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Sportsline: North Dakota coaches hope to keep wooden bats

Baseball coaches in North Dakota are generally in favor of retaining wooden bats for their sport in years to come.

The three-year experiment of switching from metal to wood ended this spring, the only state to exclusively use wooden bats in the country.

The cost factor, which was once the main reason for the switch, is now reversed to the point where metal bats are four times more expensive than wooden models.

Coaches interviewed stated that while the metal bats provided far more scoring, the switch to wood restored good pitching.

Red River's Mark Varriano, a Bemidji native, said the use of wooden bats makes kids become better hitters although the lower scoring games will cost times at bat.

And while the strikeout ratio remained unchanged, hurlers were throwing far less pitches, saving arms in the process.

Proponents of wood say it also gives college recruiters a better opportunity to see high school players real batting abilities than do the metal bats.

Summer wrestling

A summer wrestling program for matmen in Grades-K-12 will be conducted each Monday from 6-7 p.m. in the high school wrestling room. No wrestling will be held July 6.

Heading the staff will be Itasca Community College mat coach Shane Holm with Minnesota Gophers Kaleb Young and Dustin Schlatter. Young is a former Bemidji High mat star.

On June 22-23 a Champ Camp will be held at the mat room open to wrestlers in Grades K-7.

Grades K-3 will wrestle each day from 1-3 p.m. with those in Grades 4-7 going between 8-11 a.m.

Cost of the camp is $30 for Grades K-3 and $40 for Grades 4-7.

The fees include a Camp T-Shirt.

Wrestlers should register by June 1 by calling Rance Bahr at 444-9218.

Bahr, Rob Strand and Charlie Osborn will be the camp supervisors.

The coaching staff will be ex-Lumberjacks Brandon Bahr (Augsburg), Steve Masterson (Concordia) and Joe Andersen (St. Cloud), all currently wrestling at the college level.

Tommies champs

St. Thomas turned back Wooster, Ohio twice on the final day to take the NCAA-II national baseball title.

St Thomas won 9-1 over Chapman and 16-5 over Shenandoah before falling 3-0 to Wooster in the winners bracket final.

The Tommies fought back to beat Carthage 3-1 to reach the title round where they stopped Wooster 6-4 and 3-2 in 12 innings to take the crown.

Summer soccer

Registration for the Summer Youth Soccer program is still open.

The program is for players 4-8 and runs Tuesday and Thursday from 5-6 p.m. at the Middle School soccer complex south of the BYL baseball fields.

The program will run from June 9 to July 16.

To register call director Rick Toward at 444-8413 or online at

Seniors honored

Park Rapids named Kevin Vaadeland and Mindy Lawrence as male and female Athletes of the Year .and Dylan Walsh and Megan Lawrence as its as the student male and female Athletes of the Year.

In addition, Dick Carpenter and Gene Nei became the third class of inductees into the Panthers Athletic Hall of Fame.

Vaadeland, a four year letter winner in baseball and three years in basketball and football, is headed to NDSU for football next fall.

Mindy Lawrence is a four year letter winners in golf and three years in tennis and basketball.

Megan Lawrence lettered four years in gymnastics and golf and three in tennis.

Walsh lettered three times in football and baseball and twice in basketball.

Mat coach ousted

St. Cloud Tech is searching for a new wrestling coach after Dave Schorn resigned after being told his contract would not be renewed.

He led the Tigers mat team since 1995. School officials would not comment on the move calling it a private personnel matter.

Schorn's team won four CLC titles and went 5-4 this year in the conference. He had a 180-132-2 record entering this season.

Award Nights

The first two spring Award Nights have been set.

The girls track night will be held Tuesday night at 6 at the BHS Commons with the boys baseball picnic at Diamond Point Park Thursday at 5:30.

Yet to be set are the boys track, softball and tennis fetes.

Sponsors are asked to check dates through the activities office to prevent any two from being held on the same night.

Softball tourney

Spots are filling fast for the annual Summerfest Tournament at Clearbrook June 27-28.

The men's slow pitch tourney is a bracket by record with teams guaranteed four games. The entry is $200.

The women's slow pitch meet is also a bracket by record format with three games guaranteed. That fee is $175. Trophies and travel allowances will be awarded.

The first 32 men's and 12 women's teams are guaranteed spots in the meet.

Contact Mike Gibeau at 218-776-3805 (home) or 3812 (work).

Entries should be mailed to Sports Boosters, Box 46, Clearbrook 56634. The deadline is June 17.

Northwoods opens

The Northwoods Collegiate League opened play this week with the newly formed Brainerd Lunkers, the fifth summer team to play at Brainerd, fell to the St. Cloud River Bats 10-6.

Harmon Killebrew threw out the first pitch at the game which drew 1,429 fans to Mills Park.

Poor attendance through the years wrote an end to Brainerd's first four teams.

The Duluth Huskies shaded Battle Creek, Mich. 1-0 on a bases loaded hit batter on the losers field in another league opener. That contest attracted 1,008 fans.

In Arrowhead League play, the Nashwauk Colts spoiled the season opener for Grand Rapids, handing the Indians a 5-1 setback at Legion Field.