spring.

They include Mike Hanson, Tyler Trosen, Nolan Goss, Mike Masten and Chad Wittner.

Second place Pine River had Jordan Acker, Andy Davidson, Ryan Wynn and Darien Rub er.

Others were Clinton Walters of WHA, Chase Reimer of Laporte, Anthony Becker, Nick Halfmann and Dylan Stenberg of Nevis, Mike Dexter and Cody Bergquist of Blackduck, Tal Iverson and Cole Young of Bagley, Evan Nelson and Alex Poxleitner of Kelliher Northome and Dave Donnell of Red Lake.

Hanson, Trosen and Acker shared MVP honors with Ken Wittner of CLB again named Coach of the Year.

CLB finished 16-0 in league play to 12-3 for Pine River.

CLB bowed to Fosston 4-2 in the Section 8A title game, its only loss of the year.

New league coming

A new Central Minnesota Conference is in the making for the 2011-2012 season.

It will include Little Falls and St. Cloud Cathedral with Becker, Foley, Milaca, Princeton, Mora and Zimmerman.

A charter member of the Central Lakes Conference, Little Falls will end a 34-year affiliation with that circuit,

Cathedral will drop out of the West Central Conference.

The new league will include four teams from the 18-team West Central and three from the Mississippi 8.

Little Falls' departure would drop the Central Lakes to nine.

That would leave a hole for the addition of Bemidji, long overdue, but never likely to take place with the league's present alignment.

Bemidji is presently adjoined to that league by the MSHSL for scheduling.

The new league would have enthrallments between 500-800, a figure Little Falls has been seeking for a number of years.

It would also cut down drastically on travel, especially for Mora, Milaca and Foley who were adjoined to the far distant West Central when the Rum River Conference folded.

Elk River hazing

Elk River High has thrown four players off this year's team and suspended several others after a hazing incident.

Four players will sit out four games and two others will miss the opener.

The school board suspended practice last week after a parent reported the hazing.

A police investigation reported that a number of players were struck with a broom handle across their backsides by older members of the squad between the morning and afternoon practices.

All 50 players on the team were suspended and will have to undergo sensitivity training sessions.

No criminal charges were filed.

The Elks are listed to open play Thursday with Becker.

Rothsay returns

Rothsay High school will resume football this fall, the first time in 19 years it has fielded its own team.

The team played JV ball last year.

It has been in a co-op with Barnesville the past 19 years Rothsay had only nine players on that team in 2008l, its last year of the co-op.

The small farm community is located on Highway 94 mid way between Barnesville and Fergus Falls.

Soccer poll

As usual, northern teams fared poorly in the initial state soccer poll.

Apple Valley and Mahtomedi are the top teams in the boys' Class AA and A polls with Hermantown ranked third in Class A.

Wayzata and Orono top the girls AA and A polls with East Grand Forks eighth and Cloquet tenth in Class A.

Fall baseball

Both BYL and BSU fall ball programs take today off due to the holiday weekend but return next week.

The second introductory session for 12-13 year olds will be held next Sunday from 3-5 at the North Diamond to acquaint the 12's with the longer distances they will move to next year and give the 13's additional experience on the big fields.

The BSU Metal Bat League returns to the diamond Sunday at 2.

The Wood Bat League will play its usual schedule Tuesday and Thursday night at 6:30.

Canoe races

The Minnesota Canoe Championships will be held Saturday at the Mississippi Landing Marina on South Lake Irving.

Race times will be 10:30 for the citizens' races and 10:35 for the pro events.

There will be pro, stock and recreation divisions with an awards ceremony at 2.

Waite Park falls

The Waite Park 15-year-old team bowed out at the Babe Ruth national meet at Monticello, Ark. losing in eight innings to Greenville, N.C. 3-2.

The St. Cloud nine ended 2-3 at the nationals.

The Waite Park 14's reached the final four of their World Series at Leesburg, Va. bowing to Tri Valley, Cal. 12-7.

Waite Park, which ended its year 39-4, finished third at the meet.

Roller Derby

The Bemidji Babe City Rollers will make their season debut Sept 18 at the John Glas Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.

Admission will be $8 with students admitted free.

The Rollers will face Paul in their debut in women's flat track roller derby competition.

Cass Lake events

The fall basketball league will open Sept. 13 with teams facing an eight game season plus playoffs. The entry will be $70.

Call Don Bellanger at 368-6528 or Henry Harper at 308-0865 for further information.

The 13th annual Leech Lake Tribal College's bike-walk-run is set for Sept. 11 from 9-11 a.m. starting at Cass Lake High. The first 200 entrants will receive a free T-shirt.

Call 335-4200 for further information.

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