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Sportsline: New baseball diamond not new

The lengthy discussions with the city's park planning commission which decided to destroy the City Arena baseball field in favor of a fourth softball diamond skateboard park continually promised that the field would be replaced by a "new" diamond, keeping the number of usable fields in the community at six.

The loss of the 25-year-old city diamond, probably as widely used as the BSU field each spring and summer, represents a major blow to the beleaguered baseball program.

During the discussion the location of this "new" field was never brought to light.

It now appears as if this new field is not a new field at all but rather an upgrade of the high school's freshman practice field, a field most people do not even know exists.

It is located 100 yards east of the school softball diamond and inaccessible except by foot.

It is used only for practice by the ninth grade which plays its games at Sagedahl when the arena diamond is in use and at the arena when it is not. It would require a major overhaul to make this field usable for games including building a road and parking lot.

And if completed, it would still leave the program one field short of its present facilities.

The $300,000 being cited as committed to upgrading this diamond might be more wisely spent purchasing the now vacant first class Bardwell Park softball fields and leaving the Arena diamond in place.

88 skate to NHL

This week's boys state hockey tournament may just be a stepping stone for players on their way to the professional ranks.

According to the March 11 edition of Let's Play Hockey magazine, 88 players who appeared in the state tournament also made it to the NHL as a player or coach.

The list reads like a who's who of Minnesota hockey. Of the 88, five won a Hobey Baker Award in college including Neal Broten of Roseau and Chris Marinucci of Grand Rapids.

Six won an Olympic Gold Medal., seven won a Stanley Cup and eight have been inducted into the U.,S. Hockey Hall of Fame including Henry Boucha of Warroad and brothers Aaron and Neal Broten.

Three more joined the NHL this year.

There are currently 25 players active in professional hockey who also played in the state meet.

Grand Rapids and Roseau top the list with seven. Moorhead and Warroad have produced three and Hibbing two with one each from Coleraine, Cloquet, Virginia, Denfeld and Bemidji (Gary Sargent).

Johnson all-star

Bemidji's Alyssa Johnson played last weekend in the Senior Classic hockey tourney at the Schwan's Hockey Center in Blaine.

She was a member of the 8A-AA team that took fourth place in the eight-team field.

The Section 8 team ended 2-2 with Johnson getting the game winning goal in the second game and assisting the game winner in the third. She ended with three goals and two assists in the meet.

She is currently being recruited by Gustavus-Adolphus Bethel and St. Benedict's for hockey and North Dakota for tennis.

Her older sister Amanda is currently on the Gustavus golf team, one of the top Division III women's teams in the nation as is its women's hockey team.

Parent meetings

Two parent-athlete meetings have been set this week for spring sports teams.

The softball team will hold its meeting Monday at 5:45 in the second floor classroom at the Fieldhouse next to the weight room.

The tennis team will stage its meeting Wednesday at 5 in the Commons.

At the sessions, plans for the coming season will be discussed and team rules handed out.

The softball booster group will meet following the their meeting to begin planning for its spring season.

All; players and parents must attend the sessions.

Baseball starts

The sixth Bemidji High spring sport to begin drills, the baseball team, will hold its first practice tomorrow.

Mike Fogelson starts his fifth season at the helm.

He will again be assisted by Brad Johnson as varsity assistant and ,Steve Thompson as B Team coach with Zach McDermott replacing Carl Jacobs with the freshmen.

Jacobs, who teaches at Cass Lake, will aid the Panthers program this spring.

Pancake feed

The Nei Bottling Bantam A hockey team will stage a pancake feed today from 9-1 at the Bemidji Community Area.

There will be a free will donation to support Bemidji Youth Hockey and aid the Bantams in meeting expenses for their appearances in both the MAHA and VFW state tournaments the next two weekends..

The MAHA tourney is at Thief River Falls March 19-22 and the VFW meet at Eveleth March 26-29.

NSIC champions

St. Cloud swept both basketball titles in the NSIC playoffs this winter.

The men topped Mankato 91-86 in the title round after earlier victories over Moorhead and Winona.

Mankato eliminated Duluth and Northern State.

The Huskies women stopped CSP in the title game 53-41 after earlier victories over Moorhead and Winona,

Concordia eliminated Mankato and Augustana in its first two games.

Gunderson signs

The newly formed Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers of the Northwoods Collegiate Baseball League have signed BSU assistant coach Shane Gunderson as an assistant coach this summer.

Now in his second season at BSU, Gunderson will bring a wealth of experience to the Lunkers.

He was a three year regular at Minnesota from 1993-95 playing first base and catching. He was a second team All Big Ten selection his junior year and a first team pick as a senior while being named Player of the Year.

He played six seasons in the Minnesota Twins farm system before retiring.

Ryan Levenski will be the Lunkers head coach.

New owner-general manager Joel Sutherland said the pair complements each other.

The Lunkers open their new season May 29 hosting the St. Cloud River Bats at Mills Park in a night game.

Sutherland, who also owned the Alexandria team in the circuit, hopes to revive interest in Brainerd where three previous teams have failed.

1,000 Point Club

The latest member of the 1,000 point club is Brainerd's Kyle Crocker who topped that mark in his final regular season game, scoring 15 points in the Warriors 77-52 loss to St. Cloud Tech.

Senior forward Kayla Pelletier of RLCC joined Crocker in the club, topping that figure with a 23 point night as RLCC ousted Clearbrook-Gonvick 68-35 in 8-A East play.

She joined teammate Faith Kruchowski who topped the 1,000 point mark earlier this year.

Hanowski hits 400

Little Falls scoring phenom Ben Hanowski went over the 400 point mark for his career with five goals in the Flyers 6-2 opening round win over Virginia.

It gave him 71 goals and 60 assists in a whirlwind senior year. But the Flyers hopes for a state title ended Friday with a 6-1 loss to Breck in the semifinals.

Ironically the explosion against Virginia came against the only team to hold him scoreless all season.

He was limited to a single assist in Friday's 6-1 loss to Breck bringing his season mark to 132 points.

Three TRF champs

Less than two decades ago Thief River Falls abandoned its wrestling program.

This year it achieved a remarkable record when three wrestlers captured state titles, Jacoby Bergeron at 103. Kyle Finboh at 145 and Travis Peralta at 171.

Three of the other four Prowlers entered placed second, third and sixth.

They were the first TRF champs since Jeremy Anderson won in 2003. He went on to star at Augsburg College.