Will Zimmerman was on Park River teams that played in the last two North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball tournaments. He was a senior on the Park River/Fordville-Lankin team that played in the 2016 Class B state high school baseball tournament. All three of those teams made the final four in their respective tournaments, finishing as high as second. First place came this spring—with Zimmerman in the stands, fresh off his freshman year in college and watching Park River/Fordville-Lankin win the Class B state tournament.
WARROAD, Minn.—The hockey season came to a disappointing end for Warroad this winter, when the Warriors lost 5-1 to East Grand Forks Senior High in the Section 8A tournament championship game. That wasn't the end of state tournament opportunities for many of the Warriors players. "We're multi-sport athletes,'' Warroad senior Beau Wilmer said. "We like hockey a lot because of all the support we get. But we love the sport we're playing whatever the season, whether it's hockey, football, baseball, basketball or whatever.''
FOSSTON, Minn.—The first—and only—time Fosston played in a Minnesota high school baseball tournament, it had a roster that totaled 18 home runs. Cooper Wilson and Gavin Ross alone accounted for seven and five homers, respectively, on that 2010 team. By contrast, this season's Fosston starting lineup has totaled just three home runs. Despite the power shortage, Fosston is 22-2 and making its second trip to the Minnesota Class A state tournament, which opens Thursday in Jordan.
Nate Deziel feels he has something to prove. The East Grand Forks Senior High golfer has qualified for the Minnesota Class AA boys state tournament for the third consecutive season. As a freshman, Deziel tied for 11th at state. Last season, he dropped into a tie for 55th. "I didn't play very well,'' the junior said. "I want to prove down there that I do know how to shoot well.''
Playing for a 4-12 Sacred Heart High School baseball team that lost eight games by a margin of three or more runs, Brenden Bethke didn't get too many opportunities to bat in clutch situations this spring. On Monday, he came through in the clutch for the Grand Forks Royals. Bethke lined a bases-loaded, two-out single into left field in the bottom of the ninth inning, driving in the tie-breaking run as the Royals claimed a 9-8 American Legion baseball win at Kraft Field against East Grand Forks.
FARGO—After five seasons as a middle hitter, Madi Hart has two matches left at the net. Meanwhile, her Langdon-Edmore-Munich high school teammate, Sydney Ellingson, is returning to the back row after six matches as a hitter. The two are teammates for the last time at the annual North Dakota Optimists all-star volleyball series. Matches will be held at 7 p.m. today at Fargo Shanley and Tuesday in Bismarck, with outstanding seniors in the 2016 high school season from eastern North Dakota going against their western counterparts.
Warroad was a perfect 11-0 this spring when the fastpitch softball team reached double figures in runs. There was a time when that situation wasn't a guaranteed win. Twenty-five years ago, when fastpitch was in its infancy with most high schools in northwest Minnesota, Warroad lost three of the 10 games in which it scored 10 or more runs. "In games back then, it was typical for teams to have five to seven errors in a game and 8-10 walks allowed,'' Warroad coach Terry Sadler said. "Giving up that many baserunners led to a lot of runs in games.''
PLUMMER, Minn.—Windy days can be hard on the track for Zoe Russillo. It's not running into the breeze that hinders the Red Lake County sprinter. The problem can be hearing starter commands. Russillo is hearing impaired. She can hear only with the use of a hearing aid in each ear. "Sometimes, when it's really windy, I have a hard time hearing the starter say ready and set,'' the sophomore said. "I have to look at the runners next to me. If their butts are up in the air, I'll get in the set position, too. "The starter's gun is loud and clear.''
THIEF RIVER FALLS—Jesse Sather took three innings to shake off the nerves. Then he was almost unhittable in pitching Fosston into the Minnesota Class A state high school baseball tournament. Sather went the distance on the mound, allowing six hits, as the Greyhounds beat Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 6-3 in the championship game of the Section 8A tournament Thursday. The Fosston righthander gave up three runs and five hits in the first three innings. The Gators managed no runs and just one hit over the final four innings.
State champion Park River/Fordville-Lankin landed two players on the North Dakota Class B all-state high school baseball team. Aggies outfielder Jackson Hankey is a repeat first-team selection on the all-state squad, as selected by the state's coaches. Catcher Adam Zavalney is a second-team selection. Here's a look at all of the area all-state picks.